Sunday, January 06, 2008

I like elephants a lot better than camels

I had reservations about elephant trekking. I hated camel riding in the Sahara earlier this fall and had vowed to stay off the backs of other wild creatures. And I was upset by the elephant on crack we'd seen in Bangkok. It didn't help that when we arrived at the camp where we were riding, one of the elephants bore the word "SEX" in purple paint on his enormous side. What kind of sicko vandalizes an elephant? It didn't make me feel better that the elephants seemed to be under the care of a gang of idiot teenagers who boasted (Mikey translating) about getting drunk and yielded sharp spikes to make the animals obey.

It was fun. We rode two to an elephant through a forest that included several big hills and a steep decline to a river.But it made me feel guilty that it was fun. As Cisco chanted ironically afterward: "Elephants LIKE being our slaves."
To complete the humiliation, at the end of the ride, we were invited to spend an extra 20 baht (about 80 cents) on a bunch of bananas to feed to our elephants. The animals lined up to receive their treats. "You think about how smart and advanced they are," Cisco noted, "until you realize that if they took two steps forward they could get the whole box of bananas." Someday, if there's any fairness in the world, the elephants will revolt against their teenager masters.

No comments:

Blog Archive