Today was the start of our 3 day elephant experience at elephantstay. So for 3 days we get to look after – ride, scrub, wash, feed, walk etc. our own elephant (we’re sharing one which works out well as one can take photos while the other is riding etc. It’s by far the coolest thing we’ve done. If you’re after more info check out their website:
Ater we get our briefing and our Elephant Stay shirt, we are assigned Dok Mak. She’s 70 yrs old, blind in one eye and very big. First job of the day (10am) is to clean the night spot. So armed with rakes and brooms we clean up where the elephants sleep.
About 11 is the morning ride. I take the morning shift. We ride the elephants down to the river, no seat..just on their neck, take them for a swim and back. I’m a bit nervous as it a big animal and it’s a long way to fall. When riding the elephant you sit what feels like a really long way forward. Just behind her ears but not too far back or you end up on her shoulders.
We learn how to “steer” our elephant…kicking behind the ears to make go forward, kick behind opposite ear to where you want to turn, and dig heels into neck to stop. So it’s off to the river..and i’m so tense it’s not funny. We get her into the river and she walks out a bit and does some dips under the water, wades around a bit and we go back…feel much more relaxed on the way back..then give her some food.
2pm is scrubbing time. We armed with scrubbing brushes we clean 2 elephants today. Gotta be a bit careful…if you get to into it you take off the skin on your knuckles (just ask John). Get completely soaked…which is good when it’s so hot.
4pm is 2nd riding session…so John’s turn and he feels just as awkward on the big elephant. After this session we put her back in the night spot and grab her some food for the night.
Then it’s shower time..and boy does it feel good after being wet most of the day..clothes are covered in mud, pineapple plant bits, and elephant dung.
After dinner..very tired so crash in our cute, thatched bungalos..which even have aircon for a nights sleep.