We were glad to have the first day in Thailand resting because the trip was a long one. We began with a 4 1⁄2 hour car ride to Guwahati at midday and then flew to Kolkata, then Bangkok and then arrived in Chiang Mai at 7.00 the next morning. A direct flight might have taken only 3 hours but there weren’t any.
Next morning we went to the amazing elephant conference centre in Lampang where I gave a lecture – actually some movies of our work in other Asian countries to show the different signals that we use according to each country’s tradition and to show that we weren’t there to change everything and it wasn’t about a new ‘method’ but was more of an upgrade, a refinement of what they already do. There was just one exception: to get rid of the early harsh containment in breaking in and punishment that is widespread across Asia and is supposed make the elephants submissive but in fact all it does is make them dangerous later on because they learn that unpredictable punishment occur in training. I was in for a surprise.