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Itchy Feet "I am going because I would have no peace if I stayed" - Donald Crowhurst.

ELEPHANTS, ENGLISH CLUB & MY LEGS ARE GOING BATTY!

INDONESIA | Monday, 4 August 2014 | Views [527]

This morning, a pile of half-chewed wood was on our bathroom floor.  When I closed the door, it was evident that the bottom corner of the door was missing.  Dave said he heard something chewing & munching in the night.  Maybe it was a rat?

 

After breakfast, we rode in the tray of a ute, along the bumpy, dusty road, past cows & goats & lazing cats until we reached the elephants at CRU.  CRU is the Conservation Response Unit, part of the EcoTourism in Tangkahan.  The main task of the elephants here is to protect the Gunung Leuser National Park from people illegally logging. Tourists like us, pay to ride the elephants & wash them in the river, which helps fund their feeding & their important eco-work. 

 

Dan & I washed Yuni in the river.  She was laying on her side and we cleaned her using big laundry scrubbing brushes.  She loved it!  She lay there with her eyes closed, showing off her beautiful long lashes while having a little snooze.  At the mahout’s instruction, she stood up and lay down on her other side so she got scrubbed all over.  Her skin was so thick & grey & wrinkled - just gorgeous!  We fell in love with her. She had such a gentle nature.

 

We fed another elephant, putting whole bananas into her mouth, as well as pieces of sugarcane & melon.  We put some food right onto her tongue & then we held some to her trunk.  She ever so gently took it from our hands & placed it in her own mouth.  Wow!

 

Dan & I went with Budi the mahout on Tao, the only male elephant.  We climbed a staircase & threw our leg over & away we went, walking gently down the hill and through the shallow river all the way into town.  Elephants are such giant beautiful creatures. It was a lovely experience.  When Dan & I hopped off, Budi let Tao have another dunking in the river.  You can see the joy they get from being in the water.  They just love it!

 

We headed straight away toward the village to go to English Club.  English Club is held after formal school is over for the day.  It goes for 2 hours & it’s for any kids in the village who want to learn English.  We were invited to go by Raja who we picked up as a hitchhiker on the drive here from Medan a few days ago.  We had lots of fun & games.  Literally!  All the learning was in the form of games with singing, dancing & clapping.  We all stood in a circle & through a soccer ball to someone who had to answer a question in English.  It was a lot of fun & the kids laughed & laughed.  I think I would love to do this for 3 months as a volunteer.  We’ll see… 

At the end of the class the kids all shook our hands & skipped out the door.

 

In the evening, we sat in the Jungle Lodge restaurant for five hours, chatting with the staff & a Dutch family & Natalie, a Kiwi who lives in Melbourne.  While Alex played guitar & sang, we watched as a lightning storm lit up the jungle behind us.  There were loud cracks of thunder & 3 or 4 bats zipped in & out of the open air restaurant.  One of them peed on me!  The restaurant is a wooden building on stilts, balanced precariously on boulders.  In amongst the rocks below is a bat cave & the bats appear at night to eat insects.  As rain tinkled on the tin roof & built up into a loud hammering, we switched tables so as not to get too wet.  Frogs were croaking, crickets were fighting to be heard above the din & we watched a spider versus gecko fight to the death.  The gecko was triumphant & ate his meal in 3 gulps, eyes bulging widely. 

 

As we got up to leave & retire to our rooms for the night, all wearing coloured  loom-band bracelets that the little Dutch girl made us, I found it difficult to walk.  My lower legs & feet had swelled up like sausages bursting out of their skins.  None of my toes touched the floor!  Why?  Was it from sitting still for hours?  Was it DVT from the plane 3 days ago?  Was it something I ate?  Was I allergic to bat pee?  At the restaurant doorway, I could hardly squeeze my chubby feet back into my thongs.  Thongs!  We walked back to our room under fat droplets of rain & I lay on the bed, my legs raised & resting on my backpack until I fell asleep.

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