This is the second blog post for my stay in Mondulkiri. It was a lovely morning, and we were on our way to our biggest highlight so far. We were going to meet the mighty elephants! Normally one would do this kind of trips with 10-20 others, however, our taxi driver (that we met on our first day in Mondulkiri) knew the elephants carers, and since his car could only fit four people, our group included just us two plus another couple. Lucky for us, but for the driver this was not going to be his day:
We arrived in the middle of nowhere. We got out of the car, took out all our stuff, and closed the doors. Suddenly, the taxi driver went, “oh no!”. He pointed at the car and said, “key inside!”. We all looked at each other and thought the exact same thing, “fuck”. Just to top it all off, his phone of course did not have any credit left, so he couldn’t call for help either. The next hour was spent playing car thieves. After too many sticks, a lot of patience, some humour and a bit more patience, we finally got there!
The driver told us that we were going to meet two female elephants that were both over 60 years old. The elderly ladies knew how to make an entry. Far, far away one could hear trees breaking, and there was a bell that kept ringing. The bell was a cow bell, so for all we knew we might have been signed up to the wrong kind of animal feeding. Out from the jungle came two proud divas with each having a human carer on their back. They were so beautiful. However, their size was of course an intimidating factor. As soon as they saw us they speeded up; tourists meant food. For them, I was probably as meaningless as one of the bloodsucking horseflies on their bum, however, the only difference between me and a horsefly was that I had bananas.
It was just when we were about to leave for lunch that something strange happened. We all started walking off, but then suddenly the two elephants began walking towards us. You could clearly see they were intentionally trying to split us up. I have absolutely no idea why, but they had decided to isolate me (of course) from the rest of the pack. I decided to stay very calm, and prayed that they did not see me as a possible flat banana pancake. They seemed to be both extremely careful with stepping on me, but it didn’t stop my heart from pumping like a mad person. One of the elephants turned her face towards me and tried to push me back, which was the opposite way from the rest of the group. Again, I have no idea why. The carers starting yelling at the elephants and the elephants let me eventually go. Maybe they had a thing for redheads, who knows.
As previously stated, it was not the taxi driver’s day. During our lunch the guy, just out of the blue, jumped up. He had been eating a fruit that now was thrown far away from him. He sucked his finger and said painfully, “scorpion”. Scorpion!? And just as he said that, a scorpion flew over the rocks where we had been enjoying our lunch. When we asked him if he needed to go to the hospital he just shook his head. Tough guy! Apparently it was poisonous, but not deadly. Eh…
It was after lunch that we really got to have quality time with the elephants. Not many can say they have swum with elephants, let alone bathed them. It was actually a bit scary as you would not be able to see anything of what was in the water, and then suddenly a trunk would pup up from the surface like a sea serpent. The best part was when the elephants let us get up on their back, so we could help them get rid of the horseflies and dirt. It was such a weird feeling sitting on top of their back, holding onto their rough skin, and then at the same time disappearing under the surface with the elephant. I love elephants!
Our stay in Cambodia was over, and by crossing the overland border we were now on the way to our next destination; Laos.
Quote Of The Day:
“Tell a girl she’s beautiful a million times and she’ll never notice. Call her fat once and she’ll never forget it… Because an elephant never forgets.”