Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Stopover in Seoul, Korea then off for home!

Saturday, November 15, 2015
Arrived in Incheon Airport near Seoul, Korea this am.  We have an 11 hour layover, so a hotel room and lunch were included with our ticket!  We were able to take a much appreciated shower, take a nice long nap, have a nice lunch and walk around the hotel neighborhood.  It is Sunday, so most businesses are closed.
Sandy, Stacy and Michelle in front of a Korean business.  Don't know what the signs say, but it is in Korean!
 Just to prove we were there!

Went back to the room.  The internet is sooooooo FAST that I have been able to finish the blogs!!  WooHoo!
We will be back home soon!
Another fantastic World Vets trip completed!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Last minute fun and...

Saturday, November 14, 2015
After breakfast Mr Thoeun met us at the hotel for some last minute fun!
We got some cast at an ATM.  US dollars are accepted everywhere here.  And they give you change in USD!  We have been to some countries that will accept USD, but give change in local currency.

Our hotel.  Mop is the old doggy out front.  He feels so much better since Zack applied flea medicine!

Joe and Sandy having early morning coffee.

The pool where we cooled off most evenings.

Mom and kid on motor bike.  I wish I had photos of the entire families on the motorbikes... there would be two adults and three little kids on some bikes!

Commuter lot.

Power lines!

We found a local silk shop to find a dress for me.  Ended up with beautiful tunic, pants and a scarf.

Then off to a silk farm to see how the silk is made.  Oh my goodness!  With all the work that goes into making silk thread and the weaving... I am surprised a scarf does not cost $1000!!!  

The silk worms eats mulberry leaves.

Cocoons are placed in these racks...

...used to be done on branches.

Look carefully to see the threads the worm is forming with its mouth.

The cocoons are boiled to get the threads to release.

Raw silk which is from the outer part of the cocoon.

Fine silk is from the inner part of the cocoon.

Plastic strings from rice bags are tied on the fiber to block the dying process and makes the patterns in the scarf.

Making the tassels on the ends of the scarves.

She dampens the strands and rolls them on her leg then ties a knot in the end.

All kinds of different levels of weaving.

Costumes for royalty.

Now this is something for Wearable Art!!!
Those are silk cocoons on her skirt!

  While we were touring the silk farm, I started feeling bad… really bad… like super bad.  So Mr Thoeun took me back to the hotel and I was able to rent a room for the rest of the day.  I spent the next many hours being very ill (think Parvo virus… yuck) and finally worked through it in time to go to the airport.  Thank goodness!  I was wondering what I was going to do if I could not make it to the airport.  There is no good medical care here in Cambodia, medical cases are seen in Thailand.  But, work through it and was able to go to the airport with the rest of the team!
Probably was a good thing… saved me from more shopping!!
Michelle and Sandy did go out and shop and say I owe them a ton of money because they spent so much!!  LOL!!  They also got an awesome foot massage… sorry I missed that…
Anyway, off to the airport for an overnight flight to Seoul, Korea. 
So long, Cambodia!  Hope to see you again soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Elephant Foundation Cambodia

Friday, November 13, 2015
Oh my goodness!!  What a day!!
We all met downstairs at 8:30… well, most of us!  Turns out a few of our group stayed out until about 4:30am!!!!  Two of the four could not get out of bed.  The other two joined us… Zack was very chipper, Sara faded quickly.  Anyway, amid the pouring rain, we loaded up and headed off for the long drive up to see the elephant sanctuary!!

Looking out into our courtyard in the pouring rain.

We are dry in the van:  Joe, Shelley, Zack, Sara, Michelle and Sandy

Water was very deep in areas.  

The little kid is under the rain poncho on the back of the bike.

Two monks under an umbrella on the back of a motorbike.

 Normally the sanctuary is only open to the volunteers that are there for a week or two, but they made a special exception for our group.  Thank you!!  Shelley has some friends that happened to be there, Pat and Henry, at the same time we were in Siem Reap.  So we got to meet them and visit as well!
The facility and program is wonderful.

Heading off on a tour of the elephant sanctuary.

Website address:  There is an excellent video on the page that gives a great overview of what is happening in Cambodia and the plight of the elephant.
This park is a part of the larger organization: The Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand

There are many volunteer opportunities offered there.  (I will be working at the dog facility for a month next year!)
We met our guide and the current group of volunteers, toured the facility and saw a few videos about the elephant’s plight and situations in Thailand and Cambodia.  Eye opening.

There is solar power in use.  The power is only turned on from 6-9pm.

A water purification system that is used by the entire village.

A local dog, with a ridge.  She is not nice.  Acts nice then tries to bite.  There were three of these dogs at the facility, none of them were nice.

We got to join everybody for a fantastic vegan buffet!  Don’t know what we ate, but it sure was good!  I have been wanting to take a cooking class in Siem Reap, but now I want to take a cooking class here at the sanctuary!  Wow, the food was fantastic!

A long tailed Macaque.  These primates are taken from private homes, rehabilitated and turned out back into the wild.

