My elders may recall a time when I was deeply concerned about elephants under my bed and in my closet. I’m still not entirely certain of the exact cause of my baseless fear, but it probably involved a children’s book entitled “But No Elephants” and a particularly harrowing visit to the circus when I was three. Yep, elephants. Still not my favorite. Still not sure why I decided to hang out with a whole slew of them for a day.
Our tour was recommended by the host at our hostel because the groups had less people and, she assured us, the elephants were never ridden. We were retrieved by a van first thing in the morning and shlepped two hours out to the farm. On the way, we saw the aftermath of a car accident involving one truck full of tourists and one truck full of locals, mostly children. One foreign man in particular stood and caressed his neck, gingerly moving it around while a group of kids looked on, leaning against the guardrail.
When we arrived, the first order of business was lunch for our three new, giant friends. Feeding elephants is fun. I highly recommend. I do not recommend giving them a bath, mud or otherwise. Unfortunately, I know this because of first hand experience. After changing into swimsuits, we were instructed by the farm caretakers to get into a mucky pool and splash muddy water on the elephants and, I suppose, each other. I decided to wait until afterwards to contemplate the amount of elephant sewage in said pool. After everyone and everything was thoroughly covered, we took them to the river to wash them off, which was yet another unsanitary experience. Don’t bathe elephants. Feed them, yes, wash them, no.
We returned to the hostel at around 6 pm and after thoroughly srubbing every inch of our bodies with anti-bacterial soap, we headed to the northwest side of town. My discomfort in the heat has lately been heightened by my seriously shaggy hairdo and I found a shop with decent reviews and reasonable prices. It was an Aveda Spa run by fashionista far more chic than my scruffy, flip-flop-wearing, sun-kissed self. The haircut was at least an improvement.
Zooming down narrow street along the old wall in a brightly lit tuk tuk in the cool of the evening, I finally felt like we were getting into the groove of Northern Thailand.