As I watch some of the world's largest land animals casually walk around, I am amazed at man's ability to domesticate them. In a way, I am jealous of Fred and Barney because they got to ride a dinosaur while I will have to settle for an elephant.
These gentle giants can be interesting to watch as they interact with their handlers or visitors that take a liking to petting or feeding them. I am not sure why but their eyes seem to express a bit of sadness which gives me a ping of guilt for being here.
Climbing a custom built platform, we make our way onto a few tons of flesh and bones. A handler casually sits on the massive head with a tool in his hand that makes me a bit uncomfortable. It's a small ax like tool that is used to control the elephant. My uncomfortableness eases when I think of it as a rein on a horse instead of a pick ax.
Our ride takes us down a well marked trail and with a continuous rolling and sliding motion we take in a bit of Lao jungle scenery.
In a way I hope he has seen Dumbo and thinks he can fly.
With a series of unusual verbal sounds and the touching of the ears with his feet, I believe this is how our handler commands the elephant. In a interesting mix of the animal world and technology, along the path, the handler reaches into his pocket and starts dialing. I just hope there is a law here against texting while elephant driving.
However, it is not as amazing as it would be in the rainy season.
It is still a bit breathtaking as the elephant makes his way down a ramp into a pool area below the falls.
The most exciting thing happens as we on our way out of the pool. A little chicken crosses the path of the elephant and he becomes spooked letting out a “OMG” get that thing away from me sound. I am glad it was not a mouse.
I thought I was riding an elephant, however for a moment we were on the world's biggest chicken.
Part of our tour package includes lunch which like all the food I have had in Laos turns out to be delicious. A hot clear broth soup and stir fried rice done Lao style followed by fresh pineapple for desert hits the right spot.