Monday, January 16, 2006

Maybe you can be a Mahout!


Adults Only: Ok, this post is for the kids. You know, the one's we've been ignoring most of this blog? The ones who probably think the pics are cool but don't want to read our latest missive about Thai cuisine?

Most of our friends (especially in MN) have kids of ages newborn to 5ish and we promised most if not all of them a picture of us riding an elephant. To accomplish this goal, instead of doing the typical tourist elephant ride we signed up for an experimental two day mahout guide trek Tiger Trails in Luang Prabang was running where you get to work with the Mahouts (definition below), spend the night with them, learn a little more about caring for the elephants, etc. And kayaking back to town was a nice side benefit :-) So here it goes; don't have any idea how writing directed to kids will go, but hope it gives them something to enjoy... And for you adults wanting a little more interesting fare, Becca has included some adult worthy comments in the post below.

SYLLABICATION: ma·hout
PRONUNCIATION: m -hout
NOUN: The keeper and driver of an elephant.

Hi, Bonjour and Hej to our friends around the globe from Becca and Brian. If you have any questions about anything you read or see, ask Mom or Dad to help explain it to you. The picture you can see is Becca riding an Asian elephant from the country of Laos. Laos is located in SE Asia, next to Thailand and Camboida. Becca and I spent two days playing with the elephants and learning how to become a Mahout. A Mahout is the keeper and driver of an elephant. They drive the elephant when people ride on it, feed it, wash it, etc. They take care of the elephant just like mom and dad used to do for you when you were little.

We had to wait for the elephants at the Tat Sae waterfall. The other people were riding the elephants to the waterfall and then we and the mahouts had to take them back to their camp for a snack and a shower. Our two elephants were named Mae Son and Uae . Mae Son is female and Uae is male.

We climbed onto a tower that let us sit in the chairs in the back while the Mahouts drove. Elephants are very slow but it was fun to be so high up in the air. After a little while, the Mahouts let us ride on the neck of the elephants. It is very hard to balance because you are sitting on their shoulders, just like you do when Mom or Dad carry you around. Their ears are very big and protect your legs from trees that might hit you. Their skin is rough so it's like sitting on a carpet or a really old chair. When you're riding an elephant, you have to use a loud voice so the elephant knows you are the boss.

We then got to feed the elephants. They like bananas and rice and eat sugar cane as dessert. They use their trunk to take the food from your hand and put it into their mouth. So their trunk is just like your hand and they use it to eat. They also were very warm and threw dirt on themselves to keep themselves cool. This only works for elephants though so you shouldn't try it.

We rode the elephants to the river to clean the dirt off. The elephants use their trunk to suck up water and then pour it into their mouth. They also use the trunk to spray water all over themselves to clean up. Just like mom and dad use the bathroom to give you a bath or shower.

After dinner and a shower, it's time to go to bed. We and the Mahouts rode the elephants out to their bedroom. Their bedroom is a big piece of jungle where they can walk around, eat more or just sleep. The Mahout puts a chain on their leg so they don't run away or get lost. We put them to bed and then we went to our house and ate some food and went to bed. It is very tiring being a Mahout.

Morning for a Mahout and the elephant comes very early. We went to wake up the elephants at 7:00am. They wake up early so they can go have another bath and breakfast. Back to the river for a shower and then more rice and bananas for breakfast. After that, the Mahouts put the pads and the chair on the elephant so that people can ride them again. Only people who work with the Mahouts get to ride without the big chair.

After that, we had to go back to town so we said goodbye to the elephants. The Mahouts have a very good job. They are very nice people and do lots of good things for the elephants and keep them healthy. If you want to learn more about elephants, have mom or dad look at the websites below.

- Some Elephant facts
- Problems that Elephants have in Laos
- Elephant Diet and Habit

Becca and I hope you enjoyed seeing the elephants and hoped you learned about being a Mahout. Maybe you could be a Mahout some day if you work hard!

Brian

2 comments:

Mama M said...

Yahoo for the picture of the elephant! Ethan loves it. Thanks!

Elaine said...

So when your kids ask if they can have a pet, are you going to say "sure"......and we know all about taking care of elephants.