The Travel Series: My Elephant Sanctuary Humbling.

I know Elephants are pretty big creatures. But if you’re ever in the need of some humbling, served with bananas and bamboo, go to an Elephant Sanctuary.

Of course I went for the most ethical sanctuary around. These Elephants were ex-circus, workers or been ridden by fat humans all day long. This was their retirement digs.

Fed multiple times a day by giddy tourists in Elephant approved clothing, mud bathed and rinsed off several times by the more daring of the giddy tourists. What a life!

Anyone who knows me, knows I am obsessed with bananas. A banana tattoo WILL appear upon my skin one day. But I finally met someone who adored bananas more than me. We were given a wheelbarrow of bananas to feed the adult Elephants with. I was tempted to try one but no, no, these were for the Ellies. As I was loaded as many bunches into my brightly coloured woven sleeveless poncho thing (what?) a tiny snake like thing touched my leg, wrapped round my thigh and stole a bunch of bananas!

Meet Charlie. 🙂

8 months old, a miniature tank, completely capable of bulldozing anyone over had discovered the wheelbarrow of bananas. Genius! He didn’t have to wait for a scared tourist to gingerly hold out a measly one banana for him to snaff. Charlie is the king of the wheelbarrow now!

I fed them. It was great. But there was time allotted to just take photos with the Elephants. I took a few, as you can see from this post. But witnessing other tourists literally chasing baby Charlie to take multiple photos with him made me a wee bit uncomfortable. I just enjoyed being with them. I had a moment with Charlie and the wheelbarrow and that satisfied me.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to come across cynical. And people can do what they like, capture a moment how they like. I’m just more curious about my own reaction to the situation. I didn’t feel the need to take a billion and one selfies with a disinterested little baby Elephant. I am sure the lack of social media and getting a little older and realising what I considered more important and how I prefer to move through this life were the reason.

I took a seat during this time on a muddy log some distance from the others, I had a perfect view of all the Elephants (didn’t fancy having one sneak up on me from behind.) I had met a wonderful woman called Tara who will be in The People’s Series at some point. We sat together and took in the scene.

BATH TIME! Shouts one of the Elephants’ carers. All the Elephants decided it was time for a mud spa and so the humans rushed to follow, we stripped to swimwear and followed them in. Grappling at clay like mud at the bottom of the river, pulling chunks from the river bed, stirring the once clear water, turning it murky, we all hauled great handfuls out the water and smeared it all over the Elephants’ skins.

The Elephant I had the pleasure of giving a mud treatment to was a little smaller than the others, a young female. As I smeared the mud over her side, it bulged out right at me, I staggered back, the river bed was uneven and one badly chosen step got you on your ass (not where you want to be, under bathing Ellies.) What on Earth was that!? The carer explained she was pregnant and that was her baby moving! I felt a little more nurturing to this particular Elephant. She needed more mud in my opinion :P.

Then after all this excitement, the women of the sanctuary made the most incredible food ever. Well, it was simple rice and veg, but boy, its hungry work bathing a how-many-tonnes Elephant!

It’s their sheer size that humbles you. And they behave with such wisdom, and intent. Everything seems deliberate and purposeful when they move. Their slowness reminds me to focus on being mindful myself, to slow down and enjoy the moment.

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