After you leave the Patara main area, you ride the elephants up into the mountains to a waterfall. I took some pictures at the waterfall, but I was in full bikini and I feel weird putting those pictures on the blog. They look pretty sweet with the Instagram filter, though.
Here, you dismount (a bit stiffly, after all that crouching!) and eat an incredible picnic lunch:
|Top row: Bananas, lychee, mangosteen, fried chicken, coconut and banana fritters, banana.|
Second row: banana-leaf wrapped rice balls, with different meats.
|With the other tour members|
Just like with horses, you have to care for the animal after it's been exercising. Vegetarian lunch leftovers went to the elephants, and meat went to some locals, who I suspect were the guides' families. (That felt slightly awkward, but I can see them putting the elephants first, since the elephants create jobs).
Then we helped the elephants cool down by bathing them again in the river.
|My elephant, Ma Ree, is on the right.|
|You can tell it's Ma Ree because she's whacking me in the head with her ear again.|
And then, swimming time!
|Baby wants in!|
|They can keep their faces under because they're breathing through their trunks. Like submarines!|
|Elephants feel really weird and prickly on bare legs.|
|Family shot, with elephant, and random person's back.|
|How's it going down there?|
|Discovery: Justin and I are the only Western people under 40 without tattoos.|
|Nobody puts baby in the corner.|
|Mind your manners.|
Then my elephant - I have no idea which one it was at that point, actually - gave me a lift out of the water and back to the trail.