Thai Adventures - Part Three

July 26, 2014

I've never really thought of myself as a person prone to exaggeration, but the last couple of weeks have proved how wrong I am. I seem to have exclaimed that "this is the best day ever!" at least once a day, which has become something of a running joke; last night, it was for something as simple as treating myself to my first glass of wine in three weeks. For anyone who knows me, going three weeks without my favourite drink is pretty impressive. Admittedly, we are in Thailand and the wine list was not extensive; I had a choice between a nice generic "Mont Clair White Wine" and, a small step up from that, Jacob's Creek Chardonnay. I can't remember what I went for but after drinking nothing but Chang beer and bucket cocktails it tasted like heaven.

Anyway, my point is that in the grand scheme of the holiday, the glass of wine probably not "the best day ever". The best day was, hands down, the day we spent on Monday at the elephant camp. Whilst I was looking forward to it, I was nowhere near as excited as Karis, who seemed to have only tagged along for the rest of the trip for this one day with the elephants. 

To begin with, they're pretty fucking terrifying and I was beginning to wonder what the fuss was about. For those who haven't seen an elephant up close, to say they're not exactly pretty is an understatement; they're huge, lumpy, have very hard skin and their trunks are very capable of crushing a human being. Just some initial thoughts. 

What was immediately noticeable is how nice the camp was. Many of the tourist elephants camps in Thailand chain up the elephants, and use heavy saddles and hooks and sticks to control them; a group of people we met refused to ride the elephants where they went as the conditions were so bad. Here they were  roaming around the countryside, and we rode them bareback...

Getting on was a source of hilarity, especially after we all had to try climbing up their trunks - mainly, I think, to give all the men helping us a good laugh. They also taught us Thai words in order to make the elephants move forward, left, right and so on... And then laughed at us saying it with such an English accent that the elephants did the exact opposite. 

Once we got on, the 'easy trek' proceeded to go up a sheer, mountainous, muddy hill, which only got muddier and more slippery in the monsoon rain shower. Covered in mud, we began to be very grateful for the delightful baggy trousers and rug-like top they gave us to wear.

After we were all suitably dirty, we rose the elephants into a pond and bathed them, quickly jumping off when they decided to roll over or, in our case, give us a shower from their trunks. It was quite possibly the cutest. thing. ever. No exaggeration this time.

After deciding not to to Cambodia because of a lack of time (ahem, money...) we instead went further north to Pai. Which we just loved. 

The waterfalls were incredible, and for some reason we felt it an appropriate place to copy our friend and get arty with the photos. This ones for you Amy! 

The mini Grand Canyon was pretty cool too...

... And we provided some Chinese tourists with some more risqué pictures than they perhaps would have liked... 

We also found a waterfall with a natural slide. After some involuntary slipping, we decided to give it a go anyway... 

Pai is a really cute place with so many lovely bars for the evening. We already loved this Western themed restaurant when, in an odd turn of events, we were suddenly given cowboy hats and made to do a barn dance, in the middle of the restaurant, with the staff. Much hilarity. 

Can't believe we only have one week of our adventure left! Much cry. Very sad. 

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