Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
147Trip End May 30, 2013
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We did want to go into another province in Cambodia with the express mission to spend some time with elephants. Running short on time, we high tailed it here to do some trekking. Well, that wasn't exactly panning out either, so I compromised with a little ride on my own.
Now there's always the debates about animal treatment when it comes to these kind of things and I admit, I didn't look into the background of the operation. Seems to me, it's a few Khemer's trying to make a living. They have 2 elephants a mother and a baby. I got to ride the baby. Perhaps I should mention that baby outweighed Mamma by ½..
I packed away a bunch of bananas in my bag. Within seconds I felt this thing behind me. She was poking around me with her trunk! So much larger than I ever could imagine, and so tactile as well! She had almost a big finger at the end that could grab the bananas (still in their skins) from me. To the mouth and back before I even had a chance to get the next out of the bag!
She was huge (did I already mention this?). It was almost impossible for me to get up onto her without the help. Then I see the mahout jump up like it's nothing at all! The wooden bench creaked and groaned with ever step she took. The mahout perched right up on her head with his feet behind her ears and spoke softly to her while wiggling his feet to signal directions for her to go. He wasn't demanding of her at all, and he let her stop and eat whenever she spied something tasty. She was also quite playful and would pick up different sticks along the way, sometimes dragging them behind like a dog on a walk.
When we finally got to the waterfall, her pace picked up and she made a beeline to a patch of bamboo nearby. Small fresh shoots (she obviously picks them off quite frequently) were pulled off into perfect bit-sized bouquets for another snack.
I loved sitting with my feet flat across her shoulders feeling her muscles move underneath the warm wrinkly skin. Her velvety ears flapping with every movement. Every once in awhile she would make a low grumble or a little squeak sound.
I'm anxious to have a few more interactions with these fascinating animals. Maybe I'll get better at climbing up!