06.04.16 I rode an elephant

IMG_3240Hello!! So the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory; today I had the opportunity to go to a place where elephants were rescued and eventually ride and elephant. It’s kind of funny to think these elephants were rescued from circuses and basically brought to another strange kind of circus. Regardless, I had an absolutely amazing time today and am still baffled I had the gift of being able to ride and spend time with one of these beautiful creatures.

Before I being about the elephants, I’m just going to write about a couple of funny things from last night.

So yesterday we were fortunate enough to be able to visit our friend who is staying at a homestay, where his host family was kind enough to cook us dinner. We had a super tasty chili dip, coconut soup, and salad. It was really cool being able to sit down and chat with a couple of Chiang Mai locals. We were able to learn from them and they were able to learn a bit from us. The most important thing I noticed is that even though there was a bit of a language barrier, laughter and a smile is just as powerful as a form of communication. Sharing a laugh together creates a different kind of person-to-person connection, and in my opinion, almost shows more of an understanding for one another. This isn’t the first time I have noticed this, I have seen it a lot here, which is super awesome!

The funny story of the night is that while we were walking there, all the sudden I look and see this white thing about 7 inches long running toward my on the ground. By the time it took for it to climb onto my foot, I realized it was a big lizard. Once it was on my foot I basically ended up screaming bloody murder and kicked it somewhere far away. The best part is it just so happened we were basically right outside the house where our friend’s homestay was. One of their questions for us was what happened outside and after I finished explaining what had happened, they thought it was hilarious.

So on to the elephants.

IMG_3285We were picked up from our hotel at 8:30 and then drove about 45 minutes into the countryside where the farm was. As soon as you arrive you see the elephants, which had me super excited. All I wanted to do the whole time was just love them. After changing into the uniform, we were given a basket of sugar cane and bananas to feed them. Having the elephant grab the food out of my hand was super cool. After, if we wanted the elephant would basically give a kiss on your face with its trunk. I had never thought being covered in elephant slobber would make me so happy. Clearly it doesn’t take too much.

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We were then brought over to a place where we learned the basic elephant commands and then each of us took a turn riding the elephant. To get on, the elephant lies down and then you just kind of hop up and swing yourself up and over. We rode the elephants bareback so we were sitting right around where the neck and shoulder blades where so we could have control over the elephant and good balance. The most difficult part is when the elephant stands up because there is not way to really be able to tell how shaky they are going to be so you really have to focus at first.IMG_3394

When the elephant walks, because of where you are sitting, you can feel yourself sort of shifting left and right as it moves its legs which kind of gives you an unintentional core workout.

After our test ride, we were provided pad-thai and coconut soup for lunch, which was good!

After, we had about 30 minutes to relax before we went on our 30-minute ride and then got to bathe the elephants.

IMG_3563The path we took on our walk was super beautiful!! Seeing the jungle kind of around us was really pretty, and seeing it from on top an elephant was even better. What a unique experience.

My favorite part was when we got to take them in the water. In fact, it was so much fun I didn’t even think about the fact that there could be all sorts of critters in the water with me, which completely freaks me out. When in the water the elephant would spray water onto its back or even us.IMG_3587

After our day was over I was blissed out and ended falling asleep peacefully in the ride home. As I sit here writing, my appetite is growing and I am excited to try something new for dinner!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy the weekend!

Hannah

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