Monday, May 20, 2024

The PRUFF is in the pudding

We had a wonderful time at Phuket’s incredible one star Michelin restaurant, PRU, although we almost didn’t make it. It required booking in advance with a credit card. For some reason, their firewall prevented my credit card from going through and I tried more than one repeatedly. I corresponded quite a few times with the folks and finally I realized it just wasn't happening. I emailed them that I was sorrowfully releasing my reservation for the chef’s counter, which is where you always want to be. And guess what? They allowed us to come without the security of a credit card. That was pretty big, because there are only 8 (10?) seats at the counter overlooking the chefs, along with just a handful of tables. 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Elephant Etiquette And More


Probably the most thrilling part of our trip was going to the Kanta Elephant Sanctuary an hour outside of Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. Chiang Mai itself is a wonderful place and adding a visit with the elephants was an incredible experience. Elephants used to work in the logging industry in Thailand moving huge logs from place to place. Commercial logging was outlawed in 1989 and the elephant handlers, known as mahouts, were left with these giant animals to care for that no longer contributed to the family income. The burgeoning tourist industry provided some income to the Thai owners, but often elephants were mistreated and the owners lived below subsistence level.   

Sanctuaries were set up to buy the elephants and give them a tranquil life and some financial relief to their owners. Many organizations promote the well-being of the elephants and the proper running of these sanctuaries. Unfortunately, you still see places where elephant rides are promoted or where they’re chained and not given the freedom to roam. Luckily, the Kanta Sanctuary allows none of that and the elephants spend their days peacefully eating and walking, walking and eating in the forest, with daily baths and a monthly visit from a veterinarian.   

The Kanta Sanctuary has 21 acres of forest, grazing land and rivers for 17 lucky elephants. Each has his or her own Thai handler, who cares for the elephants and gets them safely from place to place. 

We arrived at the sanctuary in the morning and were told the program for the day and instructed in what I call elephant etiquette.