Saturday, January 31, 2009

Elephant camp

I've had a fantastic day. We went on an all day tour where we met some lovely Canadian people, John and Angeline. First stop was an orchid farm which was absolutely beautiful. The colours were amazing, and it was very interesting to see the roots of the orchids just hang in mid air. There was also a cat which was wearing a vest. I have no idea what's going on with the whole animals in clothes thing, but it's keeping me well entertained. After cooing over the flowers we were bundled into the van again, and soon arrived at... the elephant camp.

It blew me away. They were roaming all over the place and were all so amazingly huge and graceful. I was quite scared when it was time to climb onto the seat perched on top of our elephant. But we were soon settled and trudging along. Then our mahout randomly jumped off and went off for a stroll. Meanwhile, our elephant was still slowly plodding away and I was wondering what the heck was going on. John and Angeline were well ahead of us by this stage, as our elephant didn't really seem to be into the whole walking thing and theirs was powering ahead. The mahout then called to the elephant and got it to abandon the trail and go into the river. So there we were, in the middle of the river with the mahout on the bank laughing at us. He then gestured for us to get off the seat and sit on the elephant itself. I told Gill he had to go first because I was finding it hard enough to stay upright as it was. He slid quite easily onto the elephant, and with the mahout calling out instructions to our four legged friend, we slowly waded back to the bank. Gill promptly moved back onto the seat, as by this time the mahout had climbed a tree and was ready to jump on the elephant's head. I opened my big mouth and asked if I could have a go riding on his head. The mahout seemed quite happy with this, and swung himself into the seat so I was wedged in between him and Gill. I slowly and quite ungracefully slid onto the elephant's neck and sat there, one hand resting on his head, the other clutching Gill's shoe. I'm not sure why I did that. I think some part of me thought that if I was to fall in the water I'd take him (or at the very least his shoe) with me. I'm such a nice person sometimes. The mahout decided it was time for me to harden up and grabbed my shoe filled hand, thumping it straight on the elephant's head. I'm fairly sure I was emitting some strangled sounds of fright, as I was busy remembering all the times I've fallen off things and experienced various worlds of pain. So then we rode the elephant, through the river, all the way back to camp. Once I got the hang of it, it was amazing. Just moving along, rocking on top of this giant beast. For a while there I was pretending I was leading my elephant into battle (I can't help it, I have warrior blood in me). The rest of the people in our group were still perched on their seats, and looked kind of surprised to see me clinging on to the elephant's head. The trip was over very quickly (in Af time), and we were soon dismounted and standing around high off our elephant vibes. I then spent a whole dollar in order to feed our elephant some bananas. I thought it was well earned.

After that, we ran around after a baby elephant, which seemed to enjoy rubbing it's trunk on my tshirt. In turn, I patted his trunk. We then took an ox-cart ride which was very bumpy (John cleverly just decided to walk the 200m instead) to a hill tribe, the inhabitants of which tried to flog us stuff. They brought out the children and now I have some odd wrist band thing tied to me. I'm such a sucker. One of the women seemed to find Gill's blonde arm hair intriguing, and made her small child come and pat him. The boy seemed to suddenly fall in love, because he went in for a massive cuddle. It was very very cute. We then got taken down to the river for our bamboo rafting trip. It was beautiful and quite peaceful. One of our raft 'drivers' was a lovely boy with a very sweet smile. Life was soured when I got bitten by an ant, but the boy kept splashing me with his oar, so I couldn't be down for long.

Then there was a short temple tour (I can't write about it, because even the pictures we took don't explain how colourful and huge they are) and back home to veg out. Tomorrow I think we're going to try to see the tigers - I believe our new Canadian friends are heading that way as well. Failing that I'm going to get myself to some caves I've read about so I can roam about in the depths of Thailand.


  1. I'm quite jealous. The elephant ride must have been quite amazing. Have you taken advantage of the cheap massages yet? :D

  2. Have I ever. Some random woman twisted me right out of shape. Then she laughed at me whenever I gasped with pain. I felt brilliant after though. She was half the size of me and three times as strong. It was weird.