Chang Mai Day 202 (9th Dec)

Trip Start May 20, 2009
Trip End Dec 22, 2009

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Today we got ourselves together and were picked up by the mini-bus to head towards the elephant trekking centreOn the way we stopped off to pick up the elephants snacks, tons of bannanas. As we continued towards the elephant trekking centre Josh thought out aloud "Do elephants lay eggs" in quite a serious voice, everyone broke out into fits of hysterics at this memorable quote, this would be a day of memorable one-liners and more memorable experiences. We finally reached our destination and our guide Lulu told us to get changed into our dashing elephant trekking attire. My oh my, how dashing and brilliant we all looked, we ate our breakfast all together with the rest of the people who were on the tour and then played some pool, Andy harped how he "felt like a convict" dressed in those clothes. Next Lulu sat us all down and gave us some basic information about the elephants. The main facts I remember is that the Asian elephants although smaller than the African elephants have bigger brains. The Asian elephants also consume 250kg each of food per day, drink 30 litres of water and excrement 50kg of waste and the total weight of the elephant, fully grown can range from 3000-3500kg!!

After taking in this interesting segments of information came the important stuff; how to control our elephants. The commands would ensure that the elephants obeyed our command (well that is the theory anyway); "Pai" along whilst kicking your legs (in a giddy-up way) meant forward, "kway-kway" along with using the sharp tool implement to guide the elephant and using your opposite foot to the corresponding direction you wanted to go meant go left or right. Finally the most important command "How" with a squeeze of the legs into the elephants neck (where we would be sitting) meant stop (don't forget that one I told myself). Other commands included "Nalong" meaning get down.

Ok, now it was time to feed the elephant with tons of Bannanas (the greedy bastards). The elephants are so huge, yet so dosile and gentle, it was brilliant to see these elephants up close and personal, being able to stroke their tough skin and place the bannanas onto their outstretched moist trunks as they shovelled it into their mushy mouths. The tiny baby elephant stole the show though, it was so cute and funny as it wobbled around dopily, Hannah was in love with it. I found my true love as one of the elephants was commanded by one of the trainers to give me a kiss, I leaned forward as the trunk loomed into sight and gave me a big, fat, wet kiss on my cheek, making a smooching sound as its trunk left my face, haha!! Everyone else had a kiss too!

Now feeling suitably bonded with the elephants it was time for our test drive, time to put what we had been recently taught into practice. We did some practice runs of the elephant, all wobbling slightly as we felt the sensation of riding this wild, giant, animal. After all feeling that we had learnt a little to an extent we strapped ourselves in (not literally) and headed off elephant trekking, yay!

As we trekked through the forest all in line, it felt weird and slightly uncomfortable to be riding an elephant, what a great experience, how lucky I am, the elephants swayed slightly from side to side but never looked like losing baalnce, there large, soft, squidy feet securely pounding the dry earth beneath them. Every so often the elephants would stop in their tracks and take a piddle or a giant dump on the ground and carry on. Being clever things they walk around the poo, no smelly shoes for them :)

After an hour of great fun and bumpiness we moved towards the bathing pool, oh my god a extremely muddy pool!! We aren't seriously going in there are we? Yes we were, as the elephants carefully stepped into the pool to cool their dry and cracked skin down, water started to cover our clothes, before we got completely wet. Once wet we washed our elephants with a brush and scrubbed their back. Orie my elephant was being quite cheeky and squirted me with water. Andy got a floater on his clothes which he has horrified about, whilst everyone was in roars of laughter. Everyone was having a great time.

The rest of the day was spent playing pool, watching Ong-Bak (without english subtitles!) and eating, with me (god knows what the hell I was thinking) proclaiming "Love juice" as the soup came out, haha. We also made a brief visit to see the elephants and see the staff playing games with the baby, pulling its trunk and messing around.

In the evening we all sat around a camp fire, got shown tricks by one of the funny staff, spoke to the friendly staff, had some nice chats and got to create little hot-air balloons filled with light. It was a great end to a memorable day.
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