Weird, Wrinkled and Wordy

July 23, 2007

Towel Animals

Filed under: Elephants,Travel — Valorie Hoye @ 10:06 am

towelelephantOne of the best elements of our recent cruise was the service. The staff were friendly and had a sense of humour.  Every night when we got back to our suite after dinner, there was a towel animal waiting on the bed: an elephant, a crocodile, a stingray, a monkey, a swan.   Our Stateroom Attendant was good humoured enough to laugh at our attempts to make our own version of a crab in return.

In the dining room, the wait staff came up with a new magic trick nearly every night to keep my seven year old nephew intrigued during the two hours it took for the adults to have a full gourmet meal.

We were treated like royalty during the cruse, waited on at every turn.  It felt a little uncomfortable at first, frankly.  But I got used to it just because it seemed so genuinely offered.   We tried to get to know the staff we saw every day.  Many of them were far away from home and had been on the ship for many months.  They were doing their jobs, but I think it takes a special kind of person to make others feel so pampered.

Sometimes it’s just a little extra touch that makes you smile.

February 28, 2007

Why Kill an Elephant to Make a Trinket?

Filed under: Elephants — Valorie Hoye @ 11:53 am

It’s heartbreaking to hear reports that more than 20,000 African elephants were slaughtered in Zambia and the Congo last year alone. Nearly two decades after the worldwide ban on the sale of ivory, poaching has reared its ugly head once again.

The economic reasons are complicated. The price of ivory has skyrocketed at the same time as poverty in Africa has reached horrendous proportions. The temptation to trade in ivory is great indeed. Funding for enforcement of the ban has trickled off as the continent-wide human crisis deepens. In some areas, herds of elephants are being culled due to overpopulation. But rampant poaching could tip the scales in the other direction. Once again, the species flirts with extinction.

These majestic creatures have always had a special place in my heart. In 1997, I went to Kenya to see them in their natural habitat. The experience was deeply moving. They are intelligent and sensitive animals, nearly untouched in eons. They are a key element of the ecosystems they inhabit.

What angers me most is that these beings are killed to make trinkets and jewellery. I don’t care if the use of ivory hanko stamps in Japan is a thousand year old tradition. Change tradition. Use plastic, it’ll last longer. And you won’t have to kill a beautiful animal just to leave your mark on the world.

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