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A Staff Postcard: Elephant Hugs from Thailand

July 16, 2010

Simone Farbus, Air Travel Manager at Asia Transpacific Journeys was a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and China Airlines recently.

I was hugged by an elephant in the Land of Smiles!

The Land of Smiles is a designation that the Tourism Authority of Thailand has adopted as its motto.  It’s a nickname the country has deservedly enjoyed unofficially for decades.

My first trip to Thailand was in 1978 with a couple of friends—taking a Spring break from our busy government jobs in Hong Kong.  For years I said it was the best vacation I had ever been on.  I had never before traveled to anywhere quite as captivating or welcoming as Thailand.

Almost exactly 30 years later I returned this year, happy to find that the people were still smiling, the food was even better than I recalled, and the country as diverse and unique as I remembered.

It’s easy to fully decompress in Thailand.  I watched elephants paint better pictures than I could, spent an afternoon with tigers, sampled a dozen different fruits in the orchards where they grew (including the famous odiferous durian fruit), and watched the sun set over a still ocean, all in one day.  Nowhere else can you get quite the variety of activity.

I traveled from the north to the south of an amazing country, captivated by its music and dance, its flora and fauna, its tastes and smells. When I returned with my many photographs my children asked me what the best thing was.  “Being hugged by an elephant,” I replied.

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