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   Undertoad  Friday Jul 1 01:18 PM

7/1/2005: Mahout training holiday









One of our own Cellarites has been on a marvelous adventure. She tells the tale nicely, here it is:

Leah writes:
The photos that have been sent were taken at The Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang just south of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand.
www.changthai.com

I trained to be a Mahout (elephant handler). The course can take from 3 days to one week. You stay in the local village in a Home Stay hut. It's very comfortable and clean. The training Mahouts help prepare the evening meals with the locals, this includes cleaning, pealing & cutting of vegies and meats. It's a bonding session really, loads of fun.

Each day we got up at 6am, got dressed in our mahout suites and walked for about 45 minutes into the jungles to collect our elephants. They are taken into the jungles to eat and sleep. When we find our elephant we then ride it back down the mountain. At the bottom there is a river/pond. We wash our elephant and have a swim with them. They love this. We then rode the elephant back into the camp. We then went back to our huts to have some well deserved breakfast and a hot coffee. We then watched the elephants prepare for the morning show for the tourists. After the show we trained until the afternoon show. At the end of the day we would take our elephants for another swim before walking them back into the jungle for the night.

I recommend this to anyone who loves not only elephants but animals. To get this close and train with them is an experience I will never forget. I will be returning next year just to be with them again.

The Mahout teachers us to control our elephant with commands. Some of the commands are:

Lift elephants leg to get on: Song Soong
Lift leg up high to get off: Hab Soong
Go (nudge ears forward): Pai
Slow down (squeeze tight around the neck): How
Turn (nudging the opposite ear to where you want to go): Bane
Walk backwards (push your weight back onto elephant) Sok
Bow Head (to get on and off): Tag Long
Lie down on belly: Map Long
Sit down: Nung Long
Lie down on side: Non Dee
Drink water: Bong
Thai greeting to elephant: Sawasdee
Hold trunk up: Bon Soong

At the end of all our training we participate in the Elephant Show for tourists to watch.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best holidays I've ever had. After the three days at the Elephant Conservation Centre I then spent a week at the Elephant Nature Park, North of Chiang Mai. The Elephant Nature Park looks after sick, abused and injured elephants.

http://thaifocus.com/elephant/

The park tries to raise money to buy them from camps who do not treat them well. They have several elephants who were very sick when they arrived but now lead a happy life away from tourist camps. One particular elephant is blind. She was owned by two owners, who took it in turn working her 24 hours a day. There are some very sad stories with most of the elephants rescued at this park.




glatt  Friday Jul 1 01:22 PM

Very nice!!



BigV  Friday Jul 1 01:28 PM

AWESOME!! Thanks UT and Leah for an incredible IotD.








And this is way way better than some Sandra Day O'Connor thread. Not as funny, but better.



wolf  Friday Jul 1 01:30 PM

For some strange reason, I love the fact that she had to put on her Mahout Suit every day.

That sounds like a completely incredible vacation!!



BigV  Friday Jul 1 01:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf
For some strange reason, I love the fact that she had to put on her Mahout Suit every day.
Yeah, that's cool. It sounds legit, look at the difference in the fadedness of all the shirts. They look like they could all be the same, except all the non-trainee mahouts' shirts are much more faded.


chrisinhouston  Friday Jul 1 02:00 PM

What's going on in the 4th image? Looks like the elephant is learning to play a musical instrument.

Great images, it's like summer camp for elephants!



Elspode  Friday Jul 1 02:17 PM

Somehow, this makes my anticipated midsummer campout look rather humble by comparison.



Queen of the Ryche  Friday Jul 1 02:54 PM

Amazing! Thanks UT and Leah. Another dream vacation to add to the list.



capnhowdy  Friday Jul 1 03:00 PM

Very good. Looks like a world of fun.
Leah is THE LUCKY ONE......



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jul 2 12:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisinhouston
What's going on in the 4th image? Looks like the elephant is learning to play a musical instrument.

Great images, it's like summer camp for elephants!
Yeah, it's a xylophone. Pianos won't take the humidity.

Two years ago she got into a water fight....and lost.
Last year it was a jungle tour and befriend a baby.
So this year it was whole hog...uh, whole elephant.


footfootfoot  Saturday Jul 2 12:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV
Yeah, that's cool. It sounds legit, look at the difference in the fadedness of all the shirts. They look like they could all be the same, except all the non-trainee mahouts' shirts are much more faded.
I bet it's like in karate, you start with a white belt and it eventulally gets black from use. (you wash the gi , but not he belt) after more time your belt becomes white again. (I guess the blackness wears off)

Maybr same with the mahouts.

drop the pilot ya'll


BigV  Saturday Jul 2 01:40 PM

off topic--

Quote:
Originally Posted by footfootfoot
I bet it's like in karate, you start with a white belt and it eventulally gets black from use. (you wash the gi , but not he belt) after more time your belt becomes white again. (I guess the blackness wears off)

Maybr same with the mahouts.

drop the pilot ya'll

3ft, dude, your square is baaaack. How do you do that?


magilla  Saturday Jul 2 05:55 PM

Were the pics removed? They are not coming up anymore...



Sweets  Saturday Jul 2 06:12 PM

They arent coming up for me either



Wormfood  Saturday Jul 2 07:48 PM

So it was only elephants they where taking about...

Sawasdee,Nung Long..Bon Soong..Tag Long..Pai..How..Bong...Non Dee..Hab Soong........ :p



Leah  Sunday Jul 3 07:16 PM

Glad you all loved the photo's I have hundreds of them, and I really do mean hundreds about 400 +. It was the best holiday I've ever had. I'm going back next year to do the same thing and also to Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar (Burma).
I really miss not being there. I miss the hefalumps and the Thai people and the yummy traditional Thai food.
Sounds like I could even get a tour group organised. Come on everyone start saving.
Leah
P.S. Bruce I had forgotten you had the other photo's.



Elspode  Monday Jul 4 12:36 AM

Bruce (or Leah), are you two familiar with each other IRL?



Leah  Monday Jul 4 01:42 AM

Good email buddies. He's in Philly USA I'm in Sydney. Plus he sends me loads of photo's or anything to do with elephants



wolf  Monday Jul 4 11:48 AM

I get his moose collection.



lookout123  Monday Jul 4 01:38 PM

weird - i get his naked chick collection.



Leah  Monday Jul 4 08:13 PM

My god Bruce, what else do you collect??????
Anyway I'm thankful for all the nice things he sends me and all the elephants. Thanks chum.



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jul 4 08:24 PM

I collect email buddies.
btw...Smithsonian Magazine has an article about African Forest (desert) Elephants this month. Great pictures.



Leah  Monday Jul 4 09:11 PM

Cool I'll go and hunt one down at lunch. (a magazine that is)



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