Sunday, December 09, 2012

Elephant Owners: Day 5

On our final full day in Thailand... we took on an adventure of all adventures... we spent the day as elephant owners. Many families here in Korea head to Chiang Mai for this adventure, and we were added to the list... I mean seriously... who doesn't love elephants? It's an entire day full of taking care of our very own elephant. Feed them, groom them, check their health (yup, you check their poop and make sure it's moist enough, not too moist, just the right amount of hydration), love on them, ride them, and bathe them.... sounds like a fantastic adventure... and it was.

It was an early morning pickup- 7:30... and we made it to the countryside by 8:30. We were dropped off at the bottom of the hill, and were told to walk up the hill, to our "campsite"... Along the road, we saw tons of passionfruit farms areas (they are set up like vineyards), and papaya trees, and the street was lined with this grass- which is the elephants favorite to eat (other than bananas)...

It wasn't a long walk, but long enough... so when this guy offered to take Charlotte up to the "farm" on his moped.... we didn't really hesitate, we just let her... especially since the girl is so fearless of these things... and people. We made our way up to the "farm" and she was already mingling with the caretakers and making herself at home. 

After our initial briefing on how to "care" for an elephant, and information about the farm... we were paired up with our elephants, and started feeding them... it was their breakfast time, and they were ready for us.

My sweet elephant's name was pronounced: Pre-Ow... they told me she was a girl, a girl who was "single and ready to mingle" (meaning she was ready for her first "honeymoon vacation" with a male elephant, to try and get pregnant)... but I was confused. I thought that only male elephants in Asia had tusks, and clearly... she had tusks. They kept saying "she", so I might need to dig into this a little more. She resembled the other elephants enough to look like an Asian elephant, and not an African elephant (who both male and females have tusks)... so for now, I leave it is a mystery... I enjoyed our one on one feeding time... boy did she eat a lot... they all did. 

Although the elephants were cute... The best view was still my husband (wink wink!) 

Even Charlotte was given her very own elephant... his name was "Pan"... super handsome little guy. 

We rode bare back for about 1.15 minutes along the countryside (and then a road) to get to a waterfall where we would get the chance to bathe our elephants and eat lunch... Such a wonderful experience... a little sore in places you don't want to be sore, but well worth it.

Our lunch was served to us on leaves... and it was delicious. Each of our rices were wrapped individually in leaves, each receiving a different assortment (some sweet, some with a bbq pork, others plain white). We were introduced to mangosteens... they were FANTASTIC... a sweet fruit that at first doesn't look delicious, but totally was. I know why the elephants love the bananas so much... they were the sweetest that I've tasted as well. 

As soon as we were full, we rode our elephants for a few minutes longer to our vans... where we sadly said our goodbyes. We thought the day was over... it was a long day already, after all... but we still had one more stop to make... to see the babies! Well, and a pregnant elephant who's due any day. The baby's name was "Tara" and she was only 4 weeks old. She still had problems "getting around" aka walking... and lets say, when she fell on you, it was a little sting... but cute nonetheless. 

Such a remarkable day (we didn't get back to our room until 5 pm)... if anyone is ever headed to Thailand... you MUST be elephant owners for the day... they become your friends for a lifetime. 
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  1. Oh my GOODNESS!!! Such an amazing experience...and I have to admit, there was a twinge of jealousy when I saw the pictures of the Mangosteen...that was my absolute FAVORITE fruit in Vietnam. It is just so sweet and delectable! It looks like such an awesome, meaningful time!

  2. Oh for CUTE!!! Such a cool day for you guys! And yes, mangosteen is SO good!!!

  3. Oh, what an adventure you had, friend!!!! My girls still talk about their experience at Patara.

  4. I thought I was jealous of your tiger experience, but I have to say your owning an elephant for a day topped it! They are such gentle, beautiful creatures, and it looks like you and your family had a wonderful day with them. The one of all three of you on the elephants is absolutely perfect!

  5. Okay, now I want tiger AND an elephant! :)