Mid-Thailand Elephant Extravaganza

Pachyderm Posse

Prepare for elephant time.

Jan Peng is eighty years old and has a marigold wound through her ear. She is blind in one eye, a wound from an old handler when she reacted to some slight or another. She is enormous and still strong, and grows cautiously used to our presence, mostly because our presence necessarily includes all the watermelon and banana she can eat.

Most of the elephants here have seen hard lives. They’ve been broken and worked from a young age, either used for logging or corralled into the tourism industry. There are broken bones, ruined limbs, blind eyes. They are mighty creatures, but that has not meant safety from cruelty. Still, the park is safe. The mountain is safe. They have this forest, and this river, and this field.

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Bali Photoglut: I Can’t Wait For Egging Season

Rice paddy
Oh, what a deceitful writer I am. You see, while I seemed to be plugging away in the word mines, gaily chipping at verbiage ore to polish and refine and bring to you, my doleful consumers, I was actually not here. I mined all these glorious gems of literary spew weeks ago! Really, I was in Indonesia and Taiwan for the past two weeks while the internet aided me with my gentle ruse. Though you thought me sweating profusely over my keyboard, furiously slamming my worn, calloused digits into the letters, I was actually drunk on a beach somewhere, which is really my natural state. Will you forgive me? I imagine you will when you cast your eyes on this here photographia.

Did you know Bali was mad pretty? Let’s talk about it.

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Ganghwa Photoglut: We Will See Mountain Flowers, And Eat Delicious Food

Valley towns

The title is also the description I was given of our staff club day excursion to nearby Ganghwa island. From this, I did not quite decipher that “see flowers” meant “engage in arduous hike” and thus did not come prepared with adequate footwear or clothing. School let out early, and most of the staff piled onto the bus, and we rushed off to the wilderness across the enormous airport island bridge. The extent of my preparation was carrying my bulky camera and the ziploc full of snackfoods that the staff handed to me upon embarking the bus. I wheedled a Korean teacher into using the English he claimed not to know, and off we went into the wilderness.

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The Art of the Soju Bottle: Nami Island and Misc. Photoglut

Lonely duck

Being on the other side of some 15,000 miles of travel and about two full days inside of airports, I’m a little bagged. I have a lot to say about my sudden and unfortunately occasioned return to my hometown, but I need to rein it in for a few days and allow the words to percolate, to somehow find the sweet-spot between embarrassingly heart-sleeved, too-soon self-analysis, and the slavish self-deprecation humour that I like to think I specialize in. As usual, I stall with photographs. Not long before I went to Toronto, I went to Nami Island, a little romance hotspot for Koreans because of a popular K-drama, and also weird hub of public, green art. And before before that, I did some other things. Bask in the glory of my life, and also a weird Korean chihuahua-squirrel thing.

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Glorious Seoraksan: Traffic, Mountaineering, and a Lack of Naked Sitting

Me and the majesty. Photo courtesy of Angela Castro.

I am not in shape. It’s not something I’m terribly concerned about, but I say it to preface that, for whatever reason, I also have this weird tendency to do exhausting, unseemly hikes. Throughout Europe and on into Korea, I willingly sign up for grueling, multi-hour trudgings through deep, vast bogs, along the sides of slippery, sweltering coastal cliffs, or up the sides of various and sundry mountains. I somehow manage to do them, huffing and sweaty and large pile of goo that I become once I finish. And I am left to wonder, always, how the hell I managed not to die.

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Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Seoraksan Photoglut

It's Korea, I swearWhile I will soon deign to fix upon you with a ballast of my verbiage about how I hiked for two days through Seorak Mountain park, for now, you get a picture post. What with the actual physical exertion and whatnot, I am rendered incapable of waxing on about my experiences, so I’ll let my camera do the talking. Behold: Seoraksan, some nearby waterfalls, some staircases, and one of the few encounters with Korean wildlife.

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