Mandalao Elephant Conservation
Luang Prabang, Laos
Today we hiked with elephants.
We got picked up at breakfast, we fed elephants that can eat faster than my brother Isaac, they had skin that was wrinklier than granny. We washed them in the river that was as cold as melted ice, as clean as Rosa’s hair and as brown as the home made chocolate ice cream we are eating in a Laotian café on Sisanvong road.
The Elephant, smiled at us as we washed them and flapped their ears to tell us to keep washing.
There were three elephants Mr Kip, his mum Among, and his aunty whose name we have forgotten. They each had Mahouts that had travelled with them from captivity to the wildlife nursery of Mandala0. Mr Kip is only 18 months old, he is taller than Eve, and about the same height as Rosa. Very cute and very very cheeky. He tried to take his mahout’s mobile phone, then his cigarettes, and then he tried to speak into the guide’s walkie talkie. He likes to slide downhill on steep muddy slopes, but finds it hard to scramble up the muddy tracks. He got down on his knees to scramble up and needed his mum to shunt him up with her trunk, a bit like a careful, positive large bulldozer.
We hiked through the jungle full of teak trees and bamboo behind the elephants enormous behinds, they were larger than Mt Everest. The jungle was lush and full of creepy crawlies. Ferocious creepy crawlies like spiders that make nests out of leaves, bees that make hives under branches, bright green praying mantis, and yellow and black striped caterpillar things.
The elephants needed a mid-walk break to rest their trunks. Gentle, friendly trunks that kept coming back to snuffle more bananas.
It was two hours of Laotian jungle magic.