Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Doo wah diddies

Lunch was a traditional Thai picnic, with food wrapped in and served on banana leaves, in a bamboo hut down by the river. Quite beautiful, and very unique. A chance to talk and relax for a bit before getting back into it.
The main activity for the afternoon was to take our elephants for a " walk". Translate that as climb on, let them walk, and concentrate on balancing on not falling off. The motion of an elephant moving is quite unlike anything I have yet experienced. Add height into the equation and you will begin to see just how challenging this was. It took a little doing to get the hang of balancing along with the elephant, but on the whole it is a great experience. We went up the hill then once everyone was together, crossed the road. Yes, across both lanes, and gently stepped over the guardrail, then headed up the hill and into the rainforest. The trail through the rainforest was beautiful and provided a unique view of Chiang Mai.
The only sound was our elephants breathing, squeaking from the enjoyment of being out and our mahouts checking "you ok?" from time to time. The terrain went from steep on the uphill, to incredibly steep on the downhill.
So steep I doubt I could have walked the route without sliding down on my bottom. The elephants found it hard going, as did we as we tried to stay glued on. Ultimately I left it all to Boon Pat, trusting he knew what to do. As for the mahouts, they did it in thongs, Crocs and slip on plastic shoes. Amazing! As we came out of the rainforest we stepped over the guardrail again, this time staying on the asphalt as we walked along the road. By this time I was grinning with joy, and inspired by the continual "D D Boon Pat" started up my own version of Manfred Mann's "Do wah diddy diddy" complete with elephant appropriate lyrics and lots of "D" "D"s.
Two hundred metres later we turned off the road and into the home paddock, but not before we were passed by a motor-scooter driven by a man whose dog was perched in front of him, hind legs on the base board, front paws on the handlebars. Chiang Mai certainly is an amazing place. 28.1.2013

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