Yesterday I spent the day at Elephant Nature Haven outside of Kanchanaburi, feeding and bathing the elephants after their romp in a mud pit. We also prepared rice balls for their breakfast, made of rice, tamarind, salt, wheat germ, and banana. I smacked a little as well, and it was very salty. It was a great day, but I'll have to refer you to my Facebook video for more. It's better to see it than to talk about it.
I arrived back in Kanchanaburi at 16:00, still dripping a little from my dip in the river, to rush into the Death Railroad Museum and the Memorial Cemetery before they closed at 17:00. My ride told me casually that he couldn't drop me off in front of the museum because the Thai princess was about to visit. I walked past a bunch of small children with flags to the museum, where I was turned away by smiling Thai police. I shrugged it off and ran to the cemetery, which is never closed, only to be turned laughingly away by more police. Now, as cool as it was to be in the same vicinity as the princess, I was starting to get a bit miffed about losing my only chance to see the Allied WWII history of Kanchanaburi. After all, I might have a relative buried there, I told myself. I might have come to Asia just to see the grave! Burning with this imagined slight, I stood behind a five-foot hedge and read some grave markers until another officer chased me off, smiling again. As I took one last look at the cemetery, I saw a group surrounding a figure in pink that was walking through the cemetery.
Given that I wouldn't expect to see the Lincoln Memorial if President Obama was there, the lack of security around the princess's visit made me feel like it wasn't that big a deal. However, upon reflection and discussion with my teacher in my cooking class today, I feel excitement about adding Princess Sirindhorn to my list of sighted world leaders, which also includes the Swedish king and queen, as well as Laura Bush and George's arm.
Overcoming these trifling setbacks, I managed to get into the museum when it opened this morning before heading off to a Thai cooking class, which may have been the highlight of my entire trip. I can now make four authentic dishes, and I will leave it to you to invite me to your house for a potluck to find out which ones. Let's just say I'm well-fed and on my way back to Bangkok for a week!