The Elephants of Luang Prabang
25 June 2012
An elephant is big. We all know that. Some of us are familair with Dumbo, our childhood animated character. They have big ears for sure that looks more like a fan. My friend and I decided to take an elephant ride in Luang Prabang and at the same time bathe them. How the hell do you bathe an elephant?
It was almost a 45 minutes road trip outside the main town of Luang Prabang. When we got to the camp site, I saw 3 elephants. There were 3 other guys from Canada and a girl from China joining this elephant trip. I figured that my friend and I will ride one of the 3 elephants. I have never been that close to an elephant that it took a while for me to get comfortable. It was nerve racking just to touch her. What more if you ride her?
Was trying to smile
The time to ride was up and it was 5x more nerve racking. I was not sure where to step. There you are on top of an animal bigger than you and she can’t tell you if you are hurting her. What a freaking feeling. My friend kept on reminding me that they are strong enough to carry us. So there goes…ride her. The skin was really thick, good for social climbing hahaha.
The Canadian boys and girl from China
It was a bumpy ride and there were these big mosquito-looking flies who kept on biting her back and ears. No wonder she keep on flipping her nose at them. I took the liberty to grab a branch and was basically fanning her back. It was funny because as we trek the road she kept on stopping and grabbing plants to eat.
After the ride, it was time to bathe. Now here is the problem, bathing is done in Mekong river where the water was like brown. Yes brown. It was a mistake to wear anything white. The guide was making it very easy to play around with the elephant. He seemed to know the language because the elephant was basically doing whatever he was saying. He asks her to stand and she follows.
Look how cute she walks
The water was freaking cold!!!
First try was a big fail!
My friend trying to ride…major fail!
It was not really a bathing ritual but really more of play with the elephant moment. The skin was really thick, I kept on thinking and I can feel it with every physical contact. I was freaking out every time I approached. I was worried that she might go amok and she might step on me since I can’t see anything under the muddy water of Mekong. But hell, I got into the groove with her and I was just having fun. I even stood up on top of her. Overall it was an experience of a life time. After the whole process it was time to shower and found out the water I will use was the same water from the Mekong, just less darker than the one I shared with Dumbo.
Look Ma no hands!