First, I re-visit some temples that I had lost pix of, due to a corrupted camera chip. And some others I didn’t get around to on my last visit. Then it’s time for my elephant training day. I set my mind on not associating elephant trunks with ugly things I am phobic off. It worries me a little, when we are taught that elephants will take it personal and think you don’t like them when you withdraw from them or their teasing trunks
. But I am determined to not let that happen. Focused on becoming best friends with those massive, majestic, heavyweights, I think I managed well :). I got over my 'trunk-fear’ and even cuddled with them. One thing I didn’t expect, is that riding an elephant bare-back (or rather bare-neck) is quite the work out. It doesn’t feel like it while you are on the animal. But I sure as hell was sore the next two days, thighs, abs and back. And elephant skin ain’t a baby’s behind, let me tell you. These friends need a proper wax job. My legs were all bruised and rashed from the rough bristles rubbing against them, and the never-stopping fanning of the ears, which I sat behind. Sadly I don’t have many good pictures to prove it, because those the tour guide took were rather useless: Low res, crappy angles, horrible framing, shot straight into the sun most of the time – a perfect example of how not to use a point-and-shoot camera. I actually carry the same camera they had, so I know it can do better than this. But I am sure you’ll believe me when I say, it was an amazing experience. :) I want a pet elephant when I get back!
A mahoud is an elephant handler and trainer. Back in December I wanted to do this Mahoud course. You can learn how to do that in Chiang Mai. I always liked elephants, so wanted to give this a go. Then I went on a day trip that included riding elephants with those throne-like seats on top. And after having a half dozen elephant trunks come at me, I realized, I don't like elephant trunks much. They freaked me out. So I decided to skip the mahoud course, because of that and a fit of laziness at the time. Of course, I later regretted it. So here I am again. Dumbo, I’m coming.