Thursday, August 28, 2008

Elephant Bathtime

Elephants don’t stay clean without plenty of water, so every day down at the river in Sauraha they have a bath. For a couple of dollars, anyone can join them for a wash, which is a couple of the best dollars I have spent on this trip. The animals seem quite happy to have tourists clambering all over them, and at the trainers command, will spray you with water or wiggle their bodies with enough force to throw you off into the river (the word ‘wiggle’ doesn’t really describe how violently an animal weighed in tonnes can throw a human about – it looks like a wiggle, but feels like a souped-up version of one of those mechanical bull ride machines.)

And just to add an element of danger to the whole experience, there’s a crocodile that lives around the corner, but thankfully, has so far left the elephants and their tourist bathing partners alone. The locals have a rather gruesome method to keep it happy – they throw dogs into the river (a guide told me that last year it ate sixteen.)

Angie gets a bath

Me being thrown into the crocodile infested river

I didn't pay the trainer directly. I had to give the money to the elephant, who grabbed it with her trunk and passed it up.

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