So they told us that the tiger walks you, not the other way around. If the tiger walks, you walk. If he stops, you stop. If he runs, you run. Well, my tiger must have known I don't like to run, because he stopped a lot.
The tiger (about seven months old I think) did a big down dog stretch for us. Check out those claws!
So here he is, stopping again.
Our handler, Nun, was awesome. To get the tiger to move along she picked up this piece of tree and let me pull him along.
Then it turned into a game. Tug of war. I lost. That's Nun smiling in the background.
You can hear the baby squeals throughout. I just loved how she (I'm declaring it a she) rubbed on my head. I tried to trim the video, but blogger couldn't process it, so you have to watch some blurriness at the start.
After feeding the three month old tiger I got to hold and cuddle a one month old tiger. There were only two one month old tigers there. We weren't supposed to pick them up and carry them or drag them around. If you did, they would squeal. One of the handlers handed me the baby and I headbutted it as long as it would tolerate me. The tiger gave me a little bath, licking at my hand, but of course (just like Bailey), wouldn't lick Ross.
This is our guide, Jackie. He was super cool and the tiger knew him, so wanted to be with him instead of me.
After we cuddled the baby(est) tiger, the monks said prayers. We sat quietly and pet the tigers if they came around. After prayers we had breakfast. They brought out the stuff we had presented as offerings, except for what the monks had kept for themselves. The monks only eat once a day, and apparently they likes they shugga. Only a couple of the chocolate wafer cookies made it out front, and the Dunkin Donuts were gone. Yeah, one group brought donuts. The tourists were allowed to eat first. I was first in line, and actually Ross, Jackie and I were the only ones in our group who ate--the rest of the food went to the volunteers and staff. Ross had rice with green curry. I had rice and vegetables, and some noodles.
Oh, our group. As a bonus, lucky unbirthday present there were only 8 tourists that morning. One of the guides said that the last couple of days had been crazy, with over 30 tourists. The limit is supposed to be 20, but you know how that goes. With only 8 tourists we weren't fighting over the tigers. Each couple got their own 3 month old to feed.
After breakfast we continued playing with the tigers. The female on the right was a jerk. She kept waking up her sister, and then she was biting the baby--and the poor baby cried. Here I am telling the older tiger to quit being a jerk and to leave the baby alone. The lady in the white shirt in the background was crazy. She totally played with the jerk and let it bite her repeatedly.
After temple time with the youngest tigers we moved on to some bigger ones.
We left our hotel at 5a on my unbirthday to head head to the Tiger Temple. Our Driver, Adami, did all the work while Ross snoozed, and I took note of how things looked in the dark. We stopped in Kanchanaburi to pick up offerings for the monks. Where did we stop? 7-11. Thailand is full of 'em. One on every corner and one in between. They more common than Starbucks in Manhattan. What did we buy the monks? Ah, this is the funny part--we bought them yakult (liquid yoghurt) and chocolate wafer cookies. Our guide, Jackie, whom we met up with at the 7-11 said that's what the monks like.
When we got to the temple we put our offerings on these trays, and then the staff added a bunch of real (cooked) food in plastic bags. Oh, the Thai are obsessed with plastic. They put everything in plastic bags! Even drinks. And plastic drink cups come with plastic bag-like carrying handles. Street food is sold in plastic bags sealed with rubber bands. And they give you a straw for every (plastic) bottle drink you get at 7-11. Of course the straw is wrapped in plastic. It's a bit crazy.
Anyway, back to the temple. The monks lined up and we put the food offerings into their bowls, which was hard because I wasn't allowed to touch the bowls or the monks, and the bowls had narrow openings. Also, we were toward the end of the line, so when they got to us their bowls were full. Anyway, it all worked out and I didn't defile any monks with my uncleanliness.
We were shuttled to a temple and told all the rules. Before I knew it I was holding a three month old tiger and feeding him. It blew my mind. Jackie took all the photos, so we could just enjoy the cats. We had handlers that made sure we were doing what we were supposed to.
Ross got a turn feeding the tiger too. Take a look at those paws! They were so soft/smooth, and so hot. The tiger's fur wasn't soft though.
He we are with our baby boy. I liked rubbing his belly. It was hard to believe we were actually holding a real live tiger. And it got even better.
We went on quite the adventure to get to Asiatique---a kind of shopping mall/night market with our new pals Mary and Kim. I wasn't much into the shopping, but we all jumped at the opportunity to have a fish pedicure. We put our feet into a giant fish tank and the fish nipped at our dead skin.
At first it tickled--A LOT. But then it started to feel like a massage. It was good until a fish would nip the bottom of my foot or between my toes.
The fish pedicure was cheap and fun. I'd definitely do it again.
Our return to the hotel went much more smoothly. We rode the sky train and metro like pros. We don't need no stinkin' taxis.
Our first official stop in Bangkok was Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. We saw a large sitting Buddha, a large standing Buddha, and then the epic reclining Buddha as the grand finale.
There were courtyards in the temple surrounded by rows of Buddhas that looked out into the courtyard. This is a row of the sitting Buddhas. A separate courtyard had rows of standing Buddhas.
The reclining Buddha had mother of pearl inlaid into the soles of his feet.
The Buddha just towered over us as we walked by.
Ross had fun saying "Wat Pho!?!" for the rest of the trip.