Thailand. Part IV. | Feb 28th

Elephants, they tend to be fun. We're going to find out today if that's true or not, we found our nearest Bureau of Experiencing Elephants on a dodgy tourist map and decided that it didn't seem that far and it was the ideal day to walk and explore the area on a comfortable 30-something full-sun day, not taking into account the hilly-nature of the area nor the lack paths. After a little struggle all was well, we got to the place and booked a ride for the 6 of us for a few hours later.

After killing time, by walking to a nearby waterfall, which was more like a waterstand, with its collection of stagnant looking pools and getting a drink, it was time to take to the elephants and fly away, or something.

Climbing up some concrete stairs to reach the heigh of the elephant, I gingerly put my foot on the elephant's back, which was a little weird with its mixture of firm, soft and loose feeling underfoot and sat down on the basket which felt as secure as leaving your bike near a gypsy camp site.

We were escorted through this well-beaten jungle track, as the elephant with a sense of slow majestic boredom, idly followed his trainer as it swayed and jolted from side-to-side, forward-and-backward as it negotiated the terrain.

Halfway through the trek we were allowed to sit on the elephant's neck, which can only be described as riding a freakishly tall saddle-less horse and you could feel the muscles of his neck and every heavy footstep reverberate up through your body.

There wasn't much scenery to be seen, except when it was time to turn around and we had a great view looking over the top of the jungle canopy down into the water in the far distance, though most of the time we were all fooling around; singing 'I'm on an elephant muthaf-ker' and acting like rappers, doing child-safe elephant impressions and being an unamused emotionless sultan, looking back on it now, it seemed like a good idea at the time that you had to be there for. Highlight would be laughing at a set of friends that got the renegade baby elephant and spent the whole time looking frightened and struggling to stay on, essentially fighting for their lives.

As we were returning back to base, our elephant trainer stopped us and enthusiastically pointed and told us to look left, at which point I did.

It took me a while to adjust and see what I was actually looking at, until my friend next to me pointed out this huge spider, it was about that exact point when I completely lost my cool and freaked out to the Nth degree, from memory, this thing had a body the size of a tiger's head, legs as thick as an octopus's with a white skull marking on its back, it then scuttle off up its web, which was even more disturbing cause I knew it was real. It then, seemed to point at me and say 'you're next Rupert'.

Well that's ridiculous, it obviously didn't say that, spiders can't speak English. He telepathically sent it to me in Thai.

People laughed at my disgrace and karma's a bitch.


Later on, We grabbed a late lunch and I calmed down from my brush with death with another beach massage where all my knots from yesterday's massage had magically reappeared.

It was turning out to be another amazing sunset so a friend and I hired kayaks and took to the water paddling out into the calm bay, to get another perspective of Smile Beach and watch the sun slowly fall behind some distant clouds and smashed into the horizon.

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