As yesterdays cross country driving had given Joe RSI, exhaustion and nightmares, we had a day off driving at the Mekong straddling, ex French Colonial town of Luang Prabang. On advice from Stijn and Uli, we decided to spend a day at the Elephant sanctuary, riding, feeding and bathing the Elephants.

All the Elephants were female, and had been ‘retired’ from their previous careers working in the logging forests. They had wise eyes, pinkish grey floppy ears and like many women their age, quite a few spiny whiskers around the face.

Although the Elephants clearly had a jam packed day of eating sugar cane and ferrying tourists around on their necks, we managed to give them a bath in the river in the afternoon, and as luck would have it, I got the naughty elephant (or was he a naughty trainer? none too sure) and ended up spending most of bathtime submerged in the river up to my neck, then being lurched back and forth whilst the elephant thrashed the water with her trunk. Neither washer nor washed ended up clean by the end, but both ladies enjoyed themselves immensely.

That night, we got chatting to a couple who we’d seen at the Elephant sanctuary, only to find out that they’d recently surfed Balian Beach and had heard Joe’s shark tales of infamy. Of course Joe couldn’t resist showing them the photos…tis a small world.