Thailand: Day 9…the end.
Thailand: Day 9…the end.
Terje helped us book an elephant trekking adventure last evening, so we woke up in the morning excited to bond with the creatures so dear to Thailand. At nine-thirty, a taxi-truck pulled up, and we hopped in the back and were driven fifteen minutes or so into the jungles of Phuket.
We paid for an hour-long trek, and then a guide atop a beautiful elephant named Boonreng came to pick us up. It was a privilege to ride Boonreng through the jungle trails.
Our guide was quiet, but friendly and when he climbed off Boonreng, he let me slide off the small bench where we were sitting, onto her strong neck. My knees came up just behind her large flapping ears, and I braced myself with my hands on top of her flat head.
When I asked our guide (who I unfortunately didn’t get the name of) how old Boonreng was, he said “forty-five.” Her age could be felt and seen in her rough, leathery skin. As I got a little more comfortable, and a little braver, I leaned my torso over and lay down on her head giving me a view straight down her trunk to the trail below.
She seemed to like when I rubbed my hand between her eyes because she lifted her trunk and wrapped it around my hand. I was surprised by the strength of her grip, and was a little worried that she was going to yank my favorite Casio watch off my wrist!
Riding on Boonreng was slow going but she was always sure-footed. She wasn’t in any hurry and she especially liked to make pit stops in the shade. The closest link I could make to the experience of riding on Boonreng were the faint memories of being a child and riding on my father’s shoulders.
Though both Jill and I enjoyed the trek, we also felt a bit sad for Boonreng, and guilty for the life we were helping keep her in. Such a majestic creature deserves to live wild and free the way she was created to. In a well intentioned but nowhere worthy act of penance and thanks, Jill and I bought two pineapples that we had the chance to feed Boonreng at the end of our trail.
After arriving back at our guesthouse a little after eleven am, we left for a Mexican restaurant we had seen since it’s rare that we get our favorite food, and we were a bit curious about the Thai version of it. As it turned out, the chef was Mexican, so the food was delicious, and couldn’t get closer to the food we’ve loved for so long.
We spent the rest of our day at Kata beach, the one we’d come to call home, and stayed to watch the sunset on our last day in Thailand. In only a few short hours, we were going to be leaving Thailand, hopefully not for the last time.
Being the great help he’d been during our whole stay in Phuket, Terje arranged for a taxi to pick us up from the guesthouse that evening at eleven p.m. We said our goodbye and thank you to Terje and Anunya, and told them we’d write great reviews for them on tripadvisor.com.
We arrived at Phuket International Airport at midnight, and boarded our plane in the wee hours of the early morning. This was the price we had to pay for getting the cheapest tickets possible. But for a trip to Thailand, it was a sacrifice worth taking.
I hoped you all enjoyed the posts from our vacation, and I encourage you to travel as much as you can—even if budget limits you to your own country and city. The more one travels and builds relationships with different types of people and cultures, the less fear and prejudice fills our shared world.