Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thailand - Riding Elephants

On the day we left Bangkok, before heading to the hotel, we stopped at an elephant camp. When we arrived the lines were huge so we decided to go on a bamboo raft ride first. That was pretty fun and took about half an hour. When we got back the lines were way smaller so we got in the "queue" (as they call the line here). We had to wait for a bit but finally reached the top. We were going two to an elephant with the pairs being me and my mom, Dave and Tommy ( a Thai guy who was a friend of our guides and traveling with us) and Paul and Cathy. My mom and I were hoping to get an elephant with a baby and it looked like we were going to when some elephant budged in front of the one with the baby. There were about 3 or 4 elephants with babies about the size of a sheep. They were adorable! As soon as we were around the corner and out of sight of the other guys we asked the driver if we could actually ride up on the elephants neck. He of course said yes ( all he was thinking about was how big his tip would be!). My mom went first and drove the elephant for a bit while our guide was using the cameras on the ground. Next I went and I'll just say it's wwaaayy different from riding a horse! It's actually, to be honest, really uncomfortable with the shoulders jabbing you in the behind, and after a while your hips start to hurt because they're so wide. Once we got near the water the guide finally realized that the hand signals I was making was not the Makarina dance and that I wanted him to take the elephant through the water. Oh and by the way if it sounded like we were actually steering the elephant it was just walking behind the driver, I have no idea how they steer them. We then went through the water which was no problem for the elephants because in case you didn't notice they're huge. It was a bit of a problem for the little baby in front of us because it had to actually swim! On the other side the driver stopped for a couple of minutes to roll a smoke while my mom got back on. We then walked through the jungle for a bit and I got on before we found David, Tommy, Cathy and Paul. Their elephants were all eating and ours tried to but it got in trouble and we had to keep walking. This time back through the water I rode it and it actually wasn't that bad. The only reason why I actually did it was because I don't know how to stop the elephant. All in all riding elephants is pretty awesome!


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