Packing our trunks and saying goodbye to the circus

9 Mar

Being an account of us trundling off to the Jungle and riding elephants!Well, first and foremost, my apologies for how long it has been since I last posted, it has been a pretty packed couple of weeks and internet connections have been sporadic therein.  Regarding our very pleasant week in Siem Reap, I refer you to Jim’s blog: he has put some pics up and they sum up how lovely Angkor is better than I could.  After five or so days of templing, however, we found ourselves thoroughly templed out, and we moved on from the circus that is Siem Reap to the very much un-circuslike Mondulkiri province, an area famous for its rolling hills, its Pnom inhabitants (a people distinct from the Khmer with their own language and customs) and the elephants which they famously ride.

We duly booked ourselves onto a two-day trek, which included a day of trekking through the jungle with a Pnom guide, a homestay with a Pnom family, and a mahout-style elephant riding experience the next day.  It was worth every penny.  The first day began with a slightly bizarre stop for refreshments with a local family: they fed us stewed python dipped in red tree ants and ridiculously strong rice wine that had unidentified ‘herbs’ and ‘bark’ (natural ‘painkillers’, we were told.  Hmmmm) steeped in it.  This was at 10am.  Feeling very happy with the world, we trekked on to a 9m high waterfall, which we all proceeded to jump off (it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time) before sitting down for a lunch which was slightly tamer than our breakfast had been.

Over the course of two days, we both swang and drank from creepers, were fed various weird and wonderful plants that our guide assured us was really good in soup (I suspect this might be a euphemism for edible but tastes horrible) – not to mention some more red tree ants, live this time – and generally got more muddy than I would have believed possible.  On the second day, after a somewhat challenging walk through up and down some very steep and slippery hills, we met up with our elephant and bathed her in a river (I never thought I’d be riding an elephant in a bikini on this trip!, I have to say), before riding her (in my case) proper mahout-style – sitting bareback on her neck – for around an hour to the nearest village.  Ouch.  Despite how unbelievably painful this was, it was utterly amazing – as was the entire experience, although poor Jim felt the after-effects of that python for a good few days afterwards.

I leave you to look forward to some pretty impressive photos.

Peace and Love 😉

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