Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Nov. 3-9, 2014
On our second night working as volunteers at ENP we attended a Thai Culture and Language class to help us assimilate into our unfamiliar surroundings. We learned basic Thai phrases and that Thais are uncomfortable with public displays of affection.
For fun we also learned the Banana Song, which was highly appropriate after having spent the day unloading, washing, peeling, mashing and squishing bananas mixed with grains into elephant balls. Some elephants at ENP are old and have trouble chewing their food.
After we got the Banana Song down, our coordinator “Bang” asked for a volunteer to do a dance interpretation.
Dawn takes one for the team and volunteers. I shot this video at ENP in Chiang Mai. It makes me laugh every time I see it.
Nang and Evelyn
…a massage with Nang at Numngeru Thai Massage in Khao Suk. I walk in at noon expecting to make an appointment for later but Nang, the massage therapist, insists on doing it now. I’m not a fan of deep tissue massages because frankly, they frikkin’ hurt! I decide to surrender because everything hurts after 23 1/2 hours in the air.
After 90 minutes of it-hurts-so-good pain (and a brief nap!) I ask her to do a reflexology massage. Embarrassingly, I didn’t make time to learn a little Thai, so I have to resort to hand gestures.
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Today was an amazing day beginning with unloading two tons of watermelons from one of the many produce trucks that come in every day. Each watermelon needs to be washed by hand. We also mashed bananas, cornmeal and other grains into elephant balls for the older elephants who can’t chew fresh fruit. Each elephant needs about 100 kilos per day. Their are 40 elephants here – that’s 4000 kilos of food prepped everyday!
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In this episode of Evelyn’s Vacation Rental Home Tips, Evelyn reveals little known tricks used by unscrupulous rental agents and how to spot and avoid them.
Read the video transcript…
Whether this is your first or fifth time renting a luxury vacation home you may still be confused about how much to tip the staff. Luxury vacation villas generally provide more staff and a higher level of personalized service, therefore warranting more generous tips than staff at a luxury hotel. You’re likely to be in more direct contact and come to know the staff by name. The amount you tip will depend upon the quality and quantity of service, length of your stay and the size of your group. These recommendations are based on a 5-7 night stay. Follow these insightful tips and you won’t under or over tip.
Continue reading “7 Insightful Tips to Tipping the Staff at a Luxury Vacation Rental Home” »
This review was originally posted on PublishersWeekly.com.
As orangutans slip into further endangerment due to poaching (mothers are shot in order that babies may be taken as pets) and destruction of their habitat, books such as this may inspire a backdraft of conservation. Written by a primate photographer who has accompanied Galdikas through Borneo’s rainforests, this first entry in the Great Naturalists series introduces the famed primatologist and her passion. With Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall, Galdikas completes the primate research triangle whose participants were mentored by the late Louis Leakey. And like these contemporaries, Galdikas possesses remarkable determination. Orangutan research proves especially daunting: “unlike the highly social chimpanzees, great apes . . . who travel on the ground, orangutans live alone in the trees and travel by swinging.” Each day, Galdikas traveled far from camp, “drenched by rain, caked with mud, and bleeding from leech bites”; she endured “mysterious infections,” subsisted on canned sardines, and watched her scant belongings rot in the extreme humidity.
In brief, well organized chapters and highly readable prose, Gallardo interlaces intriguing observations of orangutans with the life of their patient observer and rehabilitator. The book will rouse readers of all ages not only to a curiosity for primates, but also to admiration for those who brave adversity to eke out a larger understanding of the natural environment. Ages 8-12.
You’ve booked your luxury vacation rental home in a foreign country. Exciting right? But when was the last you checked your passport? Was it a year ago or more? Did you read the fine print on your rental agreement? Did you double check your flight schedule? These may seem like no-brainer details but overlook and any one of them and your vacation could be ruined.
