Today, we had an odd deja vu this moment.  While in Northern Thailand, I was brought back to Copenhagen.   This is an truly odd combination.  Few places are more modern than Copenhagen and Chiang Mai still feels like a poor community that is trying to be a real city.

The tying idea is the Elephant Parade.  This is a non-profit that raises funds for the Asia elephant in a post teak forest world.

As I mentioned in my blog 3 days ago, the Asian elephants had a tough time when the loggers no longer needed them.  What I did not know is that the elephants are really struggling.  They are forced to walk in areas that have land mines. One lost his leg stepping on a mine.  A resourceful doctor created a prosthetic for the elephant.  I love following story.  He put a test prosthetic on the elephant for sizing purposes.  The elephant literally ran and danced around the area.  When the doctor wanted to take off the leg, the elephant was NOT happy.

We first heard of the Elephant Parade in Copenhagen.  We saw the store off the main square where they were holding a major festival (see below).  In the store, they sell limited edition, hand-painted elephants that are replicas of 5 foot elephants that have decorated major cities (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Singapore).  The organization is a non-profit and the excess funds go to elephant habitat.

Chiang Mai is the elephant capital of Asia.  So this one small city that has an Elephant Parade store.  It is on our street here.

I am sharing part of a blog I wrote in August.  This seems like yesterday and like years away.

I will not bore you with the details.  Lets just say that Susie was smitten and we bought some elephants.

Here is Susie’s:

The girls:

And mine:

And the Baskin Clan by the store entrance.

Here is the blog I wrote the last time we were near an Elephant Parade store:

[Start Copenhagen blog]  I am at a loss to describe the following events.  I will attempt to do so nonetheless.

The lighting was transcendent.  The architecture propelled me to the 18thCentury.






Hotel Overlooking the Festivities

The massive array of bicycles overwhelmed us.





A Typical Corner with Bikes

We noted the majestic chime of the city’s grand clocks, from both churches and city buildings.

And we heard music pounding from a distance.  Since the sounds were reflecting off the massive brick facades, we were initially unable to ascertain their origin.  We chose to stroll to Tivoli unless something else grabbed our attention.

Our attention was most certainly grabbed.

As we approached the park, we came upon a square which was undoubtedly the source of the bass heavy music.  We had been noticing also the throngs of people heading toward the concert/festival.





This Guy’s Outfit Was Subtle on Saturday Night (Note: Jimmy Carter Mask)

I have lived in New York, London and Boston.  Susie grew up in Boston and lived in Chicago.  I share this less for biographical reasons than to state that we are not easily rattled. In fact, I suspect that little of what followed would have bothered us much had we been sans children.

Yet we had all four in tow.  It was a robust GLBT celebration.  In fact, a quick Internet search later revealed that this gathering was the largest of its kind in Denmark (or Scandinavia).

Susie and I briefly conferred and came to the following conclusion:

  • This is the year we are traveling to show our children the world
  • The Silver Fox (my mom –  this is her second mention in 4 days!) once told me to assume more intelligence in your children than others do.  In young children, this means using real words and not baby talk.  In tweens and teens, it means addressing what you see.  Since I had boldly declared “lets see what that music is about”, I did not think we could do a u-turn and ignore the Silver Fox’s advice (which I do not do). [Note: I know I am mid-story, but I just have to repeat an observation that I made this summer.  Having attended 10 camp dances this summer with playlists created by 19-22 year olds, I noticed an odd trend: the music that Susie and I danced to as teens is now mega-hip.  Journey, Michael Jackson, Foreigner, Cyndi Lauper, Eddie Money and Aerosmith all made regular appearances at our dances.  Suddenly we are in Denmark.  In 2011.  At a Gay Pride Festival.  And they are playing INXS.  It is as if we have all been transported into MTV circa 1983.]
  • Our children talk about more than we think they do. As a camp owner, I can attest to this.  I almost find it comical how teen campers will occasionally believe that they have learned about things their parents do not know about when in fact the parents have been “protecting” them from these very ideas all along.

With all of this reasoning in mind, We decided to walk through the event.  We said things like “these people have made decisions different from the ones mommy and daddy have made, but they still deserve respect.”  We also said “please do not touch that person, I think he is passed out” and “I smell it too sweetheart,  I am not a fan” and “no, I do not think anyone should wear that outfit either – ever”.

In an odd way, it was a special family experience.  We talked about topics that parents want to broach with their children, but rarely have an intro into.  Suddenly they wanted to know what we thought about a wealth of difficult topics that we wanted to talk about (drugs, monogamy, modesty, etc) – but THEY were asking US.  That means that they would listen to our answers if we shared them.

We then took this opportunity to the next level.  We smiled at them and said “you don’t really care what we think do you?”

Admittedly, this was a touch cutesy. Of course, we were DYING to have them hear our views.  But what better way than to seemingly withhold them?

We had great conversations tonight.  I think we grew even closer.  We also had fun.  I know that our children are less likely to be intimidated by odd situations.  Oh, I think none of our children will ever dress like this guy.


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