‘How’d everyone sleep?’
Why did I bother with that question. Everyone looks miserable, and no wonder. Bamboo “mattress”, a folded up, suspiciously wet, termite infested “blanket” as a pillow, and another to sleep under. Dogs howling their way through the night, mosquito’s stinging body parts you didn’t even know they could get to… in short, “sleep” is a liberal take on what we did.
And now we have to hose ourselves down with brown water, get back into our damp clothes, and trek the entire day. Luckily, breakfast arrives: sugared toast and a muddy mush that passes as coffee. Fuck.
Okay, well if we get going surely we’ll feel better. Looks like it’s a serious ‘if’ at the moment: Jip is high and trying to count the beers we drank last night, Janneke is wandering around looking lost, King Kong has vanished. All in all it takes three hours for them to get moving.
Once we get moving, we soon end up in thick jungle, on a steep descent. I’m not kidding when I say steep: Jip and Janneke have cut us bamboo spears to steady ourselves on the way down. Nevertheless, more than half the group suffers a fall, and all of us end up equally bruised and scraped. Then it starts raining. Myrthe and I are in heaven. This is exactly what we wanted out of this trip, we’re grinning all the way down.
An hours’ trek later and we’re at the elephant camp. The grins die on our faces. We were told we would bathe elephants, but all of these are saddled, most carrying two tourists and a guide on their heads, carrying a huge cane to hit the gentle beast with. The only one that isn’t saddled is chained to a rock. He’s so miserable that he’s taken to hugging the rock with its trunk for company. Tourists cram around him, stuffing sugar cane into his mouth, taking selfies and laughing.
I feel like crying, and Myrthe looks in a similar state. We need to get out of there. We can’t do anything about it, all we can do is refuse to contribute and witness the cruelty in front of us.
Luckily Jip realises we’re not happy and half an hour later, we’re on the move again. Thank god. This time, we’re off to a waterfall.
We walk up in ten minutes, we stay five, and walk back down again. Done.
We move off again, this time to go white water rafting. That cheers us up significantly. Four germans and us crammed into a tiny little plastic boat, rolling through wild currents and smashing against rocks. We’re having a great time. Once we’re out of the wild currents, we fall out of the raft one by one, and finish our trip on a high: a water fight in the middle of a gorgeous, fast moving river. Nothing beats that.
Hope you enjoyed this 2-part-tale! Back soon with more tales!