Have you ever been hugged by an elephant? or how about being splashed by giant tigers as I sat on the edge of their pool as they scampered in a sort of water tag with each other.
O Lord, How can I count thy blessings? What a day You offered me.
I spent the morning surrounded by Indian elephants and the afternoon Bengal Tigers from Northern Thailand’s jungles. It was another example of being in a kind of Eden of acacias, palm trees, ferns, frangipanni, strelitzia, water lilies and lotus.
When we arrived at Maepan Elephant Park mid-morning, it looked like a tourist trap. Tons of vans and mini-buses spit out people, many Muslim women, many Asians, and they were herded to the elephant show. In a open-aired barn, big mama elephants were chained at the foot, as usual, throwing around corn stalks while their babies played freely. We were blessed at once to be able to sign up for the mahoot training experience to learn how to communicate with, ride and play with elephants one on one.
|curiosity with a trunk|
|Hat on ya!|
|Awwwwww - Hugs|
|My Kind of Bath|
I asked if they did this every day and the mahoot said yes these two elephants were the mahoot training class victims. Meanwhile, the rains poured. I gave up on the Vietnamese-like hat. What’s wrong with a wet me? We were invited to lunch at a bench overlooking the river in front of one of the mahoots’ houses. Then it was time to get back to work. But first a couple of tricks: The baby gave me a hug with his trunk - (trunk around my neck, pearls and all), he gave me a trunk kiss, and he also picked up a hat and put it on my head. I walked with the baby elephant back to the camp passing the giant elephants carrying the latest lot of tourists while Jim rode the big female on a longer route to see what it was like. He reported, very rough riding.
Then it was time for the river. I changed into my sandals and survived the steep incline into the rather brown raging river. This is the favorite activity of all elephants and they lay down and roll over and enjoy the attention as we scrubbed them. The baby’s eyes looked at me and she continued to play with me with her trunk, loving the cool water. Then when it was time to finish, she showered us with sprays of water from her trunk.
I think I had grown attached to this little one. I wonder if elephants never forget.