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Day 3 – Wednesday 15.11.17

05:30am. I had a very good night. It remains astonishing how few bugs and insects are in our huts. I haven’t had spiders, and can’t notice the mosquitoes if they are there. Moths, yes. I have learned from yesterday. I take a ‘light’ breakfast on the balcony of my hut – two bananas – then I walk over to base for 2 cups of tea. We leave at 07:30 sharp. To go see Thong Dee and Charlie. Around 09:00am we discover the 2 mahouts alongside the road. Thong Dee and Charlie must be close. We meet Thong Dee. She is Miss Perfect. A 10/10 elephant. Healthy skin, strong and supple muscles, perfect eyelashes (+5cm) – no need for mascara there, smooth moves. She is the ‘elegant elephant’ par excellence. And… this 10/10 lady is 61 years young. Exactly the same as me. I wish I was as precise and agile in my movement. She decides to forage very close to us, lovely. We all sit down and do an ‘Activity Budget’. For 90 minutes we note exactly what the animal is doing, every 120 seconds on the dot.

After a while Charlie shows up. He is male and 9 years old. More playful, more impulsive. Suddenly but spontaneously our party finds itself between the two elephants. They are so close. One just in touching range in front of me, one trying to touch us from behind. A most intense, almost intimate moment. Wow.

We leave them to their lives. The 2 mahouts make a fire, cook us noodles for lunch. Then it is time to hike back. Up on ‘Sunburn Hill’. I nicknamed it this way. For it is often our march back from the ‘eles’ (elephants) to base. A tarmac road, steep uphill, almost no shade. Each of us take time to find a good, natural pace. For there is a reward. On top of ‘Sunburn Hill’ is the ‘top-shop’. Mathilde and Olivia arrive early at the top with me. Good pace, good shape. We enjoy an ice cream. An ‘ice cream with a view’. For, as it goes, from the terrace of ‘top-shop’ we have a view of the valley and the surrounding hills. Again a ‘moo’ morning, a happy morning.



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