One of the huts where volunteers stay.

We watched some very informative videos.

This little girl was visiting with her mom and sister from Australia.  She was a hard worker.  

After lunch we helped fill little bags of dirt and plant seeds.  These will be added to the already planted hundreds of thousands of trees trying to reforest the countryside.  It was hot and dirty work, but fun to share in the task with the other volunteers.  

Michelle filling plastic bags with dirt for seeds.

Zack digging in the dirt.

Joe planting seeds.

Some of the seeds just starting to sprout.

Sandy wheeling the bags of dirt to their special spot.

After a short rest, we chopped and prepped food for the elephants.  They enjoy sugar cane (we enjoyed a bit as well!).  The two elephants that live at this park are very old… in their 60’s and 70’s I think… so the sugar cane is chopped into foot long pieces and much of the tough outer fiber is cut off.  The elephants also enjoy banana tree “branches” (don’t know what you call the parts of the plant…) and little watermelons!  They get fresh produce of whatever is in season.

Shelley explaining some of the donations.

The proper way to chop sugar cane:  Hi Yah!

Sandy removing the tough outer fiber on the sugar cane.

Wild Zack chopping some of the banana plant.

We got to go out into the field and feed the treat to the two elephants.  That was an incredible experience!

Sara's tatoo!  From a book her dad used to read her as a child.

Heading off to bed.

Pat and Henry.

A praying mantis.

Flocks of school kids heading home after school.

It was finally time to say good bye to our new friends and head back to Siem Reap.  After cleaning up we all met for a drink and dinner at Charlies.  Most of us were ready for an early evening and bed.  Tomorrow is our last day… we fly out late at night…
Until later!
More info about the Save Elephant Foundation

Save Elephant Foundation is a Thai non–profit organization dedicated to providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population through a multifaceted approach involving local community outreach, rescue and rehabilitation programs, and educational ecotourism operations. Each of our flagship projects is aimed at accomplishing that mission, as well as working towards these goals:

to expand self-sustaining eco-tourism operations that benefit local communities and ecosystems
to better incorporate our efforts into local communities and to ensure their benefit through our continuing operation
to become a leader in the field of Asian elephant research through academic outreach and education programs
to create practical, positive reinforcement based elephant training and rehabilitation programs
to establish an international volunteer community that raises awareness to issues facing the Asian elephant
to more fully integrate with the global conservation community to facilitate dynamic cross-cultural networking  

The Save Elephant Foundation is working within the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary to protect and conserve 1 million acres of jungle habitat, approximately one hour north of Angkor Wat. The project spans 25,000 acres and aims to protect the land and all of the native species, flora and fauna, that call it home, including tigers, monkeys, buffalos, and of course, the Asian elephant.

Initially, this project will focus on tree planting and restoring the region’s forest and combatting the illegal logging that has taken place. Other goals for the Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia are plant and wildlife identification, seed collecting, trail-making and educational outreach. Be a part of this project from its grass-roots!

Meet the herd at Cambodia 
Sponsorships are a great way to show your love, compassion and support for the elephants at Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia. The money helps to provide the best food, medical care and shelter. In return, you’ll receive a PDF certificate and periodic updates on what your sponsored elephant has been up to.

Sponsor an Elephant from Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia!

 Arun Rai (bd ~ 1975), which means “Morning Sun”, was rescued from a logging camp in eastern Cambodia in January 2013.  She and fellow rescue, Kham Lin, were the first to call the Elephant Sanctuary Cambodia home.  Arun Rai is now enjoying her new found freedom by roaming the jungle with long walks.
Kham Lin (bd ~ 1970)  Kham Lin was rescued from a logging camp in eastern Cambodia at the same time as Arun Rai.  Although the two elephants are friendly to each other, they often spend their days apart.


Although dogs and elephants may not find themselves sharing the same space in the wild, the Save Elephant Foundation provides a loving home for both species at Elephant Nature Park.

ENP Dogs began as a result of catastrophic floods in Bangkok towards the end of 2011. In rented boats navigating the river of streets, ENP volunteers rescued dogs trapped on rooftops and desperate for help. Many dogs were too afraid to board our boats and were given fresh water, food and medical treatment to survive on their own.

Of the 2,000 dogs pulled to safety, 155 were brought to Elephant Nature Park to begin their second chance at life. Large ‘dog runs’ were built with all kinds of things for the dogs to climb on, swim in, and play amongst. A small animal hospital was constructed and a full time vet and clinic manager have been employed to care for ENP’s new family.
Since the floods, many new dogs have joined the family, several of them puppies or pregnant mothers who’ve come from the surrounding communities and have suffered malnutrition, disease, abuse and neglect. ENP Dogs has also saved many dogs destined for the illegal dog meat trade in Laos or Vietnam.

Currently ENP is home to over 400 dogs! Caring for all these wonderful animals is a full-time job, and we need your help! The project accepts weekly volunteers, so if you love dogs and are hard-working, we’d love to have you!