Friday, February 23, 2018

Thekkady, and Periyar National Park, both home to wild elephants, 40 tigers, and numerous other wildlife

Today was a day of firsts. It was the first time I’ve ever gone on a wildlife safari via boat. The theory is that all the animals come down to the lake at that time of the morning to drink, so you see lots of wildlife. NOT. I admit it was lovely being on the lake early in the morning. But the wildlife was disappointing. Lots of birds, a wild boar, a small herd of buffalo, and a half dozen otters. There were, tons of tourist on a dozen other boats. It felt like a Disney park ride. Thankfully, lake Periyar was beautiful.

Then our guide asked us if we wanted to see an elephant rescue camp. We said sure. It turned out to be just a tourist trap where tourist get to ride elephants. I’ve ridden elephants six times, and each time was to get to some other location or while on safari. This was the first time I’ve ever climbed on an elephant’s back just to ride it around camp. But since we were already there, what the hell.

Ours was a 35-year-old female named Perlin.

It was a bit more interesting than just riding. We got to play Mahut, which meant we fed, watered, and bathed the elephant. This is me giving her some pumpkin after the ride.

We gave her a bath and a good scrub. She loved it. Notice the smile on her face?

And then she gave Herman a shower.

Perlin was a very sweet girl. This is her laughing at a very soaked Herman.

Best part of the day. Coming back to the room. I love this place. We’re staying at a Plantation House resort with six rooms in the hills overlooking Periyar. It is a working plantation growing a dozen different spices and coffee beans.

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