Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sandy Bear: Elephant Mahout

Well, today we went on an interesting adventure. At first I thought we were just going to the Tad Sae Waterfall. It was pretty cool with limestone terraces and a lot of different waterfall spots.

You could even go swimming there... if you wanted to. I am a little bear and this water looked kind of dirty so I decided to just hang out while the humans splashed around.

Then we got on a boat... and drove down the river Nam Khan. That was kind of neat... wheeee!!!! I asked Mama where we were going but she wouldn't tell me...

And then... whoa!!! We went to a place called Elephant Village!!! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!!! Are there real elephants here??? It says Sanctuary and Resort...

I even got a sticker which identified me as a Package bear... not sure what that is... Mama says it means I can partake of various activities here.

Well... it certainly looks like a resort...

Oh look, an elephant!!! But it's only a fake one... sigh...

OK, OK, I'll get my picture taken with yet another fake elephant... why does this always happen to me???

Huh??? There is a no-smoking sign here because elephants don't like smoke?? Well, a fake elephant can't smell... so???

Oh my goodness!!! Do you see that??? Do you??

I think that was a real, live elephant!!!

Oh my goodness... it is... there are real elephants here!!

Mama says we are going to take Mahout training. Mahout means elephant trainer/caretaker/driver. What??? Me... a Mahout!!?? First I have to learn some elephant commands in Laotian... so, here goes...

Bai Bai -go forward (sounds like bye-bye)
Dun Dun - go backwards
How How - Stop!! (very important!)
Sai Sai - turn left
Qwa Qwa - turn right
Map Map - lie down (just not in the water!)

OK... so I am going to practice those. This guy is a real elephant mahout... he makes it all look soooo easy!

Our first activity is to ride in a howdah... that is the big chair that sits on the back of an elephant. It was hard to get a picture of us on our elephant chair so we took a picture of a couple of Dutch people behind us. They are from Utrecht. I asked them if they knew Hammie or Sullivan but nooo... I guess Holland is bigger than I thought.

And then... our elephants went in the water!! I sure hope it isn't too deep because I didn't bring my rubber boots!

This is our mahout!!

Giddyup!!! Err.... Bai Bai!!! And no Map Map in the river because I can't swim!

When we got out of the river, Mama got to sit on the neck of the elephant and... I got to join her! Whoa... elephants are verrrrryyyy tall!! Mama held on to me because my balance isn't the greatest at the best of times and there wasn't much to hold onto up there! Sitting on an elephant is sort of like sitting on an earthquake - very bouncy, moving back and forth and up and down.

Elephants do have hair... but it's very prickly and not too long so it wasn't very comfortable to sit on. Little bears have sensitive behinds... even with our plushy fur.

And finally, there they go. We spent two days with the elephants and it was beary cool...

The elephants here are mostly rescued elephants from the logging industry here in Lao. Now all they do is get up at 6 am and work until noon (carrying tourists and little bears)... at which point they go back to the jungle and eat. An elephant needs to eat 200 kg of food a day!!! That's a lot of food... Elephants are also beary smart... I wish I could talk elephant to them, but lots of the time their "language" is below the range of human (and little bear) hearing. Did you know that elephants cry and feel sadness? If you look at the picture you can almost see that...

P.S. Oh yes, and what do elephants loooovvvee to snack on?? Peanuts?? Noooo... bananas!!!


  1. Oh I'm SOOOOOO jealous!!!! I hope you said thank you to the Nellyfant and gave him a kiss goodbye!! They're lovely!!

  2. Wow! A real LIVE hefalump! How cool to get to ride a hefalump! I'm beary jealous, you are learning and doing so many things! Thank you for sharing with all of us bears who have to stay home.

    Did you feed the hefalump any peanuts? Or do they only get those at circus's and zoos?

  3. Wow, they are soooo beary beautiful! We're jealous that you got to take an elephant ride. Did you bring peanuts to give to them as a treat, ...or maybe elephants don't really like peanuts, we're not sure.

  4. @Beanie - They are lovely!! Although they weren't quite sure what to make of a little bear. I gave her a kiss on her big nose!

    @Buttons - Yup, a real live one!! They are beary, beary huge. And love to eat bananas of all things. No peanuts in sight.

    @Jerry & Ben - I wanted to take an elephant back home to share with all my stuffie friends but nooo... Mama says they are an endangered species and so they have to stay here. I bought a bunch of bananas to give her as a treat... I know... I thought only monkeys liked bananas but apparently not! Maybe it's a healthy snack for them??

  5. Well bananas are just fine for a treat, but don't give away any jars of honey! hehe