This adventure is in the top 5 things I have ever done, if not top 2. (Number 1 being helping my sister in the delivery room).
Around 8:30am our guide, M came to our hotel to pick us up and take us to the Elephant Village. Once we were there we met the Elephants, learned their language, how to speak with them and how to ride them. I fell instantly in love. I have never ridden a horse as they scare me a bit, but felt comfortable on the Elephant. Adam and I first practiced getting on and off, riding and speaking with the Elephant known as Mae Uak.
All of the Elephants in the village are female and have Mahouts, a person who rides the elephant every day. Some of the Mahouts are also the Elephants owner and have brought them from the logging industry to the camp. It is hard to think of anyone killing or working to death these gentle giants once you have spent time with one. In fact it makes me sick to my stomach to think about it. I am sure anyone who kills them/hunts/has hunted would make me sick as well…
After our practice session, we lounged for a bit and then took the elephant for a ride into the river. This time we were on Mae Boukham with her Mahout Mr. Pang that owns Boukham and has been with her every day for the last 20 years. We rode her into the river, Adam and I each taking turns sitting on her neck. We were on parade with all of the other elephants, their Mahouts and guests.
Later there was lunch and then we took the Elephants into the jungle where they spent the night and then we enjoyed the evening and dinner in the village. Off to bed at 7:30 under the full orange moon of Laos.
Bathing the Elephants tomorrow!