Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sri Lanka: The Elephant Orphanage - Part II

In Part I, we left our elephant herd as they made their way to the river to bathe. It was about a 1/4 - 1/2 mile walk through the city and across one of the streets to the river bank where you could watch the elephants (yes, the elephants cross the street and walk past a bunch of shops while the herders stop traffic and keep people away) There are two nicer hotels conveniently serving lunch on terraces overlooking the river so we settled in, ordered some curry, and enjoyed the view. It was even more fantastic due to the occasional downpours. (Remember we live in a sand box so any sight of rain makes us pretty happy these days.)

 To the right of where we were sitting was 90% of the group and all the cute little babies.
 We watched these two frolic for a while as the others looked on. Very cute - they were rolling around in the water and playing with each other.
To the left of us only two very large and old elephants were bathing in the deep pool. They could completely submerge themselves here. Our guide told us (and we witnessed) that these two got to bathe first in the deep pool, seemingly out of respect, but it's possible the herders set the whole thing up as it happened before we arrived. They bathed for 30-40 minutes alone here and then moved off to the bank and the rest of the herd moved in.
Here's the rest of the herd now taking their turn at the deeper pools to the left of where we were sitting. It was funny to see a whole elephant submerge itself. 
One curious member made a break for it and headed to the other side of the river. The herders here seem to be getting him/her to come back to the rest ...
But it was actually a fake out and he/she continued to try to escape. :) They eventually got everyone together again.

It was a beautiful day - not too hot and with a nice breeze. Definitely one of the more interesting lunches we've had.

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