Happy Exhaustion - Thai Elephant Home, Thailand
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Day 1 part 2
The entire energy of the place took on a whole new relaxed feel after the final bus drove away. It was as though you could hear a sigh of relief from both the animals and the workers… much like after you throw a big party and everyone has left. The warmth and intimacy that filled the air made it clear this was not just a job; it was their home. We felt privileged to be invited in. The girls walked around exploring the area and found a few cats to play with that had become comfortable with the people coming and going. They sat playing quietly as we listened to the quiet sounds of the jungle preparing for night.
When we were informed that we would prepare and eat dinner like real mahouts, we cringed a bit. After the day’s big adventures I wasn’t sure how much more we could take. Much to our relief little work was involved. In fact it was thoroughly enjoyable to sit around the fire discussing our adventures, playing games and filling bamboo shoots of rice and water, placing them upright in the fire to cook. After folding banana leaves into small dishes using toothpicks, It was time to wash up and rest a bit before dinnertime.
Jason dropped like a rock as we arrived back to our cabin. We were all exhausted but he was also struggling to fight off my inherited sickness. This combined with the extreme pure exhaustion of straining so hard to hold onto his lighting fast moving cheetah… I mean elephant. Needless to say he was sore ALL OVER!! We were all sore and reveled and laughed in what was one of the most amazing days of our lives, questioning how we could possibly manage 2 more full days!
After showering, changing and relaxing it was dinnertime. We walked back to the campsite, the lovely smell that filled the warm night air was heavenly. The morning meeting table had been transformed into a peaceful intimate dinner setting, glowing with candlelight and fresh linens. The sound of an acoustic guitar playing off in the distance near the campfire was simply poetic.
The setting combined with our massive appetites made for the best meal. Ella claimed it was her favorite meal ever!! The rice came out of the bamboo shoots in a perfect tube formation with a delicious natural coating from the interior skin of the bamboo. The vegetables were stir-fried locally grown morning glory, our first time eating this leafy spinach like vegetable. And the fish was steamed over the open fire in our handmade palm leaf boats. It was all so fresh, so natural and so delicious.
Suddenly the 2 remaining days didn’t seem quite long enough…