Monday, October 28, 2013

Swimming With the Elephants (No seriously)

Waterfall Fun in Laos and Swimming with Elephants

Trying not to fall off coming out of the water...
Ho Tantor - Bundolo!! as Tarzan would have said. Had one of the most incredible experiences ever today with one of the most magnificent creatures we share this planet with - Elephants!! When the day started, I had no idea how amazing this experience would turn out to be. I thought just riding in the Howda or Saddle on an Elephant would be the coolest thing ever... but it got even better!! I asked the Mahout if I could ride right on the Elephant's back at some point and part way along he got off and let me slide into the driver's seat so to speak.  Of course he still has complete control but you are just riding around up there without a lot to hold on to. It's not exactly a smooth ride and it often feels like you're just going to flop off. I kept wondering how cats land on all fours and could I replicate the feat if I got dumped off somehow. Speculating whether I'd end up like a wad of gum squished on the bottom of his foot. Would he just want to scrape me off?
In the process of standing upright on the Elephant's back.  Gotta get that balance just right..
Where's the steering wheel?
Standing in the falls
Sort of like water-skiing.... well not at all actually. Very fun however you look at it.
I thought we would be feeding and then just helping to bath these beautiful creatures, but bath-time has never been so much fun. Maybe I was just the pool toy for the Elephant. The Mahout gave me some treats and at times while I was riding around in the water with my new giant buddy, she would reach her trunk back and I would feed her some Elephant goodies. They looked like figs, but not 100% sure what they were. The Elephants loved em though. Their trunks are just incredibly dexterous and sensitive. You can reach out with a banana for example and they precisely and carefully take it from your hand. So delicate - tender even.
Feeding time with banana treats after the forest ride. Swimming and bath after this...
The Waterfalls. Empty before bath and swim time. The color of the water was incredible.
I have to catch a plane later today for the next leg to Siem Reap in Cambodia so will keep this shorter than I would prefer. I'll try and add some more detail later, but really wanted to get this out there so I can share how much fun I had and how wonderful these animals truly are. So many things to describe like the texture of their skin, the prickly hairs at the top of their head, what it feels like when they sneeze in your face in the water, the feeling you get when you look right into their eyes. So much wonderful energy there. At least that's how it felt to me. I hope I can do something like this again later in my journey. Stay tuned.