Sunday, April 27, 2008

Exploring the Thai jungle on elephant back

“I’m from Mae Sa,” says the taxi driver, Pon, who is taking my friends and I from Chiang Mai airport to Tri Gong Residence in the city. Funny that the valley where he "grew up" is just the place we are planning to go on our first day in the Thai jungle.

We barter for a good price and inform the driver about our preferred itinerary. He looks happy and we are chuffed that we will have Pon showing us around his hometown rather than an anonymous tour guide.

After a breakfast of Pad Thai at a small organic restaurant around the corner from our guesthouse, we are ready to make the most of our two full days in Chiang Mai.

First up is elephant riding and Pon does well in finding us an elephant camp where an hour ride costs only 400 baht (about 8 euros). The more popular tourist camps charge double. My elephant has mozzy bites and stops regularly to scratch against a tree. His Thai master laughs with eyes full of love and I remember a movie I saw on my last trip to Thailand: the tragic tale of a Thai being separated from his elephant.

When our hour is up I am in awe of this giant who took me into the jungle and through a river. The animal with the big feet touches my hand lightly with its trunk. My heart goes all fuzzy wozzy.

“Goodbye, ellie”.

To top this experience is going to be very hard today.

No comments: