Melissa Klurman: Spending a Night With the Elephants

Melissa Klurman is a freelance travel writer, and during one of her most recent trips, she was able to get up close and personal with some elephants. She even slept in the middle of their sanctuary.

Only Feet Away from the Elephants

Anantara Golden Triangle Resort
Melissa Klurman: Spending the Night With the Elephants

Thailand’s Golden Triangle is where you can find the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort and where Melissa was staying. She has had a deep fascination for elephants since she was a child, and as an adult, Melissa went on safaris in Africa where she saw them in real life, but from afar.

The resort offers stays in “Jungle Bubbles,” which are giant see-through bubbles in the middle of an elephant sanctuary. The entire resort is surrounded by 21 elephants that are looked after and cared for by veterinarians and conservationists.

During Melissa’s stay in the Golden Triangle, she was able to spend one night in a Jungle Bubble where she got to see first-hand the life of an elephant. From the moment that she arrived at the resort, Melissa was greeted by the elephants. Once shown her room, she packed an overnight bag and made her way to her bubble while the rest of her belongings stayed at the resort.

A Night in the Bubble

elephants into the wild
Melissa Klurman: Spending the Night With the Elephants

Melissa describes the bubbles to be Jetsonesque living spaces. Each bubble is quite spacious and even has a deck with a table and chairs. Once alone in the bubble, she was able to observe the elephants and their behaviors. Most of the time, they were eating, and she could hear every crunch, breath, and step that they took.

Since elephants rarely sleep, they kept her up most of the night — whether it was with their movements, eating, or trumpeting. She woke up at about four in the morning and watched as they continued to roam the secluded sanctuary before she was picked up a few hours later to go back to the resort.

Have Human Societies Ever Settled and Lived Underground

In the past, humans have built underground structures such as catacombs, which were mainly used for burials and ritualistic purposes. In modern times, entire subway systems have been dug and are regularly used in cities across the globe. The question remains, have humans ever made permanent subterranean settlements that they’ve lived in for prolonged periods of time?

The Galbena River Cave in Apuseni mountains

A Hideout In Dangerous Times

Underground settlements have been discovered in several areas of the world. However, all evidence suggests that humans used them as a last resort. In case of extreme summers or winters, humans would retreat deep into cave dwellings to survive the harsh conditions. In some ancient cities, subterranean towns were made for people to die out in and stay safe from invaders, perhaps for weeks or months at a time.

Derinkuyu underground city, Cappadocia Known Underground Settlements

Will Hunt, author of Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet, explains that the underground is simply not where humans belong as we are neither physiologically nor biologically suited to thrive in that environment. Even so, such cities do exist and were used by ancient humans in emergencies. Such settlements include the underground cities of Cappadocia which are on the territory of today’s Turkey. Among the biggest subterranean cities in that area are Derinkuyu and Kaymakli.

The underground city of Kaymakli, Cappadocia

Future Subterranean Cities

Subterranean dwellings, temporary as they were, aren’t just a thing of the past. RÉSO, found in Montreal, is a modern underground city or rather a series of connected office towers, shopping centers, hotels, and other commercial and residential complexes. Singapore is also said to be considering options for expanding downward, as the technology needed to build complex and functional underground cities is already here.

A depiction of how an underground city would look like in the future Assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia, Eun Hee Lee shares that it might be a challenge to convince people to move underground, although so far, research has shown no negative psychological effects of staying below the earth, as long as there is sufficient light, tall ceilings, and large rooms.