Thursday, February 23, 2012

Howdah you do?

We have had THE MOST AWESOME MORNING! Up early to go ride an elephant. We went half an hour up into the hills to the elephants' base station. After my two previous experiences with elephants I was more than a smidgeon wary but here they had proper wooden howdahs with a safety bar in front. All was well I thought but it turned out that we had got the disobedient one of the troupe. She did settle down though. We lumbered through the undergrowth as one of a group of 6 elephants. After about 15 minutes we were given the chance to actually ride the elephant bareback and "drive" it. I was way too much of a woose but John was up for it. He rode it for the last 45 mins back to the base station. Going on the flat was easy but there wasn't much of that. On the other hand gradients were more than a little hairy. Would our insurance cover us if John fell off? No time to consult policy. He was like a wee boy in a sweetie shop. The elephant hide was quite coarse and John was anxious that he would get a rash from the chafing - a clear case of pachyderm-atitis!

When we got back to the base station we were invited to give our elephants some sugar cane as a treat. By that time my fear had gone. Hong Khun is a real gentle giant.

I know the elephants are tame and this is done several times a day by loads of people but for John and I it was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. It really felt as if we were thrashing through the undergrowth in the wilds. The scenery was spectacular. I took loads of video. I think we'll put it all on one dvd so that we can relive it again and again.

Lunch time was spent reflecting on our morning. After lunch we bit the bullet and bought a steamer trunk! Don't think it's quite as cavernous as Donnie and Cath's but it was bought with our next adventure in mind. We now have matruschka luggage. The stripy holdall is flat inside a new medium sized holdall which is inside the steamer trunk! We haven't actually bought that much but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

To cap a truly wonderful day we both went for a massage. It surely will be down to earth with a bump when we get home. Now we're having a drink and contemplating where to have dinner. Decisions. Decisions. Life is so tough!


  1. That does sound incredible. If you have a yearning to see more wildlife when you get back, you can always go in a Glasgow pub after an Old Firm game!

  2. Kenny has the 'green eyed monster' syndrome he just loves heffalumps and the thought of riding on one was just to much for him, he did ask if you could bring one back but I said it would not fit in your new steamer trunk - keep trunking xx

  3. WOW!! I am very jealous... Glad you got a civilised seat this time!
    (Maybe next time you come and stay you would like to ride Harlequin?!)

  4. Pictures are fabulous,I'm surprised not to see anyone with you leading the elephant,but John looks very much at home in the driving seat.If your new luggage isn't as BIG as ours then it can't be a steamer trunk,maybe a CALMAC ferry trunk!Hope your dinner was good.

  5. Cath here. I soooooo wish I had been on the elephant with you. Not sure if I would have had the courage to drive though. It really is the holiday of a lifetime.

  6. Makes a day up in the wilds of the Hokianga look positively uninteresting (which it wasn't by the way). I know that my desire would be to follow John's example. In fact looking at it I think I'd feel safer where John's sitting.