Friday, January 18, 2008

Baby Elephant Walk

Posted from Hue Vietnam

I got to play with baby elephants! Four of the them to be exact. First, you have to rewind almost two weeks back to when Lizzi and I were in Chiang Mai. We had decided to have separate adventures in Chiang Mai: a cooking class for her and a day with elephants for me. And what a day!

After a short minibus ride to the Elephant Nature Park, we got a short safety briefing. What day with massive mammals easily capable of squashing you is not complete without a safety briefing. The gist was this: they're big and hungry. Always hungry, which leads to the first experience of the day: feeding the elephants. Each elephant has its own basket of food (almost 300 lbs of food per elephant!), full of that elephant's favorite treats, which you feed directly to the elephant -- hand to trunk! My elephant fancied sweet corn and watermelon, but she refused to eat any watermelon until all of the corn was gone.

After lunch it was time for the elephants' bath. The mahouts (elephant caretakers) would lead the elephants to the river, where we washed and scrubbed them. If they were cats, they would have been purring the whole time. Of course, what do elephants do right after a bath, they play in the mud. The four babies were rambunctiously playing in the huge mud puddle next to the river. They wrestled and played, and I couldn't do anything but watch and smile.

Then the elephants went off for some alone time, and we sat down to watch a documentary about the working elephants of Thailand. All of the elephants in the park have been rescued from the tourism and logging industries of Southeast Asia, and the documentary displayed in excruciating detail the torture and abuse these magnificent animals go through. After watching the video, we bathed the elephants one last time, and then called it a day.

pile of baby elephants


Steffers said...

OMG, Matt, you MUST know how incredibly jealous I am about this awesome experience!

Amanda said...

This sounds so awesome, Matt! The only thing missing from your story is "DUDE! Check it out!!"

Anonymous said...

I felt like I was (almost) there with you as I read it... thanks so much! What a trip...

heather said...

OMG! THat's my dream day! I looooove elephants! I am so so so jealous! Elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka! Gotta try it!