Displaced Yankee Productions | Don’t Think of Malaria and Tapeworm

We make it to the airport with very little time to spare and Megan and I literally walk right onto our flight once we get through security. The plane to Bangkok is a small jet but when we transfer in Koh Chang and are bussed out to that little plane I am not the best of company for Megan. Nothing is more embarrassing than having phobias in front of friends. But Megan is sweet and distracts me from the propellers, which are helpfully right out my window seat. The airport we land at, the Trat airport, is so small it doesn’t even have a terminal. Just a platform with a roof. In short order we are on a ferry to the island and all our stress of the emotionally draining shoot just falls off of us. The island is beautiful and we are staying in a little bungalow right by the beach. We watch the sun go down over the bath water warm ocean and simply relax. It is both peaceful and desperately needed.
Wednesday – Megan and I decide to do something a little different and trek out to the elephant jungle experience in the mountains. We have signed up for a 2-hour ride through the jungle by elephant. The guide book says that the elephants are mostly older elephants who no longer farm but Megan and I get stuck with the 16 year old surly teenage elephant who delighted in giving us a bit of a thrill ride. At one point down the steep trail she picked up two feet off the ground and leaned so far to the right, I thought Megan might go right over the side. From the look on Megan’s face – she was pretty much thinking the same thing. The jungle was beautiful and even more so when it started to rain. The German family on the other two elephants immediately whipped out the umbrellas that were provided but Megan and I found something very appealing about riding in the rain on the back of an elephant through the wet forest.
We didn’t know exactly how wet we were going to get. We came to a small river that drained in and out with the tide of the ocean. The elephants tramped on into the water and we shortly came to a high platform. Our guide asked us if we could swim and if we wanted to ride the elephant into the deep water. The German family declined but we were game. I think the family thought we were insane. And frankly, so did the elephant as she proceeded to pee and poop into the water while the guide was taking off her saddle. The thought that we were going to swim in that river with the elephant and the elephant’s recent contribution to nature got us giggling so bad we could barley stand up on the platform. When in Rome I guess….

Megan was reassured by the fact that they do this all the time and had up many fun pictures of elephants standing shoulder deep in the river with the happy looking tourists sitting on their backs. Our surly girl had other ideas. When we got to the middle of the river, she promptly and deliberately tucked her head, dropped her knees and threw all three of us off her back. The guide was back on in a second sputtering and shouting commands at the elephant. Megan and I climbed back on in time for a photo by another guide standing on the shore when Surly Girl rolled to her left and dumped us again. If you have ever fallen off a boat and tried to pull yourself back on you know how hard that can be. Now try doing that on the back of a multi ton elephant who has decided she is finished with photo ops for the day while elephant dung floats nearby. For the guide on the shore – it is a hilarious twenty minutes of Megan and I getting thrown off the elephant and getting back on. He has my video camera in hand and the footage is more than PG as we sputter and cuss and grab onto handy body parts in an effort to right ourselves. The German family watches from a distance and I am sure they will have great fun telling friends back home about the foolish American and Canadian. We finally get back on and I grab hold of our guide – telling him in no uncertain terms – if we go off again, he’s gonna come with us. Despite how exhausting it is we are having a ball and trying not to think of Malaria and Tapeworm.
When we finally get back on the platform the guides apologetically tells us all the other elephants simply LOVE having the tourists in the water on their backs. Lucky for us – we just managed to get Surly Girl. She eyeballed us on the platform and nudged us with her truck. Whether it was a peace offering or an attempt to pull us off – I don’t know. We got back in the saddle and headed back – soaking wet.
I’m now sitting on the porch while Megan is trying to pick out the photos we want to post that show us in a somewhat flattering light. I’ve used an entire bottle of purell on my body after the hottest shower even and rinsed my mouth with half a bottle of Listerine. The only vaguely body cleansing item we had was some airborne tablets Megan had in her bag so between that and the beer we’re drinking – we hope to knock off any germs. But you know what – it was totally worth it. 🙂


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