What a simply amazing experience it was! I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand just 2.5 hours north of Bangkok. This is a Buddhist Monastery where one of the monks rescued a tiger and this is how the story begins. More and more tigers came and now there are over 100 tigers in the temple. My first adventure was being able to feed 3 month old tigers. These babies were so cute and acted just like our domestic house cats. They played, they jumped, they drank milk, they slept and they liked to be petted. Then I went down the canyon where there were about 20 tigers. They had just been fed so they were ready for their afternoon nap. This is where we were allowed to have our picture taken with the resting majestic felines. What a treat it was to be so close to these magnificent creatures. Then there was exercise time where most of the tourists were asked to leave and those of us who had paid for the experience, watched as the tigers were taken for a swim and played with using very large, improvised with plastic bags and sticks, of the cat toys we purrrrrchase at the pet store. It was indeed one of the most thrilling adventures of my life. If you ever find yourself in Thailand, visiting the Tiger Temple is a must.
I was graciously brought into Siriporn’s house in the suburbs of Bangkok where she lives with her Aunt Pia. Siriporn is a flute repair woman as well as a flute teacher and I was fortunate enough to hear one of her 7 year old flutists. As I have a huge penchant for flutists under the age of 10 (made possible only recently with the onset of J-style flutes), it was a really joyful moment for me. Siriporn took me out to a restaurant overlooking the river which was unique, and had a rustic feel to it and the food was delightful. After spending the weekend with her, I was taken to Hua Hin where I was to perform with the wonderful, Malaysian pianist, Shuenda Wong. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in it’s plush, oceanfront, resort rooms. Turns out that Hua Hin is a popular Swiss and Swedish retirement area so the hotel offers dinner and a concert once a month. Shuenda and I were the guest artists this month. After we performed, we stayed an extra 2 days to enjoy the resort services. I treated myself to an incredibly plush massage within the resplendent walls of the spa area made to represent ancient Arabic Temples. Since I’m a huge fan of massages, the Hyatt’s spa area architecture alone on the property was worth the trip to Hua Hin.
Upon my return to Bangkok, Kalaya Phongsathorn’s Baanflute hosted me in a Flute Masterclass where I got to see many of Bangkok’s rising flute talents including the Vanilla Quartet. Next we had two days off to practice and rehearse for our concert which took place at the Siam Ratchada Auditorium. The following day, I had another lovely massage at Burberry’s near the Holiday Inn with Pat (highly recommended). After which, Siriporn came to pick me up to take me by boat to the Wat Po Reclining Buddha Temple. After sightseeing, we had dinner with Kalaya, Siriporn and their friend. I was sadly taken to the airport by Mr. Mongkol after having met his lovely wife Dong and beautiful daughters the night before. Every time I leave this wonderful area and it’s smiling peoples, I anxiously await my return to Magical Thailand.