Aka The Day I Lost My Mind
On our way to Chiang Mai we decided to get off the train early in a city called Lampang in order to check out the Elephant Conservation Centre located right outside the city. There are many places that you can see/ride elephants in Thailand but Lonely Planet suggests that many of them are not great situations for the elephants so we didn’t want to support them. This particular centre is supposed to be good though, so we figured we’d check it out.
We arrived via night train at about 10 am and as soon as we got to the hotel I got hit with some serious stomach pains and spent a good chunk of time running back and forth between fetal position on the bed and the toilet. But since we’d only planned on one day in the city, I rallied and we made it out to the centre for the last show of the day.
I really wasn’t expecting to get all that excited about the elephants, but boy was I wrong. Basically as soon as I saw an elephant I lost it. Went crazy! I was so freaking excited! I don’t really have a good explanation for why, so I figure that I was an elephant in a past life and this was me being reunited with my long lost sisters and brothers. Why else would I turn into a five year old who was just told that I could eat all the candy in the world?
It started with the Mahout’s (elephant trainers) bringing the elephants out to a pond to wash them. They were all playful, spraying each other and splashing. I think it was really all for our benefit, and realistically I wasn’t complaining. I was too busy weeping for joy and giggling my brains out.
Next they started walking over to the place where they give the show. Naturally there was someone selling bananas to feed them so obviously we bought some so that we could join the fun. They were hilarious using their trunks to grab the food and shove it into their mouths. Nom nom nom, they kept shoving it in (all the people were feeding them) until it was actually falling out. What big pigs! (I mean elephants?!)
The show was awesome, although I would have been happy just gazing at them adoringly for hours and hours. They demonstrated some skills that they used to use when they were apart of the Thailand logging industry and also did cool tricks like tossing balls into buckets (say whaaaaaa!). Then as the finale…they painted!!! And it was better than I could have painted (although admittedly that’s not saying much). So cool.
They all came up to the fence to say goodbye, which of course suckered us into buying more bananas to give to them (“No Keith, don’t get the sugar cane, there are more bananas so I can hang out with them longer!”).
We stopped at the little shop and bought postcards (luckily resisting buying the entire store’s worth of novelty items) and then went over to sign up for a ride. How could we not! Although I would have rather ridden bare back like the Mahout, we sat in a saddle thing. We went through the pond (where the elephant took a giant, bubbly dump) and then down a trail to see some babies. I was still going crazy and couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face.
At the end of the ride we were offered the chance to buy a picture that they had taken of us on the elephant that they’d nicely put in a lovely little frame. DUH, we bought it. Again, how could we not!
We are lucky that we didn’t come home from the centre totally broke, as I was enthralled and wanted to buy everything. I think that Keith spent more time watching me then watching the elephants, I was going that crazy. Really the only appropriate adjective is giddy…I was giddy the whole time we were there!
Santa, if you’re reading this, I’d like an elephant for Christmas.
They are so playful, and cheeky!
Oh, and if that’s not enough to convince you about how awesome they are I have one word for you…TRUNKS! They can do anything with those nifty noses!
Baaaah! Elephants are the best.
[End excited rant… I mean post]