Sunday, August 14, 2005

Thailand Pictures - Second Full Day

Day two dawned rainy, but it sounded a lot rainier than it really was. I guess that was because there was just so much leafy stuff for the rain to hit.

Lek fixed me a very yummy scrambled-eggs-and-toast breakfast and we set off up the mountain. Lek was hung over from the election party the night before, so I got a chuckle out of how Granny was outhiking the guide.

We had to wait a while at the elephant camp, but I had a good time there.



The Thai play a game -- I can't remember the name -- that's like a cross between volleyball and hacky-sak. Imagine hands-off volleyball with a lower net. A few of the tourists decided to give it a try while they were waiting for their elephants. They were pretty bad at first, but they got the hang of it after a while and had fun. It was fun to watch them.



It was also fun to watch the elephant who moseyed over into their neighborhood. Here he is with his home-made flyswatter.



I also fed some corn cobs to the elephant. He wasn't happy with the second corn cob. I'd taken it away from some chickens and they'd dragged it in the dirt. I guess the elephant wanted a cleaner-fresher corn cob. He was not happy with me. He seemed a lot closer to me when I was there than he looks in this picture.



We set off down the river. I was alone on my elephant, and she was first in line when we set off. Yikes! She was an Elephant with Attitude! She'd meander off to munch on something tasty and the guide would yell at her and she'd ignore him. At one point he hopped down off his elephant and came charging toward my elephant, brandishing a machete and shouting. "Is he threatening my elephant with a machete!?" No. He was just hacking off some snacks for her to get her moving.



My elephant had a baby who toddled along with us. He did a lot of swimming. At first we fretted about him, but then we noticed he was playing in the water and seemed to be having a lot of fun.



He also frequently stuck his head into the other elephants' butts, and sometimes gave them a little nip in the backside.



He also stopped sometimes for a snack. Isn't he cute?



Lek went by on a raft. This was a preview of what we'd be doing later!

We had a great lunch at the second elephant camp. Lek made me some fried rice. Yum! And more pineapple. Enough with the pineapple, Lek! I bought a bag and a belt from the two quiantly-dressed Hill Tribe women who were hawking goods. I didn't get any pictures of them because at the time they weren't quaint native women. They were very annoying salespeople interrupting my lunch.

Then we set off on the rafts. We were standing up to our ankles in the water. When we looked around, the other rafters looked like people just standing in a row and floating down the river. Our stuff was double-bagged and hung from tripods on the rafts. And down we went.

I went overboard in the first rapids. Then we ran aground and had to fight to get it loose. We ran aground a second time in a rougher rapids, and as we were struggling to get it loose another raft came bearing down on us. "Off! Off! Off!" We scrambled off the raft and watched the other raft go under ours. Their tourists ran across our raft to stay on theirs, except for one guy who ended up with us. The guides chased us ashore and we rushed along among the rocks and rough foliage as the guides freed our damaged raft and rode it the rest of the way through the rapids. "Our stuff! Our stuff!" Our money, passports, and cameras were on that raft! Yikes!

But the guides got it to a calm spot okay and we all waited while they patched up the raft. We made it to the next village, where Lek and I got off for the night.



This village looked like Mom's living room exploded! Beautiful plants all over the place.



I had a nice cozy room. This one had electricity and glass windows. It was a chilly night so I closed the windows. Very pleasant!

I had another great dinner and chilled out for an evening. It was a very nice mix of adventure and rest.

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