by sam on 30th November 2014 12 comments
Waiting room at elephant world
Today we went to Elephant world, which despite the slightly naff name, was the most spectacular place! The foundation was set up as a home for retired, diasabled or rescued elephants that needed somewhere to go, but had no one want them anymore.
They have 15 elephants there, one new one arrived 2 weeks ago, 2 males and 13 females. Some are blind, some cannnot walk very well and some would have gotten their free bus pass, Zimmer frame and pension years ago had they been humans. Each elephant has it's own Mahout (handler) that works with it 7 days a week!
Finally confident :-))
We decided to go here, rather than to a more touristy/commercial elephant riding place that we could have gone to as part of yesterday's trip, as we loved the fact that we could spend lots of time with the elephants, just roaming free to get Liss in particular used to them, so she could get something out if it too.
It worked well, she was happy to handle, feed and groom them by halfway through the day, but if we'd just had a half hour riding slot on, in a rickety chair on the backs in the forest, she would have freaked straight away for sure, which also would have meant one of us had to miss out.
So we arrived at 9.30 after being picked up from our guesthouse in another classic example of Thai safe transport... A songathew...a pick up truck with benches sideways in the back... It had great air conditioning!
There were about 30 people in total there either for one or two days and we were split into groups to be put to work. We had to load up the food, then got allocated an elephant to feed breakfast to...about 5 whole bananas per mouthful! Our first elephant was a lovely old girl called Lam Duan, who is completely blind, meaning can't see to use her trunk to pick up the food so, you had to put it right onto her tongue. Freya and Adam took a little persuading to try this, Liss point blank refused, though she was feeling a bit headachey/sick this morning- a sachet if diarolyte to rehydrate after yesterday's jungle trekking sorted her out well by lunchtime tho :- )
Cooking the sticky rice
After this we got to prepare and cook sticky rice for the oldest elephants, who lose their teeth at 60 years of age so, can no longer manage whole fruits and veg, and often come to Elephant world malnourished. The rice balls are packed with veg and vitamin powders and can be filled with meds if needed too. We got to finish the prep and feed them to the elephants a few hours later...having been cooked on a roaring fire it took a good few hours to cool down enough to handle!
Lunch was a communal thai buffet, and our first cup of tea since Thursday!!! Then the afternoon was back to work, unloading the supplies that had arrived into the food store, washing the UK/US banned pesticides off the veg with some weird purple stuff and then preparing the individual baskets of food for the elephants tea, each one has their own diet plan on the wall! And eventually it was time.....
...To get in the river with the elephants! They had already had a swim the river and a mud bath earlier, but we were all desperate to get in the water in the heat and dust. It was AMAZING!!! The elephants were so interactive and loved us cleaning, brushing and splashing them while they stood, sat and rolled and joined back in with it all, hosing up water into their trunks and spraying it and trumpeting loudly at times! No one wanted to get out of the water!
Our final evening in Kanchanaburi was early dinner on the riverside (430 baht total tonight, about £8) passed by a barge full of orange-robed monks and then a karaoke barge full drunken oiks, with time for a bit of homework, trip style, and one last pre-bedtime swim. Have just loved this place :-)
Looks great fun guys - loving the blog!!
You all look like you are have an amazing time . Love reading the blog , love to u all xxx
Elephants look amazing!! Glad your finding the time to blog! Look forward to the next one. Xx
Fab blog! Am loving reading about all our adventures together and glad everything working out so well for you all. Take care and stay safe and look forward to the next instalment! Xx
Thanks guys, yes loving it so far! Blogs are nice way to sort through pics on memory cards every day (and skip a bit of bedtime/shower battles with kids if I'm lucky ....something's never change no matter where you are ;-) ) xx
Love the elephants. Am relaying this blog to Beryl & Brian Have a great time.looking forward to the next instalment XX
Loved the Heffalumps! Sweet. You'll remember them for yonks.
Wowzers, looks amazing! life long memories for you all being created daily! Blog is aceskillbrill! Be safe. Happy days.x
It looks like you are having an amazing time. We all look forward to reading the blogs every night and looking at the fab photos.xx
The water with the elephants looked really refreshing. Love the transport too. xxx
Just catching up on your last few days, looks amazing!! I love the elephant experience, what great memories you guys are making!! Xx
Top of my bucket list, sounds incredible x