When I was little my favourite toy was a monkey. Not just any monkey, but one with a cloth body, plastic moulded hands (one of which holds a banana) and face. What's more she is a talented monkey as she is able to insert her banana into her mouth any time she is in need of a snack. How do I know she is female you ask? Well, many years ago when she joined our family, my Nanna stitched a little red bow on forehead so I knew she was a girl. Mary Mick Monk she was, and Mary Mick Monk she remains. Yes, I still have her all these years later. Well loved, with a little less stuffing perhaps, but she is still smiling, still has her banana and is still good company on those occasions when a little TLC is needed.
Jane Goodall with her long term study of the chimpanzees of Gombe, Gerald Durrell and his Jersey Zoo and the Phantom were my heroes and the studies of the former filled my head with learning, while the latter gave me something to read in my down time. What I would have given for a Phantom ring.
That said, elephants have been my long term love. Something about these gentle giants and what they can teach us just can't be ignored. It is with honour and pride that I currently have a suitcase open on the floor. Items being added as things come to mind. All preparation for a trip I am about to undertake. Changmai here I come! With our flight booked, departure date is looming, and I am excited. More than I would have believed. So for me, a dream is coming true. A day spent with my own elephant! Mine for the day, to be with, feed and wash in the river. Better yet I get to do it for two whole. Elephant heaven for this girl.
The only up close and personal experience I have had so far with elephants was feeding one some apple at Australia Zoo. If I run true to form I will cry - rest assured it will be happy tears from experiencing such an overwhelming event. As for the model in the attached photo - a visit to the new elephant enclosure at Taronga Zoo ensured lots of photo opportunities and smiles.