Elephants on Thanksgiving

Until now, my most unusual Thanksgiving ever was at Angkor Wat -- a place I never dreamed I'd see. Marc took a picture of me at dawn as the sun came up behind the temple, symmetrically framed by tall palms, and I thought I would never be more surprised than that. But here we are in Luang Prabang, and after a lovely Lao breakfast -- unlike any other breakfast I've had on any other Thanksgiving morning -- we took a chilly tuktuk ride about 45 minutes outside of town to ride elephants.

As we climbed into the little boat for the short ride to the falls, I laughed out loud. I remembered being in a boat like this four years ago, riding to the same falls (but we didn't ride elephants then). I remembered the surprise of it; back then we'd thought the tuktuk would take us directly to the falls, so the boat ride was entirely unexpected. I remember laughing out loud then, at the wonder of being in a small boat somewhere so far away from my wildest dreams, under a brilliant blue sky. This morning the sky was not blue, and the air was chilly, but as the boat pulled out into the river I couldn't help but laugh out loud again at the wonder of my life.

Freezing cold! And about to climb into that boat behind us.
I love being in a boat with this guy.
Riverside gardens everywhere, and those baskets are for fishing.

The elephant camp is near Tad Sae waterfalls, which feature brilliant aqua-colored water. They also offer ziplining, but we were there to hike around the area and then ride an elephant.

such a soft color

happy Thanksgiving!
Tad Sae Waterfalls
really beautiful
This picture makes me smile so much
flat pools

we hiked pretty far back
Then it was time to hop on an elephant. We had the option to ride directly on the elephant's back, but I have these terribly itchy bites on my legs and remembered how hard-bristly the elephants' skin was when we were in Sri Lanka, so we opted for the seat -- which was nice, because it allowed us to sit side-by-side. Our mahout was great, and extremely strong and nimble. He reached for our camera, climbed down the side of the elephant, took LOTS of pictures, and then slung it over his shoulder and climbed up the elephant's side.

SO much fun!
We didn't get the elephant's name, rats!

Marc's beautiful shot of the back of the elephant's ear

and such a bristly head -- but the hair on the elephant's back was soft
something to remember always

the rear view -- maybe the elephant wouldn't like this shot

the mahout took us into the water too

and grabbed this shot

a short 30-minute ride
Then it was time to undo the getting-to: down to the boat, back to the dock, tuktuk back to Luang Prabang.

I asked if I could take his picture, and he struck this pose.
blue skies for the ride back to the dock
We were back in Luang Prabang just after lunch, and tonight we plan to eat dinner in this fantastic little food alley, where we ate four years ago. I have been daydreaming about it ever since:

Happy Thanksgiving! As always, I have so much to be grateful for, including the best traveling partner in the whole wide world.

1 comment:

  1. What a spectacular place thoseTad Sae waterfalls are! I'm so enjoying vicariously experiencing your journey - you have such a wonderful spirit -I loved the line: "I couldn't help but laugh out loud again at the wonder of my life."

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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