Chiang Mai Trekking: Day 3 (Spoiler Alert… ELEPHANTS!)

So if you’ve stuck with me you know we spent the night of our second day trekking at an elephant camp along the Mae Tang river. Our morning was almost instantly blessed with appearances by the darling beasts (Ryan: “I think elephants are the only animals that can be so big and still be considered ‘cute.'” Me: “AMEN!” [I’m not sure that’s exactly how the exchange went but if it didn’t it should have.]). Sorry, I cut myself short– appearances by the darling beasts as they went for their morning baths. In a river. It really doesn’t get more heartwarming, in spite of the fact that some of them were in chains. You could tell that those mahouts felt nothing but compassion for their companions. A chain is just an elephant-sized leash with an unfortunate connotation, I suppose.

hey, look at that barefoot dude on the potentially adorable rock!

surprise!

thirsty boo

haha! don’t know how, after all these years, this scene from a ‘winnie the pooh’ movie popped into my head, but what a wonderful blast from the past! see 0:55 for the specific part.

so zen.

just strollin’ past the breakfast area (another boiled egg and toast, if you were wondering)

hahaha… i love this one, he looks so happy.

so big elephants still qualify as cute but babies?? no words.

posin’

yessssss

and then we got to ride them. we named ours ‘bo’ (or ‘beau,’ if you want to be artsy and clever), which then became ‘dumbo jangles.’ WE LOVE YOU BEAU!

aaand, another of the bb

fun times getting up the hill (it didn’t help that ol’ beau, number 2 in line, wasn’t exactly the quickest guy)

way to go, beau. you really did it.

there’s a famous picture of the king similar to this…

source: http://www.thai-eyes.com/religion-superstition/the-mysterious-white-elephant-thailand/ (a moderately interesting read about white elephants– i’ve just learned that good ol’ king bhumibol has 11!– if you’re into that kind of thing)

gimmeeeeeee

happiest moment of my life?

The fun didn’t stop with elephants, however. We all piled into a white-water raft (well, 2 between the 10 of us) and braved the rapids of the Mae Tang until reaching a bamboo raft (a real bamboo raft, not like those PVC-pipe-posing-[unconvincingly]-as-bamboo-rafts in Guilin. Because, you know, China has a bit of a bamboo shortage going on.), which carried us onto our lunch locale.

it’s interesting to me that in this candid i JUST so happen to be making a fish face… is this something i just… do? at random? for no particular reason?

better group shot:)

oh hey there, sak. couldn’t help noticing you there, strummin’ on that there ukulele. you wouldn’t happen to… think it’s cool, would you? like it, just a little bit?

well you’re in luck! my brother happens to be one of those really stand-up, generous guys you hear about on occasion, and he’d happily like to bequeath this small stringed instrument upon you. ‘jing jing?!?!’ jing, sak. jing.

But the fun didn’t stop there!

In spite of a bit of post-trek exhaustion, and in spite of having been finally put on antibiotics after it became clear that my skin infection was not responding appropriately to generic creams and iodine, Ryan and I set out to link up for a final hurrah with our new friends at one of the Zoe in Yellow locations (there are about 3 that share a common courtyard).

with mairead and rose

rolf, leah, ryan, rose, mairead, rachel, yours truly

 

 

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