Elephants, Oh My!

I would just like to say that I am writing these blog post (to be uploaded later) on the porch of our bungalow in Laos, in the jungle, surrounded by cats and chickens.

So day 3 (is it day 3?) was made for the elephants! It was Sarah, Kara, Lenny, and I doing the elephants. We were picked up in a minibus at 8:30 in the AM (sleepy Marge arguing hard against this one) and set off towards the elephant sanctuary place.

The first stop was a butterfly place, and after the Cameron Highlands me and Kara are like “meh”. Then Lenny was separated from us because he was doing a different tour where he was sleeping over. We ended up with a Canadian guy named Donald who our (hilarious) thai guide took to calling McDonald or Mr. McDonald, which was hilarious to all involved.

The guide was probably the best part of the trip. His name was Na? Nan? Something Thai-sounding and starting with an ‘N’. So Num was this small very eager Thai man who would say “Oh My Buddha!” and laugh about everything.

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We got to put on these truly sexy elephant riding outfits which were pretty much made of burlap and were 3 sizes too big. We changed in a bamboo hut and then learned all the commands for the elephants.

Forward=Pai Pai

Stop=How!

Lift Foot=Sung

Feed=Bon Bon

And others I have now forgotten. There goes my career as an elephant trainer. We spent a good 15 minutes just giving the two elephants bananas. Those things can eat. Then we got to ride them around a bit by themselves. My elephant was very needy and kept lifting her trunk up to get food every minute or so.

Then we got two on an elephant and set off on the long trek through the jungle. Kara and I had the big elephant, and lemme tell you, staying on that thing was a work out. No there was no saddle, there was nothing to hold on to. The bones of the elephant were going right up your butt and you had to hold on really tight with your thighs. Of course, it was still amazing and so fun, but I was very sore all around my butt the next day (or two).

Probably the most terrifying was when the elephant had to go down a hill. You’re leaning over the elephant and just looking down like “yup, that’s my death right there. Fallen and trampled by an elephant”.

Then we went with the elephants into the water and swam around with them. By “swim” I mean that the elephants just rolled around in the water and we climbed up on them an took a lot of pictures. This is shit that would not be allowed in America. We are just rolling around in the water with elephants and then getting up with them (which was a feat). It was one of the funnest things I’ve done. I loved it. I will also add an elephant to my growing menagerie of animals.

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After riding the elephants we went white water rafting and we met back up with Lenny for that! He had been trekking or something. The river was really low so we kept getting hit on rocks, but it was still crazy going over the rapids and we kept having to jump from one side of the boat to the other. We stopped and jumped off a little cliff into the river and to swim with the Thai people.

This was like such a chill place. The Thai had built these little bamboo hut/platforms that went right out onto the water and they were all chilling on them and having picnics and some were in the water and they would just watch the tourists come by, struggling in their little boats. Like a day at the beach.

Luckily we got to go home after that because we were exhausted. Of course, we didn’t get much time to rest because after getting home we were bombarded with news of the Saturday Night Market, which was apparently this huge market and something Chaing Mai was famous for. Alright, alright, we’ll go.

And boy was it huge.

We had found Austin after the elephants and Terese and Celeste were with us for a point before escaping to explore on their own. We also had picked up a girl names Carly (it’s like actually spelled Karlye, but I do not accept that. She was much more of a Carly) from San Diego, and Manu, this big German guy who was seriously hilarious.

We spent the first hour getting street food and chowing the fuck down. I got grilled chicken, and rotee (like roti in Malaysia, but Thai), some delicious sushi. Austin got curry. We got amazing fruit smoothies, and basically pigged out for a while.

Then we went shopping. I bought a new bag to hold all the new things I’m getting. I may or may not have gotten gifts for some people. I also got a bamboo cup that came with my lychee drink.

But this market was huge. I swear to god we walked down it for a good hour plus and didn’t even make it halfway. We gave up. We cut down some side street and walked around dark Chiang Mai streets for a long time looking for civilization.

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