Once the raw rubber sheets are the correct approximate size and thickness they are hung up to dry. Seeing pickup trucks loaded with sheets of rubber like the ones in the picture is a common sight in this part of Thailand as they are taken to wholesalers to be sold.
One rubber sheet is sufficient to make 500 Thai condoms, 300 French or Spanish condoms, 100 American condoms, or 2 English ones.
(I made up some of the above).
Khao Lak and Khao Sok Elephant Trek
"A sudden urge to drive to Khao Lak"
I woke up and decided we shall forget about the breakfast at the JW Marriott Phuket Beach Club and head up north for breakfast at Khao Lak. I have read about the THB80 breakfast at The Nang Thong Bungalows Restaurant from Khaolaklovers and would like to see what it is like. However, like anyone new to a place. I didn't make a turn and headed straight at Khok Kloi and ended up at a national park. I doubled back and headed north along the A4 (Asian Highway 4).
Just before Khao Lak are the hillside resorts and the road there is winding. Thank goodness I got a 4X4.
We reached Khao Lak and Jasmine was tired, the kids cranky so we settled to eat at The Viking. After that I wanted so much to drive up to Khao Sok but Jasmine had enough of me driving so we compromised and settled to get a guided tour at Khao Lak itself.
They have half day tours to Khao Sok and opted for that. The lady manning the shop bought some stick rice for the kids. Think of it as glutinous rice cooked inside sticks. Pop the cork and peel the wooden wrap down and pull out chunks of sweet sticky rice. Very nice.
"Elephant trek at the fringes of Khao Sok"
About an hour's drive, we reached Win's Elephant Trek Camp. The whole family. Yes the whole family. Me, Jasmine and the two girls all boarded a single elephant.
The destination of the trek was a waterfall and it's pool. There are fishes in the pool.
"The picture of us as taken by the mahout"
As you can see, all of us are on the elephant. BTW, this animal decided to do the toilet thing when we were at the waterfall. As you can see it is male. The size of you-know-what is as long as it's trunk. The urine was let out like some fire hose dousing a fire. A great gushing noise
"Elephant does the toilet thing again"
Here we are shadowing this elephant in front. On it is a Europan couple. You don't see the lady because she wanted to ride it Jane style on the elephant's neck just behind it's head.
As we plod along, the elephant released on of it's bombs. It fell onto the ground with a loud resounding thud. Then came the next thing, the you-know-what extended and out gushed out a fire hydrant volume of urine.
The couple looked around wondering what the gushing sound was and I shouted to them that it was pissing and they should see the size of the thing. It was as tall as me or rather long like it's trunk. They didn't believe me.
The trek was through a rubber plantation. The tree you see here is a rubber tree. Hevea brasiliensis. They are native from Brazil but was brought to this region to be cultivated for it's latex which is the white stuff you see in the coconut husk.
You see the bark is carved and the tree responds by releasing a sap which is latex. It drips down to the coconut husk container. Takes 3-4 days to fill the container. It doesn't matter if it rains. The latex is not miscible with water.
Previously, Malaysia was the rubber plantation of the world. Now they are more like the palm oil plantation of the world. Thailand has overtaken to be the world's largest producer of natural rubber.
"End of trek"
The trek ended of course and again we have our pictures offered to us for a fee of THB300. Since it goes to the maintenance and feeding of the elephants, I don't mind. Afterall, the elephants of Thailand has lost their industrial use and they do have a lot of unemployed elephants.
Pictured below is Edwina feeding the elephant that carried us with sugar cane which I bought for THB20.
She really misses the elephant. Next, our guide drove us to a launch point for our canoe trip in Khao Sok.