So life has been pretty busy since we got back from vacation. I've been teaching all week in Bentleigh, a suburb which requires me to take a tram, then a train, then a bus to get to the school. I've been in a Grade 3/4 classroom, and it's been good. I just haven't had much time to do blog entries when my commute is over an hour each way.
On top of that, one of our camera memory cards has an error, and it's currently being fixed (hopefully), so we can get our missing pictures from Thailand, including the amazing temples in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Until then, I'll be doing random posts, but they won't necessarily be in order. This first one will be about our day with the elephants in Chiang Mai, which is in the Northern part of Thailand.
We spent a day at Thai Elephant Home. This is something I booked online before we left, and it was one of the activities I was looking forward to the most. It didn't disappoint. A van picked us up from our hotel in the morning, and we drove up into the jungle/mountainous area outside of the city. We changed into our snazzy blue outfits and Joe, the owner, taught us a little bit about elephants (Asian vs. African, physical characteristics, etc.). We also learned a few commands, but that would prove pointless, as the elephants only really listened to the mahouts (their trainers).
After our briefing, we said a short prayer to the elephant god and fed the elephants some bananas. I guess this was so we could get comfortable with them. We were each assigned an elephant and rode around the grounds in three circles before heading out on the real trail.
|They bend down nicely so you can climb on!|
We rode through the jungle on our assigned elephants, passing through a shallow river and going uphill. Zack had the biggest elephant of all, and he was first in line. I was right behind him on a normal sized elephant. It was kind of like riding a big horse. I tucked my legs in behind its ears, pressed my palms on its head for balance, and it was all good!
We stopped somewhere in the jungle for lunch, which was pad thai wrapped in banana leaves. It was still warm. Yum! And we got to feed the leftovers to the elephants; those animals like to eat!
After riding a bit more, we stopped at a mud pit and spent some time covering a few elephants with the black goop. They loved it! I guess it's like a spa for them...really good for their skin. They just flopped right over and let us dump the mud all over them. They kind of got it all over us as well!
|Zack's big elephant and the beautiful jungle.|
|We bought bananas and sugar cane along the way to feed our elephants. |
Here's my view when mine was wanting a treat!