The Tiger Temple
Kanchanaburi Travel Blog› entry 38 of 121 › view all entries
How on Earth did I manage to wake at 8am after that night?? I think physical force helped a lot. Well, this was the day most people were heading up to Laos, but as for myself; Colin; JeAr; Lori; Ivan; and Raj, we stayed in Thailand awaiting the visas and football, and used the day instead to head to Kanchanaburi (I think that’s right) and go the rather unethical Tiger Temple.
We got there in just a couple of sleepy hours, but had to wait until 11am for the gates to open. We could see through though and in the grounds there were a few boks and other animals grazing happily away, grazing happily away until two baby tigers were released and started running around! The boks reaction was hilarious. They just stood there staring point back and ready to bolt if needs be. The expression was easily readable as ‘Oh shit!’. They came to no harm though, and soon after the gates were open and the new distraction of hoards of tourists wrecked their peace.
We immediately introduced to a three month old cub who paws his way up everyone’s leg playfully, such a cute little bugger. The big fellows were out as well, just sedately lying alongside the monks and their trainers. They are actually so tame, or sedate, that you can walk up to them slowly, in single file and stroke them.
The audience was then split into four groups and each group strolled down to the main viewing area, alongside one of the bigger tigers, allowing contact again a person at a time. I was a brilliant experience for me and I didn’t really have any issues about the ethics of the place.
One girl got the full force of the big cat’s territorial behaviour and she was now his bitch. If he was here, this would probably have been Bondy stinking seductively of pheromones.
At the main area you queue and wait your turn to be taken around the tigers and have some photos with each. They’re obviously conditioned to be in
a set pose, but they all seem to be loved by the trainers and volunteers who constantly shower them down to keep them cool. They also pat them
affectionately and you can hear the passion in their voices when you ask questions about the mammals.
of an issue with the place. For me, yes they are used as a business, no they are not wild, but they do have a good life and they are healthy-looking,
well fed, and cared for. Is that really such a bad thing considering it allstarted with one orphaned tiger? Too many opinions may come of this, but I
was happy to visit and make the donation. If you believe it’s wrong, I would suggest boycotting it; but then this will probably be the only time in my
life when I get up close and in contact with living tigers. Like I say, I had no issue, but I can accept some people may do.
We stayed a good length of time, but as we were leaving, we saw some more monks with younger tigers and so we went back over. The monks
were very hospitable towards us and let us meet the young tigers as well. It was just a lovely day all round.
Hunger soon became a problem and it was edging closer and closer to kick off for the semi-final and I could feel my nerves starting to build. Everton
haven’t won anything since ‘95’ (well actually ‘96’ if you include the Charity Shield) and I really thought we had chance of winning the cup this year.
We’d already knocked out Aston Villa; Middlesboro; and, most pleasingly, Liverpool on route to the semi. I felt we would do this, especially as
Ferguson was largely tipped to field a hugely under strength side, given their Champions League draws approaching.
We went into Gulliver’s bar back on Khao Sarn Road and I saw a guy I recognised from Chiang Mai. We’d been talking as he was an Everton fan
as well, so he joined our group, almost singling Colin out as the only Utd fan (I’d recruited Jay, Lori and Raz, but Ivan chose to be neutral with little
interest in football). I was bricking it! Another Everton fan was in the bar, so he joined us as well in time for kick-off.
Lori and JeAr got a bit of a lesson in the stressful side of being a football fan off me and Colin, but in truth it was a bit of a dull game ending 0-0 at
the wealth of experienced penalty takers Man Utd had, I thought we were done for. Up stepped our star playing (Tim Cahill) only to blaze his kick
over the bar. Well that’s that for another year I thought, but Timmy Howard saved well from a lame Berbatov chip and Bainesy followed putting us
one up. Howard saved again from Ferdinand and an element of belief crept in! We can actually do this!! Phil Neville scored his, but so did
Anderson. Now I was worried when a young injury-prone James Vaughan put the ball on the Spot, but he expertly tucked his chance away meaning
Scholes had to score. Of he did, but that left Jagielka to blast in the winner and send Everton on to Wembley!!!
COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!
I wasn’t really up for a night out, but how I could I not celebrate at least a little bit? This just doesn’t happen to us Evertonians. We’d put out three of the top five, including our biggest rivals, and the reigning champions! This really could be our season at last. A long wait to find out though (the final is in May).
I had a few more drinks with Everton fans, Lori and Raz went back, but after a few games of pool, myself, Colin (now my friends again), Ivan and Jay all went back to Gazebo. We shared a bottle of whiskey and a shisha and got re-wasted, most notably Jay this time hahahaha.