Hunting the Hummingbird - by David C Hoffman

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sri Lanka Post 3 - Elephants!!!


Next up on our tour was Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage...


We were SOOOOO excited about this part of our trip! We'd researched the orphanage before we booked the trip, and were so pleased to learn it's well kept and the elephants are cared for with love. We knew it would be depressing to visit if the animals weren't cared for! Kandy really takes pride in it's elephants, and we were told by several people that the workers in the orphanage love the elephants more than their families =)


Within our first few steps inside the orphanage, we saw an elephant...Sister was SO excited!



We went up a little hill and some workers called A over to visit an elephant. Our animal loving girl just wandered over there like a moth to a flame...



...up close and personal...




This sweet elephant let us pet her, and I don't know if you can see A's expression here, but she is in awe!!!




Our family with an elephant! L was a little nervous, but still pretty excited!




We wandered over a bit to an open area where a bunch of elephants were grazing...






So surreal to be so close to them! There were a handful of orphanage staff around to make sure you didn't get in the middle of what the elephants were doing, but other than that, it was like we were all hanging out together...elephants and people...crazy!


It started to rain a bit here, but we could not have cared less!



Next we went over to a feeding station and the kids took turns feeding this elephant some fresh fruit...










Watermelon, pineapple and banana...with the rinds and peels and all!













Next up was feeding time for the baby elephants! This is a big attraction at the orphanage, twice a day...once in the morning and once in the afternoon. We were there for the afternoon feeding, and by the time we made our way over to that area, it was pouring! Luckily our little Oregonians didn't seem to mind...




A baby elephant getting his milk in a bottle!







Each baby drank about five bottles...





This little guy just decided to lay down and roll a bit in the leaves and rain...






A baby elephant walked RIGHT passed us, and Sister even got to reach out and touch him!! 







And just when you thought it couldn't get any cooler...we RODE ONE.

For reals.

We got to meet Monika, a 34 year old elephant who took people for a stroll down the river.

Sister and I were up first...



Sister was extremely excited, and not at all nervous. I was a teeny bit nervous...I mean, what if Monika just decides "nope. No more. Today's the day I go rogue. Today's the day I make a break for it in the river, no matter who is on my back..." but mainly I was just IN AWE...I was taking an elephant ride with my daughter down a river in Sri Lanka!! 










Monika was so sweet, and Sister and I kept telling her "good job" and thanking her =). 
















A giving Monika a big hug when our ride was just about over...







Next up were the boys...



















While the riders and Monkia are in the river, her handler walks a pathway along side. We learned there are 20 words in "elephant language", and her caretaker would call out to her as we walked along. 







...and she'd lift her trunk to "pose" when he called out to her to do so...






They'd asked if we wanted an elephant shower. Sister and I adamantly turned down the offer, but David and Brother were all for it! 
Brave boys!

So, towards the end of their stroll, the caretaker gave the request to spray the boys, and Monika obeyed!
















My wet, brave, elephant riding boys...







I mean...AMAZING. Simply amazing.


After saying goodbye to Monika, we went back to the van so the boys could put on some dry shirts, and then went to find some lunch.

We walked around some outdoor markets along the way...













Sugee led us to a fantastic restaurant, with the most amazing view ever...












A late afternoon lunch on the river banks, watching elephants bathe themselves...


...amazing.



We were leaving the restaurant and the kids were like "hey take our picture with this elephant statue!" 
We just took your pictures on top of an elephant, but sure, next to a statue as well =)





video

Then when we were heading back to the van, this happened...



Hold up just a bit...elephants have right-of-way...






Such an incredible afternoon!!!

 One we'll never forget to be sure.




1 comment:

  1. That was just the most entertaining post!! Love the elephant riding pictures -- and hats off to the "boys" for getting an elephant shower. How many people can say that?

    Love, Aunt Carol

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