The trek was incredible today. Started with an elephant ride. It was love at first sight. I love elephants. Went right up to them. Shook hands, pet them, fed them their own greens. They’re really playful. A couple of them would swing their trunks and throw the leaves in the air or on their head. The ride itself was honestly ok. A little cramped and uncomfortable. Sat with a large Spaniard from Madrid. Driver was impatient with our elephant, who kept stopping to eat, which is what I wanted him to do the whole time. Then he’d just stop randomly, I think to piss off the driver. Never took the same route as the other elephants, which was great. Just tromping through the jungle. It was bad, at one point the Spaniard and I were talking, the elephant stopped and the driver had had enough and whacked him hard over the head with his hook/mallet. It was like kids watching a dad hit a mom. Both the Spaniard, Paco, and I couldn’t suppress our shock. I made sure to feed my elephant a whole bushel of bananas. Greedy bastard inhaled all of them in seconds. I love and miss him so. Can’t wait to go back or better yet swim with them if that, indeed, is on the table.

From there we went bamboo rafting. A nice, tranquil experience. Just rickety enough to think we could tip at any moment. Really pretty. Afterward, they took us to a hill people village. Very small. No electricity. Super nice, along with everyone else in this country. Bought some trinkets. They have a few different plants that contain tobacco. I got to try some, wrapped in a banana leaf. Smooth and very strong. Apparently, it is a sign of beauty within the tribe to have completely black teeth due to the tobacco which they put in their mouth like dip, not smoked. Lady next to our group, weaving a scarf, on cue, flashed her…pearly blacks? Totally black. Girls get married at around fourteen and can churn out about eleven kids when it’s all said and done. These kids grow up and around eight years old are put to work in the rice fields. Tour guide cracked me up the whole time offering ‘monkey brain stew’ and ‘baby elephant BBQ’ for lunch. He also told us that a doctor came to the village to show them how condoms worked, using a banana as an example. Apparently, one of the men took the demonstration literally and put a condom on a banana and hung it on his door. Oddly enough, he kept having babies so he’d move it from the door to different windows, until, several kids later, someone re-explained condoms to him. Really started talking to a dude from England, Matthew, who is serving in the Royal Navy. Drives submarines. Great guy, total nerd. We talked about all things. Also, met a newlywed couple from Steamboat. Small world. 

The last leg was on hour hike to a monstrous waterfall that I got to lounge at for awhile. Shot a janky crossbow and left! 

Thai people across the country have been goofballs and Pino(?), our guide, epitomized that. Guy had me giggling the entire time. Besides the englishman, I was usually the only one laughing. Got Matthew sold on Doritos Locos tacos, as they don’t have Taco Bells in England. He claims he’s going to open his own.