Posted by: Sam Olsen | September 30, 2012

Found on Elephant Island

Hallelujah. Our luggage has arrived. Sadly this means the end to our garment experimentation but it is a price worth paying for not being pitied by our Russian comrades here.

In other news, Lawrence did a poo on the children’s play house. We had managed to buy him a pair of $4 swimmers but they had no net, and we had no swimming nappies. So rather than risk it in the pool we let him roam on the beach and its environs. He quickly ran up on to the kiddie’s playhouse, shouted “Poo!” and ignored the thud of the solid scat hitting the plastic below. Aggie trying to explain that to the staff supervisor was not easy, although not as repugnant as her having to clean it up.

Happily, despite this social test, we are settling into the holiday, helped by the sun arriving, albeit sporting a small hat of cloud. Some of our fellow tourists are interesting to say the least. Unlike other places we have been to in Asia there are not that many Asians here (staff aside, obviously). Russians, Israelis, Russian-Israelis, Germans, all are represented. Our favourites though are the 6-strong Italian family. The father, a faded bear of a man, has more tattoos than a Polynesian sailor in Portsmouth, and has started the family tradition early on one of his sons. I’ve never seen an 11 year old’s shoulder blade decorated in a huge black angel, although the child protection team probably have.

This morning we went on an elephant ride, a rather apt thing to do given that Koh Chang means Elephant Isle. Now, we’re not experts on elephantine welfare, but these creatures looked in pretty tip top shape. They were obviously well pampered, devouring huge piles of foliage as we arrived and looking content in both manner and body. Given the state of many of their working cousins across Asia they seemed to be in a superior position.

Lawrence looked a little alarmed when we sat on the bench seat atop the huge bull, complete with five-foot tusks. And well he might have been, for all that was holding us in was a thin pop-off aluminium bar. Luckily the mahout knew exactly what he was doing, and we cruised slowly through the jungle, following huge footprints embedded in the orange mud. Butterflies the size of fists skipped around our heads as we passed silently through deep lines of trees, made multicoloured by wavy rugs of moss. So soporific was the ride that Larry was soon asleep, waking only when our guide leapt off the nelly’s neck to take a photo of us. Seeing his parents alone with a four-tonne beast caused him to cry something spectacular, his tears only abated when the mahmout remounted (being helped up by the elephant’s trunk and a step onto the tusks). Soon it was all over, but not before a wade through a clear river and a playful water spray from Nelly.

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