[Thailand] My Friends, The Elephants

elephant jungle sanctuary cristina nogueras beaches & brie thailand

I can’t remember who was the first person to tell me to watch where I was going to see elephants in Thailand, I just remember knowing that I needed to educate myself instead of just showing up somewhere random. I knew I wanted to see these beautiful animals, I just wanted to do it responsibly so that I wasn’t contributing to their pain.

Through research and personal accounts of people living in Thailand, I found The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. The elephants in the sanctuary have been rescued from riding camps or other places where they were treated unfairly and abused. There, they are provided with everything they need within a safe space. Some may argue that they are still not in ideal conditions, but it’s better than what they had before. Also, as one of the volunteers argued, they have been captive for so long, they are not fit to survive in the wild on their own. Elephants are not meant to be ridden, it’s not natural for them.

We arrived to the sanctuary on the back of a mini truck, well aware that we were in for adventure and that we were going to be in the throws with the elephants.

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We started by changing our shirts and wearing the traditional karen clothing so that the elephants would feel more familiar with us. In order to really win their friendship from the start, we fed them lots of bananas. Literally banana after banana, after banana… they can really eat!

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elephant jungle sanctuary cristina nogueras beaches & brie thailand

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We walked around and brought them sugar canes for them to eat. Again, impressive to watch these beautiful beasts eat. This one even tried to eat my GoPro.

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I must admit I was a bit scared. They are beautiful, yet intimidating beasts. They were gentle and friendly and to me, it was scary to think they could be so friendly that they could hurt me without realizing so. For example, being together on the river, a quick playful roll could have basically killed me. Maybe it was just me being cautious, but those thoughts were always in the back of my mind.

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Still, I was able to enjoy and admire them up close and in their natural habitat. We literally got into the mud with them, I went in barefoot to a pile of God knows what. I legit probably stepped on their poop more than once but hey, I did not come all the way to Thailand to stay clean and watch from afar, right?

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The mud made jumping in to the river 10 times more amazing. Sure, the elephants still pooped on the water there, but hey, at least I could clean myself! It was really an experience like no other. The closeness with nature (think walking barefoot through the jungle) and the majesty of these animals (think huge elephant running around like a puppy) was just absolutely incredible.

elephant jungle sanctuary cristina nogueras beaches & brie thailand

elephant jungle sanctuary cristina nogueras beaches & brie thailand

This day really made me want to continue exploring ecotourism. It was interesting, yet not surprising, that the group was composed of people like me from around the world (mid/late twenties all the way to mid/late thirties) hungry for meaningful experiences that do not cause harm and help you learn about the awesome world we live in.

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[Boston] You look good in the summer

Last time I was in Boston, I barely made it out due to the ridiculous amount of snow. I twitch just thinking about it. This time (and by this time I mean almost a month ago, woops), Boston redeemed itself for my return, ha. It was gorgeous. Best part, I got to spend a whole weekend with some of my best girls, no type of weather could have ruined that.

Come, walk with me through the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden.

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

This last shot is not in the gardens, but I like the shot so here it is.

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Wordless Wednesday: Lost Feather

IMG_1136A feather in the ground looks broken, lost and pointless. Showcase it against an amazing background and watch it come to life. How humans can live without nature is beyond me. Concrete jungles are fun and exciting, I get it, but I can’t stay away from these colors for too long. My mind and soul crave green, even if it’s a walk through the park. You know you may have been living in a city for too long when you get excited about a little pretty feather.

Witnessing wonders, in more ways than one | Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

This is the story of how I was a crucial part in the most important moment of the lives of two strangers, in Croatia.

While in Zadar, my boyfriend and I decided to take a tour to visit the Plitvice Lakes. These had been highly recommended and all the pictures we had seen looked amazing. Honestly, I did not believe what I saw on the pictures, I just thought it looked too fake. Boy, was I wrong.

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The Plitvice Lakes, part of a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are truly a place full of wonder. As you will see from my pictures (no edits, no retouches) these waters are clear and intense at the same time. We were actually able to drink from the springs and it tasted even better than the water in our bottles. My fear was to get a stomach bug or something from drinking it… nothing happened.

