Elephant ride and monkeys

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September 27th 2012
Published: September 27th 2012
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After we saw the tigers, it was time to get up close and personal with another of Thailand's ffamous animals - elephants. Thailand has indian elephants whcih are a little smaller than their african cousins, but what they lack in size (and eyesight) they make up for in intelligence. Indian elephants are incredibly smart and can be trained to keep tourists coming back 😊

We took a short car journey to a village on the river kwai. The river is actually formed from two tributaries that join near the bridge. The kwai noi (meaning small tributary) and the kwai yai (big tributary). The village was located on the kwai noi, the smaller one.

When we got there we changed into our swimwear, and headed to meet the mahout (elephant trainer) and his elephant.

Our first task was to feed the elephant in order to keep it happy 😊 You don't want an animal that weighs multiple tons throwing a hissy fit! In feeding the elephant mini bananas, we were told to stick our hand right in her mouth. Her tongue was huge and slimy. There were no discernible teeth, and she could take the bananas right out of our hands without either injuring us, or making us lose grip on the bananas.

Once we had fed the elephant and taken some pictures, it was time to head down to the river. We walked along holding the elephant's ears, and proceeded down the hill, hoping not to get squashed by a giant leg. At this point tahnee was in agony as she'd accidently sprayed herself in the eye with tropical strength insect repellant!

When we reached the water we headed in tentatively. It was a little nippy, but nothing compared to the north sea! The biggest problem was even though this was the small tributary of the kwai, the water was VERY fast. if you lost your footing, you were over on your arse before you realised it. It wasn't very deep, but it certainly wasn't easy to stand up.

We got onto the elephants bath, where the mahout took great pleasure in getting the elephant to spray us with water. It made for a good photo opp though! It was then time for hte elephant to try and shake us off - like a rodeo bull, but with elephants. and fast water. This was much harder than it looks. I managed to stay on the 4Projects sports day bull for 43 seconds, but on the elephant...about 2-3 twists. No more than 10secs. Part of the problem was the bloody elephant liked dunking us in the water and holding us under in the fast moving water. The bitch! 😊 Apparently the longest anyone lasted was a boxer who came to thailand to learn thai boxing. He managed to stay on for 20 twists before the elephant gave up. with my former rower's legs, I had given myself a conservative estimate of 6 twists. Ha. Never mind. Must get stronger!

After that it was time to get our own back on the elephant in a water fight...guess who won that one...

Once we were done getting put to shame by an elephant (and the photos prove we could both do with losing a bit of weight, and toning up!) it was time to ride the elephant back up to the village, and say bye. Certainly an experience to remember!

Next on the list was a trip to another buddhist temple. This time a relatively poor temple in a fairly remote village...but one that was situated on a hillside full of monkeys. Our tour guide had picked up some long bean like food for the monkeys, and it was up to us to make sure the little ones didn't go hungry at the expense of the big ones.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, and just observe at how funny the monkeys were. they would run up, grab some beans, then run off. If they were too slow, a bigger monkey would run in and grab the food from them. It was a very harsh reality, but interesting to watch.

Whenever a monkey came up close, I couldn't help but reflect back on the movie Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman, where a guy contracts an Ebola like disease from getting bit while feeding a monkey, and it's up to Dustin to find a cure. If I get flu like symptoms and start bleeding out my bum in a weeks time, you know to blame the monkeys...

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