…and we delivered!
We actually realized our promise really early on in our trip. On our first full day, we found out that our hotel had several elephants that just walked around the grounds, you know whatever, because 2 ton animals walking around is no big thang. (It was seriously such a cool hotel!) You could feed it or sit on it and take picture for a fee.
You can tell that this is our first day because Isla is still wearing a bikini and not a rash guard. My little girlie is so fair, after 2 hours her first day with SPF 50 sunscreen she was lobster red!
And then, not only that, but the hotel had a little baby elephant that would go out to the beach every day at 11 and swim in the ocean and the kids were allowed to swim with it!
Observe Isla and her dad “swimming” with the baby elephant and Isla getting the sweetest kiss for their troubles!
And in case you didn’t want to watch the video, I have a little screen shot of the elephant’s lovin’.
Awwww! Also by now you can tell that Nick and Isla were burned to teeny tiny toasty crisps as Nick had resorted to buying a rash guard for himself also. (Thanks to my swarthy mother and grandmother’s line, I don’t usually have too much trouble with sun burns).
We could have left it at that. We promised Isla that she would get to see elephants and she did! However, we felt like no trip to Thailand would be complete without an elephant trek through the jungle! So we arranged a little afternoon trip through the concierge to go somewhere else on the island to ride and see an elephant show.
The afternoon started with an introductory show about elephants and also a quick tutorial in the Thai language. You can tell that we are becoming super jaded travelers in that we have stopped bothering to learn even the basic “hello” “good bye” and “thank you” in the language of the countries we visit. Either that or we are just Americans. We don’t need to learn no stinkin’ foreign language .
After the show, we paid extra for a basket so that we could feed the animals. Isla liked being close to the action, although she did not actually want to feed them herself.
After that we got to get onto our elephants for our jungle trek. Oh. my. gosh. I do not like being on any unstable moving object, I will just tell you that right now. I always thought that it would be cool to be one of those harem girls that got to ride on top of an elephant in a tent, but those things ROCK and I don’t mean in the Guns N Roses awesome kind of way. I didn’t feel stable on top of our elephant at all. And Isla could have so easily slipped through the bar of our little “seat”. I spent the whole time clutching Isla, our bag or harping at Nick to make sure he had a good hold on Isla. I actually did end up dropping our bag at one point, it was very easy to slip off!
But the views… WOW. Well worth it.
Here we are with our elephant driver or “Oleg” (the name of our driver in Russia) as Isla called him. The elephant drivers were all Karen people from Myanmar (Burma). I learned about the Karen people in 2007, when Nick and I took the Perspectives class, and I have such a soft spot for their people group. Most of the them are Christian, and they have an amazing conversion story if you ever want to look it up. Unfortunately they have been heavily persecuted in their home country and many have left or been driven out. It was so amazing to meet one of them face to face. He was very sweet.
We also got to see the head of the Big Buddha on our trip. Normally Nick and I try to see everything when we are somewhere no matter how uninteresting it is because we reason… when will be ever be back? We debated going to see the Big Buddha because truthfully, we didn’t care to see it and decided we would rather hang out at the pool or the beach. In spite of this, I definitely felt my conscience prickle a little bit when we decided not to go so I am glad that we got to see it in person, albeit from a distance, on our elephant trek without paying extra and making the hour long drive out to see it.
After our journey we got the chance (for a fee) to feed “our” elephant. Isla got a little bit more in on the action this time, but she still never wanted to actually be the one to hand the food to the elephant.
So there you have it! Our elephant memories from Thailand, and most probably the source of the Thailand picture that will go on our Christmas card. We have so much fun and we bought a picture from the tour group that put the elephant trek on. Isla is so proud of those pictures and wants to show them to everyone who comes through our door or that she Facetimes with or that she talks to on the phone (she has yet to figure out that the people on the other end can’t see it). Fun times with my precious family .