Tuesday morning, Februrary 2, we got up for another early
breakfast on the Lido deck. Of the tours offered, we had pre-paid
for the cheapest, which seemed the most interesting, at least to
Our excursion included:
Sriracha Tiger Zoo
After a short bus ride in the opposite direction from the day
before (in other words to the north of Pattaya toward Bangkok), we
arrived at the zoo. Since we were early, our guide gave us an hour
to wander around and look at the animals and the sights. The first
stop was the tiger cage, which looked a bit small for all the
tigers inhabiting it. I'd guess ten or twelve tigers shared the
space. The zoo actually boasts of having over 200 Bengal tigers. I
got a picture of three of them.
on the Prowl in Their Cage
While wandering around, we could have had our pictures taken with
a baby tiger ... for a price, of course. But we declined. Instead
we set off to see what else the zoo offered. We climbed up a
catwalk-bridge over a pool with dozens of crocodiles below in and
around the pool. Some bathed and lolled in the pool while others
sunned themselves. The zoo actually comprises about 1,000
crocodiles, or so they claim.
for a Swim?
We also found some camels and capybaras
another station, we saw a big orangutan dressed in human clothes
and of course you could get your picture with him ... for a price.
The animal didn't look too happy, so we moved on. At another
place, we found a cage with more tigers. We could get up close to
them, and I noticed that they had no fangs! My God! They'd removed
the poor creatures fangs! This observation took away some of the
danger displayed later in the tiger show.
After an hour, we wandered back to our rendezvous point to meet
our guide, who led us into the first of three shows — the
Our guide led us into a stadium with banked seating surrounding a
pool full of crocodiles. Soon a guy and girl appeared next to the
pool. After some initial prancing around, they started to harass
the poor crocs by pulling them by the tail out of the pool and
onto the pavement that surrounded the pool. Some crocs lunged one
or the other performers, who showed the speed and agility that it
took to stay alive under the cirumstances. The girl ended up on
the back of a croc while the boy kept trying to get a croc to open
his mouth and keep it wide open. We all figured what he was about
to do. But don't take my word for it, see for yourselves:
The open-mouth-insert-head trick was the culmination of the show.
Yes, the boy escaped alive to a thunderous round of applause. Then
it was on to the tiger show.
We next filed into another stadium with elevated seating and a
large circular cage in the middle. Out came the tiger trainers,
dressed in tiger striped clothes. They put the tigers through
their paces of sitting up and begging like dogs, leaping over a
group of tigers' backs, and other suck tricks. The main event
was getting a couple tigers to jump through flaming hoops. I
felt sorry for the poor beasts because you could tell they did
not want to go there. But with some coaxing and prodding, they
managed to leap. It's amazing how graceful and precise those
huge animals can be. Take a look at the hoops and the body
language of the tiger about to jump:
Meaning to Jumping through the Hoops
This show was similar to the one we saw the day before, but it was
still fun to watch these huge beasts go through their routines,
which included throwing darts at a target of balloons, shooting
basket balls through a hoop, and walking a tight rope (or actually
two tight ropes).
To end the show, some volunteers from the audience were brought
down to meet the elephants. First, they'd lie down on the ground.
Then an elephant would play with them, ticking their privates with
its trunk to the glee of the trainer and the audience. Next, the
elephant held it's foot about an inch above the victim's stomach
and then jump over the poor guy. Later, two elephants joined their
trunks and carried this woman and her baby.
the show was over, the elephants came up to the crowd to meet us,
as at the elephant show the day before.
As the bus brought us back to the ship, some people considered
taking the shuttle back to Pattaya to spend the afternoon
strolling on the beach or doing some souvenir hunting.
Unfortunately, at that time, it started raining. So for us, it was
time for lunch on the Lido deck. At about 5:00 PM, our ship
weighed anchor and off we sailed for Koh Samui.
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