Tag Archives: Chores

Walk On The Wild Side

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After our regular morning chores we had a couple of shorter walks with the elephants. The first, before lunch, was through the forest. There’s always a trade-off. This was bugs for shade. It’s amazing to watch the elephants eat bamboo (one of their favorites). They wrap their trunk around a stem of the bamboo and pull, but with just enough strength to strip the leaves off and leave the thick branches. It’s incredible what they can do with their trunk! It’s like an arm and hand, no bones, very muscular and flexible. The manipulation is fascinating.

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The second and slightly longer walk was after lunch. We spent more time on the road. Imagine seeing that come down the highway at home! It was HOT, so we were all glad to have this end in another swim to bathe the elephants.

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There’s a lot of elephant butts in my photos. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s a reason for that. You would much rather be behind them than in front of them if there’s someplace they want to go. We get phenomenally close to these elephants, but that does not mean they are ‘safe’ from being an elephant. You must constantly be aware of your surroundings and on the walks especially. For such a large animal they are very quiet coming up behind you. It’s a bit of a shock to look over your shoulder when you sense someone is trying to pass you and what you see is a blurry glimpse of a trunk and ear as they try to catch up with their friends.

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All In A Days Work

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First day of manual labor. Just that sentence alone makes it sound horrible. It’s really not. My job this morning was to clear the older dried grass out of one of the elephant areas. It gets loaded into the truck and brought to a place where they grow more grass and the dried grass is used as a mulch. That was the morning labor. Easy enough. The elephants needed to be fed, so it was cucumbers for them. 20120410-212046.jpg

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We explored the area a bit and were shown the ‘poo paper plant’. They actually turn elephant poo into amazing high quality artisan paper. Pretty impressive. Look for it in your local high end stationary stores.
The elephant cemetery was nearby. Within minutes of an elephant dying a monk is notified to bless and pray over the body. I have to keep reminding myself that despite the treatment some domesticated elephants get, they are a highly revered icon in Thai culture. It’s difficult to reconcile.
From here we walked the elephants to the water hole. It’s amazing to watch them play and relax in the water. This is one if the opportunities they get to be off the chain. You can see the joy they get from being in the water. They frolic, dive, roll around. It’s hilarious to watch. When the mahout calls for them to come out they seem to act like children that refuse to come out of the pool. Five more minutes, Mom! Please!!

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