Elephant Play

After our first toss off
Originally uploaded by ehurson
Erin and I played in the river with an elephant today. We only went for about an hour but that was plenty! Although from the ground these great animals seem a little goofy and cute, there's really nothing too amusing about them when you're nearly twelve feet off the ground and riding bareback on a swaying beast.

One of the things that I didn't expect was just how prickly Asian elephants are. Being mammals they are covered in hair, but it's a very thin covering and each hair is only about a centimeter long and mostly inflexible. It was like there was giant stubble all over the elephant and it dug in to your legs pretty substantially, magnified by how tight you had to hold your legs to the elephant's sides to stay balanced.

Our ride essentially took us from the elephant camp to the river, about 1km away, where we played around for a while. Once we got to the river and the elephant trainer/guide asked for all our valuable possessions we realized that we wouldn't exactly be fording the river with the elephant under us but rather swimming with her.

Getting tossed around by Jasmine, as Erin decided to call her, was a pretty big barrel of laughs. We'd get on, the trainer would give the command to shake us off, after which we'd get unceremoniously tossed to the bottom of the river. And then we'd repeat the whole ordeal. I picked up on what was going on pretty quickly, but played the fool and kept getting back on because it was just so darn fun! It was definitely worth doing, just not for too long.

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