“Ready?” one of the men asked. I nodded shyly. “Okay then!” He said a strange word in Thai, and the great, gentle beast knelt down. Apparently, Asian elephants (the ones we were with) are smarter than African elephants, even though Asian are smaller. They have 5 toes, smaller ears and two bumps on the head, instead of the African, who have 4 toes, bigger ears and just one bump on the head.
I came up to the elephant, held onto the loose rope hanging round its neck, put one foot onto the knee, and swung myself onto the front part of the back. I started swinging myself onto him, and he stood up immediately.
I gasped at the height. Yes, I was used to horse riding at that height, but this was at least twice the height! I wasn’t scared in the slightest, but I was thrilled at the experience.
When the others had climbed on, we set off through the green jungle full of soft, winding, sandy tracks, and emerald canopies. There were also various screeches, squawks, and sounds of the wildlife.
At first, it was very uncomfortable because of the elephant’s motion with rising shoulders and the fact that its hairs on its body were short and quite spikey, but I soon learned to move and adjust myself to the motion and pulled down my blue trousers down as low as possible to avoid irritation. We were all given blue clothing to wear because that was a colour that the elephants recognised as friendly. I also found out that they can't see the colour yellow!
I peered inside my pocket to look at the bananas and sugar canes that the men working with the elephants gave us. I’d forgotten about them.
As if on cue, my elephant raised his trunk, his warm breath blowing in my face, expecting something. I held out a banana, taking care not to give him my hand, and he gladly took it. I laughed as reached up for more.
We were plodding along, down a hill and towards the lake, when I heard this strange slurping sound from underneath. I looked to my left, and saw my friend on her elephant trying hard not to laugh. I frowned. I mouthed to her What? But she just waved it away, as if saying doesn’t matter.
Then, when the sucking sound had stopped, I waited a few moments, then whoosh! My elephant’s trunk lifted up to face me, and, before I knew it, mud spurted onto my body!
Everyone suddenly burst into laughter around; my parents, my sister, my friends, and my friends’ families! I sat there, frozen, with a shocked expression plastered onto my face (much like the mud), but then I gave in, and started laughing along with the others, mud dripping off my nose and sticking to my chest. Still laughing, I patted the elephants head, praising him.
Soon enough, we came to the lake. We slid off their backs and ran into the cold lake, washing all of the mud off myself.
The elephants joined us after a few minutes. Some weren’t as playful, but my elephant was the best. He spurted water at everyone through his trunk, and everyone took it in turns to get kissed on the cheek with his trunk, each time it making a comical noise, like an over-exaggerated kiss.
This experience was the best! A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!