September 21, 2008

Thailand: Kissed By an Elephant

| Chiang Mai |

I have been looking forward to this day since I started planning my trip to South East Asia. Elephants! I was easily able to book a bareback elephant ride through Julie Guesthouse. 

I met the group (three Australians and two Japanese/French) at 8:30am and we drove out to the elephant park. Before we could meet the elephants we had to change into a full jean outfit (you are welcome). We then watched the elephants play music and dance, we fed them bananas and sugar cane, two elephants would tie their trunks together creating a chair so that we could sit down and the same two elephants would also wrap there trunks around your face and then kiss your cheeks. After that we learned how to command our elephant and how to get up on it- you use the front right leg of the elephant as a ladder and sit right behind the elephant's ears. After we were trained we got to go for a ride but not until we had a home cooked Thai meal for lunch.

My elephant was Christina, a mother and the biggest one out of the six... I mean huge. I practically towered over the other elephants, which made it extra challenging to climb up her but I managed. They elephant ride was hilarious. The elephants were always getting distracted by eating. We took them to a well and they soaked us. The elephants would suck up the water with their trunks and then flip it around and blow it right at you, one after another. I was drenched and I truly have never laughed so hard in my entire life while trying to keep my mouth shut so that I did not get some stomach eating disease.  One of my many worries. After we went for our 1.5 hour walk we had to bathe them in a lake/river. The elephants would lay down and we would scrub them and then they would flip over. And when I say flip I mean slowly stand up and slowly lay down again all while we were not trying to get squished. This was a huge process. After that we played with them in the water. We would splash them and they would blow massive amounts of water at us, we would splash them and they would aggressively bob their heads under the water waving their trunks around causing quite the entertaining scene.

{ Christina, big mama. }

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