(Pic from the Thai Press, the Chiang Mai wolf….after a month on the run)
Classic story from last week just had to be horrifying news of the Canadian Chiang Mai imported wolf loose on the prowl after legging it from its home – the Night Safari. To the fear of every local chicken, the wolf was left to its own devices to wander the streets of this northern town for an entire month before the Night Safari authorities admitted the blunder to the media. Just last week, to the cries of relief from the complete chicken population of Chiang Mai, the authorities issued an award of 10,000 baht to anyone who could capture the wolf – alive!
Finally, just a couple of days back, our wolf-friend was finally apprehended by some smiling swift-handed happy locals. On being shown off to the press, the poor wolf looked so darned hungry and weary – it must have been glad to be back behind bars. Shivering, shaking and starving the wolf was ordered into quarantine for a Rabies examination after it had been spotted getting up to some hanky-panky with some stray street-mutt!
Continuing with the Chiang Mai theme, a few animals that probably won’t be bothered with any of that ‘escaping lark’ just have to be the city’s Panda Bears ‘Chuang-Chuang and Lin-Hui’. Unlike the lack-lustre attendance of the Night Safari, the Pandas have been one huge success scoring higher attendance rates than even a PM Thaksin political rally! And definitely unlike the wolf, the pandas – basking in their glorious success, have refrained from conducting any extra-curricular duties which animals of the opposite sex ought to perform. Even the help of some imported Chinese Panda Porn movies failed to ignite Chuan-Chuang’s innate instincts – anyway who could blame the fluffy thing, what with hundreds of school kids peeving through the glass 18 hours a day. Can you not blame the pandas for showing a bitta modesty!?
(Enjoying the good life……in Chiang Mai)
The pandas at Chiang Mai really do look like a couple of happy big balls of cotton wool, especially when they are afforded better treatment than most people. While the pandas are given permanent residence visas and all the luxuries under the sun – thousands of Chiang Mai Hill Tribes, though born in the country, are still denied a Thai ID Card thus disallowing them from basic human rights. After visiting the pandas, the foreign tourist can next turn left up to Mae Hong Sorn province to witness for himself another caged-in attraction, though perhaps living in worse conditions than the Chinese pandas – the Village of The Long-necked Karen Hill Tribe.
Once upon a time while living in Nakhorn Rathchasima up there in the country’s north-east, I was lucky enough to secure myself the privilige of teaching at the HQ of The Second Army Area. Now, this camp is home to only one of Thailand’s two official horse racing tracks and gambling is….. legal there. Since all me students were high-ranking Army officers they also made up most of the committee members. Invited along for the first time I was soon sat in the VIP judges’ rooms looking directly over the finishing line. Not a bad perk of the job I thought and was even more delighted to be on the receiving end of an impressively large bottle of complimentary Johnie Walker Black Label. The officers soon explained that due to having extra-knowledge about the in-form horses, I was in for making a sure winner.
Sipping away on me freebie whisky with one hand, and a couple of hundred baht notes in the other, I was soon distraught at the outcome of the first race. There was me darned horse, a fine muscular brute whipping the field at the first three laps, a hundred yards in front – when suddenly for no apparent reason in the final lap, it decides to take it easy and gallop at snail’s pace as if it were out on an afternoon’s stroll. Trailing in almost last, there were cried of ‘Fixed fixed’ from the staff. Undeterred from what looked like an obvious set-up, I continued putting on a few more wagers before returning home broke. Anyway, I really enjoyed my outings to the Horse Racing Tracks and thank me students for the VIP teacher service. So, if you’re ever up there in Nakhorn Ratchasima and fancy a flutter then pop on over for the show. I think the normal attendance fee was like a hundred baht. By the way, none of the horses looked like they had been loaned from China for 10 million baht.
(Where the thing ought to be……..not in the bathroom)
When I first arrived in the Land of Smiles, one of the first animals which caught my attention, just had to be the bathroom-ceiling dwelling Thai gecko. Now, I have never been that disturbed by the sight of the four-legged things but for most of the Thai population they are the ugliest things to walk the earth. The gecko also gets common parts in Thai horror movies with the 6 foot-high screaming ghost gecko sure to scare the living daylights out of the average Thai kid. I just realized a year or so back that geckos are rather subtle animals. Seeing one lying half-dead on me toilet floor, I thought it would be appropriate to chuck the thing outside into the plants. To my horror its leg fell of when I tried to pick it up, then even worse was when I plucked at its tail! The three-legged tailless torso, soon got the end of my broom instead. After that episode, I have certainly distanced myself from aiding a sick gecko again.
I don’t mind geckos, but I do mind cockroaches! Once, while in a Thai friend’s room in an apartment up there in Huay Kwang in Bangkok, I was bewildered to see this big fat cockroach running around the room as if it owned the place. On asking me friend (a ladyboy in fact) to why she didn’t spray the thing, explained “That cockroach is my friend I just let be”. Next, a few days later, on returning to my room I spotted a cockroach dashing back and forth at the sight of the light going on. Remembering what my friend had said, I decided to do the humane thing at just let the thing live at its own free-will. When a Farang friend living upstairs popped up to my room, I proudly pointed out my eight-legged crusty friend and told him that it was my new pet. Thinking I had gone mad at such behavior he scoffed at the idea of not killing the thing.
Anyway, after a couple of days at the beach down in Pattaya or somewhere like that I came back to a whole darned room-full of cockroaches. Opening up the door, I must have spotted about ten of them running for dear life! Displeased at taking advantage of my welcoming courtesy I bought one of those Japanese imported Zuper-Zap Cockroach electronic devices down at Fuji supermarket. Returning an hour after I had turned the thing on, I was flabbergasted to see the remains of 50 cockroaches lying flat on their backs on me carpet. Oops…..