Elephant bathing, riding and getting pooped on!

Trip Start Oct 01, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
M.D. House Chiang Mai
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Patara is dedicated to rehabilitation and the reintroduction of Thai elephants. The organization is non profit ( unlike similar tours that are owned and operated by tour companies). The farm rescues abused domestic elephants, breeds and re introduces the young. They hope to help Thai lands declining elephant population ( down 50 percent in the last 40 years).

We chose to be an elephant owner for a day and were introduced to our elephants at 8am. I spent the day with "lucky", a 7 year old female that hates to get her feet dirty. Needless to say, I feel in love at first sight. We learned to approach, walk,feed,bathe and brush the elephants with all the associated Thai commands.

After her morning brushing, feeding and bath we ventured up the mountain (towards the waterfall). it was here that I discovered her aversion to mud. When given the choice, she always went off the path and a greater distance to keep her toes clean. When "clean" was not an option, she always stopped to thing and reluctantly continued. I could almost hear her sigh with disapproval.

In the end we got catch in a rain storm (and I mean RAIN!). The mountain disappeared and the sky rumbled. It was at this point that it dawned on me. " Are elephants afraid of thunder and lightning?". I then pictured a golden retriever running full speed, skidding around the corner and jumping under the bed. Could this be? judging my our guides urgency, I had a funny feeling. Apparently they love the rain, but if one starts to run, watch out. They all follow. Somewhere around here the elephant in front of me farted and sprayed liquid poop on my new purse. Poor lucky! She hates walking through mud, I can only imagine what she was thinking at that moment. Probably the same thing I was :)
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