Alright friends. *Cracks knuckles* In the spirit of things in no way related to the 4th of July– I have this silly promised elephant story. (I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! 🙂 )
On our last leg before bidding a farewell to Thailand, we received an unexpected surprise. We, humble and smelly travelers, would be riding elephants on our last day!
After sleeping on concrete and bamboo, it was a nice reprieve. We woke in the morning, excited for the day. I opened the billowing curtains to another bustling and beeping world. Off in the distance, steep otherworldly mountains stood united. The sun glinted off of golden temples. A sea of rooftops ran two stories below us. I had the sudden urge to climb my way down and run like Aladdin to the giant electric billboard aimed at our window.
The three other girls that I shared a room with had already gone down to breakfast. I threw on my running shorts and blue elephant tank top that I’d just bought in the marketplace. It was perfect for the sweltering heat. I had this crazy hope that it might make the other elephants like me. “I’m Your Number One fan!!” it practically screamed. A kinship would form. I would be their queen… Just kidding. 😉
I went downstairs and found about half the group eating. I grabbed a plate and some grapefruit juice before sitting down. There were some very interesting travelers in the dining area. When everyone was finished, we gathered outside the eating area to meet our elephant tour guide. He brought us each a gift: wooden elephants with big red bows!
We packed our bodies in the tiny van and headed out.
We arrived to an array of activity. The park entrance was busy with visitors. Our guide ran us through a few safety rules as he took us to meet a few of the elephants. We got to feed the ones behind the enclosure. They stuck their trunks out, searching our hands. It felt like a tickle-y suction cup. They snuffed and went on when they realized we were out of snacks.
They brought out a little elephant who they had trained to do tricks like putting his arms and trunk up in the air. The guide asked if any of us wanted to get kissed by an elephant. I desperately wanted to. I think T volunteered me. The guide instructed me to stand still next to the elephant. Out of the corner of my eye I see this trunk reaching for my face. It quickly attached to my cheek and made sucking noises! Quelle surprise!
After les kisses, we were ready to ride.
Elephants with empty saddles marched up in a line. “Who wants to go first?” the man shouted. T and I volunteered. He helped us up the beast and into the seat with a bar over our laps. Our elephant’s name was Nala. We rode in and out of the river, paid for her snacks along the way (which she inhaled), and all along the paths. The elephant in front of us reached up and stole a batch of sugarcane while the vendors were distracted. Nice.
We passed by wealthy homes and continued on into the trees. Finally, we neared an elevated patio where we would hop off. They unlatched us and sweet Nala went off to take a much deserved break. We waited at a gift shop before we rode back on…
These good-lookin’ fellows!
There was a show afterwards where the more experienced elephants danced, painted paintings, and even played musical instruments!
It was quite the adventure. What a great way to end the trip.
(P.S. Please ignore the probable whole bowl of errors in this post. I’ll go back and fix them tomorrow when my eyes aren’t sleepy. )
Have a elephantastic day everyone. God Bless!