My first week in huay pakoot isn’t even finished yet and already I’ve had enough great experiences to last a life time.
Being welcomed by the locals in a traditional geeju ceremony, learning the local language – which I still need plenty of practise on, getting aquainted with the village animals – cats, dogs, chickens, pigs and buffalo to name a few and of course the elephants.
Yesterday I went on my first hike with some of the adult ele’s, it was tough going in places – due to my general lack of fitness rather than anything else – but it was all worth it to see the ele’s up close and enjoying being let loose in the forest.
Today was my first baby hike which was one of the things I was most excited about and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We started the hike by giving the babies a health check making sure they had no cuts, infections or tics etc, once they’d all had their once over we headed into the forest, it was great to see the ele’s enjoying the forest and making a meal out of the bamboo trees and other greenery and also that some of their usual stereotypical behaviours like rocking and swaying had completely subsided in the forest.
We stopped for lunch cooked by the mahouts, one if the best meals I’ve had so far, noodles cooked in bamboo pots that the mahouts whipped up in minutes over the camp fire and toasted marshmallows for dessert. Yummy, even lulu came to join us for some of the leftovers.
The highlight of the hike though was the end, when we got back to the village the mahouts took the babies for a bath in the lake, this is the happiest I’ve ever seen them, especially Mario who was loving rolling around and spraying water, it didn’t take us volunteers very long to rush in and join them, we even had some nosy water buffalo watching from a safe distance. It was the perfect end to the hike, I can’t wait for the next one, I might even pack my snorkel next time!