Fatal Mistake #1 – Not Checking your Passport Expiration Date
Since 9/11 stricter regulations apply and the country you’re traveling to my require passports to be valid up to 6 months after your travel dates. We live in an ever changing world and requirements may have changed even if you’ve visited your foreign destination before. Don’t rely on your travel agent to know the newest policies in every country. The reservation agent at your local airport won’t know either. He may board you with a smile but you can bet the immigration officer at your foreign destination will notice the oversight and send you packing for home. Check the expiration date on your passport at least 30 days before your flight to give you enough time in case you need to renew.
Continue reading “Foreign Luxury Vacation Rentals — 3 Critical Errors Travelers Make Before Leaving For the Airport” »
Want to make sure you have the best possible experience during your stay at your vacation home rental? Evelyn Gallardo shares 5 Key Tips Upon Arrival at Your Luxury Vacation Rental Home. Evelyn is the owner of the Discovery Beach House, & Private Nature Reserve, a beachfront vacation rental home in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
Read the video transcript…
One of the many attractions to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is the abundant wildlife particularly its primates – capuchin, howler and the endangered Red-backed squirrel monkey. Having Manuel Antonio National Park in such close proximity to many vacation rental homes gives vacationers the added thrill of seeing them in their own backyard. Unfortunately out of indifference, ignorance or for a photo opportunity many tourists who visit Costa Rica feed the monkeys. However, they’re not fully to blame. Although vacation rental homeowners and hotel owners are completely aware of the dangers, a few still encourage feeding monkeys to attract more clients. When tourists see others doing it they assume it’s acceptable. But feeding the monkeys is detrimental to their health and survival and can have catastrophic consequences.
Continue reading “Vacation Rental Homes — 3 Catastrophic Consequences When Costa Rica Tourists Feed Monkeys — Part 2” »
Ever wonder what to tip the staff at a vacation rental home? Evelyn Gallardo gives you insightful tips on what to tip the concierge, chef and security guard in this short video.
If you’re heading for a vacation rental home near Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, you’re in for an incredible nature adventure. In addition to iguanas, toucans, coatimundis and more, there are 3 species of monkeys indigenous to the park.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Please don’t feed the monkeys
When the park boundaries were established in 1972 no one bothered to tell the Howler, Red-backed squirrel and Capuchin monkeys, so they continued to follow their established foraging routes beyond the park limits. Not all but many of Manuel Antonio’s vacation rental homes are located within these natural foraging routes known locally as the “Monkey Corridor.” However, staying in one of these vacation rental homes carries with it a big responsibility. It may seem cute, funny or thrilling to hand feed the monkeys, yet it’s extremely damaging to them in many ways.
Continue reading “3 Catastrophic Consequences When Tourists Feed Monkeys — Part 1” »
Molly & Chad just had the Costa Rica beach wedding of their dreams. Watch this at your own risk because tears of happiness are guaranteed.
Our guest blogger, Randy Gritz from Celebrations Costa Rica blogs about a new destination wedding trend. When Whitney & Daniel Pace got married at the Discovery Beach House they asked their guests to bring donations for Kids Saving the Rainforest.
I’m often asked about what should we give our guests as a favor to remember our wedding. I have a list that usually includes things like Costa Rican coffee, personalized mugs with a tropical animal as the handle and sarongs for the beach. These are great gifts but I want to focus on another trend by donating something meaningful to the community. A card is left at each guest’s place setting letting them know that in lieu of favors a donation to the community has been made.
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The dream is within your reach…right now.
Have you been dreaming of a tropical beach wedding. We can help you have the perfect wedding on the perfect beach right outside your private vacation beach home rental.
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By Randy Gritz
When my phone rang the last thing I expected to hear was, “I’m bringing my wife Krista to Costa Rica on vacation. We’ve been married over 10 years and I’m going to surprise her by renewing our vows”
It’s not often a groom contacts me about a vow renewal. They were staying at the Discovery Beach House in Manuel Antonio on gorgeous Espadilla Beach with one of the prettiest tropical rain forests in all of Costa Rica as a backdrop. The setting was amazingly romantic.
To double their pleasure Guy’s friend Bill had decided to renew his vows with his wife Dawn as well. Both husbands managed to keep the secret until a day or so before the ceremony, just in case their wives wanted to shop or get their hair done. Smart grooms. Lucky brides.
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