As the various elephants started walking away with their mahouts, we prepared ourselves for our walk across the river with the elephants. Since we had been dipping our arms and hands in the water to wash the watermelons, we had to go through the process of reapplying our sunscreen and bug spray. One of the things we had to be careful of was making sure that we didn’t get it around the elephants as those products can be dangerous to the elephants. So we huddled together in a small corner of the shelter, reapplied all the products and then got ready for our walk with the elephants. Of course, before we could start walking, we had to get prepared for our walk. This included grabbing a bag filled to the brim with bananas so we could coax the elephants to us and hang with us as we walked around the park. As soon as one of the elephants noticed that we had been loaded up with bags of bananas, she decided that she was going to do the smart thing and come into the shelter to grab the food now rather than wait.
One of the great things about this place was watching the way the mahout treated the elephants. When you typically see elephants start misbehaving or not following directions, the mahouts will have long sticks with sharp blades that they’ll use to hit the elephants. Here, the mahouts didn’t have anything so all they could do was talk to the elephant and try to block them which is by far one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen. The elephants obviously know their mahouts and they are very gentle with them, even when they feel like being stubborn. The mahout tried to tell his elephant that she wasn’t allowed in the shelter and she just kept walking. It got to a point where he had to use his body to command her which meant that she just tried to walk around him but thankfully she’s significantly bigger and “walking around” him meant moving about a foot to one side and then realizing she had nowhere to go so she gave up.
When she finally gave up and we started our walk, we slowly wandered alongside the elephants through an open field and stopped to take photos, feed them and let them take scratch breaks. Stopping to take selfies and photos with the elephants was by far one of the most entertaining experiences because the sweet elephants would take any opportunity to try and grab some bananas out of your bag when you weren’t paying attention. We were actually instructed not to carry the bags as cross body bags because if the elephants got over anxious, they would steal the bag even with you attached to it. After we were about halfway through the bananas, it was time to cross the river.
Three of the elephants started to cross the river ahead of us and it was the most adorable thing I have seen in awhile. Three giant elephants crossing a river side by side and making noises that sounded vaguely like something you would hear from Jurassic Park. The elephants were making very happy noises as they cooled down in the water on their way across the river. After they crossed, we made our way across. I had worn Tevas so walking through the river wasn’t too difficult since the current wasn’t that strong. I managed to make it to the other side before everyone else so I could turn back around and take a photo of the group with the last elephant. The same elephant who had decided to rebel and come into the shelter was the last elephant to cross the river and she knew that we all had bananas left so she started targeting people.After she decided that she couldn’t get any bananas from the people in the river, she saw me standing across the river along the bank and came toward me. I had to move out of the way to avoid getting trapped by her trunk.
Finally, we had all crossed the river and it was time to continue our walk to lunch.