On Christmas eve, we ventured out to a small village, very near Luang Prabang, Laos. They have an elephant rescue centre there, where we spent most of the day. They get elephants that have been rescued from logging camps (for various reasons, elephants are no longer really required for the awfully hard logging that they have done historically). Owners aren't able to release elephants back into the wild so they are either left to slowly starve or they are destroyed.
We settled down here to enjoy the views - a hard life sometimes..
This place along with one in Chang Mai in Thailand are using tourism to save these animals. They reassure us that carrying a couple of humans every day is child's play compared to hauling logs, and that the elephants enjoy the interaction, and the stroll through the river a couple of times a day. They are also released back into the nearby jungle every night.
We had three lovely ladies (they only use the calmer female elephants) to walk us around for an hour. The downhill bit were scarier than they looked, only an unsecured pole between you and the ground
The mahout that was guiding our lady hopped down when we reached this mid stream island (leaving Henry and I somewhat helpless) and took some photos. Geoff was getting ready to explain how to use the camera, when the man took off his conical hat, flipped around his cap that was hidden underneath, adjusted the setting himself and rearranged us as professionally as any model shoot - he obviously does this a couple of times a day, ok reassess our superior western attitudes - again..)
Matt and Meaghan's elephant handler offered them a go 'up front'. Matt. surprisingly for us, took up the offer. I think it was getting a bit painful after about 20minutes, and they swapped back. Meaghan wasn't quite as game (nor would I have been to be perfectly honest..)
Using the first sketchy Thursday sketch for the year. Using supplies from my lovely friends, that I have previously mentioned, thank you Julie and Irini.
It was a great way to spend Christmas eve (better than the normal shopping spree and mad rush).
Have a great day and don't forget to check out the new Dollies challenge (featuring our guest designer for January, Amy Beaver) and keep an eye out for Southern Girls challenge, a new one should be up in the next couple of days. xx