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Our tour was a one-day excursion and it allowed you to get to know the people in the tour with you. Sitting next to us during the bus ride was this super nice Canadian couple, just around my age. We were talking through the trip and while on the lakes, helped each other out by taking couple pictures of each other, cheesy but believe me, super practical.

By the end of the tour, we reached the waterfall below.

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The view was truly amazing and as it had become the custom, I told the Canadian couple I would take a picture of them there. The guy went to hand me the camera and said, “Actually, take a video, I’m going to go propose”.

Needless to say my reaction was a mixture of “OMG I want to scream right now” and “OMG I forgot how to use all technology”. My boyfriend rapidly jumped away knowing he would mess up the video under pressure, so I was strong and agreed to take on the task. Let me tell you, I have a new found respect for wedding photographers.

As the guy went up the rocks to “take the picture” I felt like I was about to witness something amazing. I also felt like I was creeping on two strangers, but whatever, I had a job in my hands. I was not able to hear what he was saying, but the look in her eyes told me he was promising her the world she always wanted. She started tearing up and nodding profusely. Thank God she said yes, that would have been one awkward ride back to Zadar.

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In case you were wondering, I was able to tape it all! I didn’t get the couple’s information or anything, I don’t remember their names and I probably will never see them again, but for one moment there I was a part of their lives. Isn’t it weird how life works sometimes?

Feel free to contact me for quotes on proposal videos.

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“Sure, I would love a mansion to use only three months out of the year.” – My visit to Newport, RI

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Have you heard of the Gilded Age? Call me ignorant or whatever, but I had not heard the official term until last month when I visited the astonishing mansions of Newport, Rhode Island.

In United States history, the Gilded Age is a period approximately spanning the final three decades of the nineteenth century; from the 1870s to 1900. The term was coined by writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873), satirizing what they believed to be an era of serious social problems disguised by a thin gold gilding.

Thank you Wikipedia, you’re the best.

Interesting where we stand right now, I want my life easier not more elaborated. Fancy dresses are uncomfortable and I can’t imagine having someone do every single thing for me, I actually enjoy cooking.

How did people live in such an age? I bet their attention span was intact and their knowledge of history was more maintained, with all the time they had in their hands I would not expect anything less. I bet if they come to our time now they would be beyond overwhelmed and wouldn’t know how to deal with it.

What’s next for people then? How can it get more intense, more technological or more progressive?

I think we are going back to basics in many aspects of life. Are we losing connection with ourselves? Are we going back to times we thought of as grand? Is that what every generation does? The Gilded Age line of thought was to replicate and bring back the grandeur of Europe, especially France. Are we always, in some way, looking back to the successes of the past? Will all of this Google glass technology mindsets collide with a simpler way of living?

I guess what I’m wondering is, what will future generations look back and see from our times? What are they going to want to replicate and what are they going to laugh about (besides Justin Bieber’s music)?

I’m going to let you think about that for a while.

On a lighter note, follow my Newport journey through my pictures below! 🙂


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Walking around the ocean drive
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This is just the backside of the Marble House. Mind you, this was supposed to be their summer house. Imagine where they lived all year.
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This was their tea house. Tea house. A house for tea. I have a box for my tea bags, but these people had actual buildings for tea.IMG_5557

The front of the Marble House is even more amazing

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Breakfast at Beech Tree Inn, such a nice stay!

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This might not be the most flattering picture, but this dinner at The Mooring was absolutely delicious!

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Walking by the water…
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You have to drive by the ocean drive, it’s such a beautiful view… and this is not even summer!
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I feel like I should remember this mansion’s name… potato, potato? There are so many mansions!IMG_5517
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Cliff Walk -Some of it is still closed due to damage by Super Storm SandyIMG_5508

Even when it’s not sumer, even if there’s a cold breeze, this walk was still worth it.

IMG_5505The Breakers, just your average American summer cottage. Seriously? This is basically a castle.

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Going down the Forty Steps…IMG_5490

Wordless Wednesday: Where I wish I was right now

 

guiligansGuilligan Island, Puerto Rico – Photo by Cristina Nogueras ©

 

Wordless Wednesday: Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

 

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Photo by Cristina Nogueras ©