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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Washed My First Elephant Today

Made it to Sri Lanka on Tuesday. We took off right away to Uda Welewe, a nature preserve containing herds of wild elephants. Spent the night sleeping under the stars and listening to the birds. Saw maybe 40 or 50 elephants. One up close and personal. I've got the video. He was more curious than anything.

Today I gave my first elephant bath. Menike is her name. She lay on her side in a stream while I scrubbed her with split cocoanut husks. She seemed to enjoy it. He mahout (handler) told me "very good." It may have been the only english he knows. But, I'll take it.

It's the Sri Lankan New Year today. Fireworks have been going off all around us for days. Sounds like a war zone. No wait...it IS a war zone. But, no real shooting these days. Tomorrow the Millenium Elephant Foundation (where I'm staying) is having a New Years celebration for the locals. Prizes and games sort of thing. All the proceeds go toward the local poor. There's even a 10 kilometer race. Natch, I'm in. Funny, it's not like in the States here. Have yet to see anyone "jogging" for exercise, except maybe in the major city, Colombo. (Seems like the primary interest here is living and maybe cricket) AND it gets pretty hot here too. I wonder what this will be like. I haven't raced since 1999 and I don't intend to re-start. But I will go the distance.

Monday we're off to an agricultural village which suffers from a human-elephant conflict problem. The farmers expand their crop lands into the jungle which of course is the elephants' home. Thhe elephants take issue and strike back, often with disastrous results. We'll be providing alarm equipment, which alerts the villagers when an elephant is near and helps to scare them (the elephants) off. Later we'll work on building a schoolhouse for the village kids. We'll be gone a couple days.

I'm with a great bunch of folks. About six other volunteers, all Euros, mostly from the UK. I MAY be picking up a bit of a cockney accent. I'll be talking like the GEICO Gecko by the time I get back.



macy bryce said...

you rock.

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful, Mike.

Carry on, mate --- oops! wrong country.

Keep writing!

J.C. said...

Mike, when do we get a picture of you and an elephant?

Tammy said...