Thursday, October 8, 2009
This one is a little late, but about a week and a half ago five patients and their caretakers all went on an elephant ride :). We all piled into taxis, I think we had to take four to fit all the wheelchairs and everyone. My mom and I went in a car with another patient around my age and his dad as we were driving down the highway the driver suddenly pulled over to the edge of the road. Before we could say anything our driver started going in reverse on the highway into straight on traffic of motorcycles, rickshaws, and cars. On the side of the road were six elephants all lined up ready to go. We pulled into this itty bitty little driveway that could barely fit the car and got out. Somehow my mom and I got volunteered to go first so after everyone was out these guys started pointing at us telling us to "go go go." Next thing I know, I'm getting hoisted onto this elephant by five Indian men. I was still in shock that I was sitting on an elephant and that we were actually about to do this. My mom got on after me and I was told to hold onto the "Elephant man" who tells the elephant where to go. After tying us together my mom said she was ready to go. She had told me the elephant got up front feet first, then back. I think she forgot that because when the guy commanded the elephant to get up she screamed. Once the elephant was up we went along this trail and saw a couple little huts down in this super lush area. It was so pretty, I wish we had taken our camera out there instead of giving it to someone at the front to take our pictures. When we got back to where we had gotten on, the same five men helped me back off into my chair and we then waited for everyone else to go. I was definitely in shock the rest of the time that I had just ridden an elephant. After us a quadriplegic rode the elephant with a caretaker, which was amazing to watch how brave she was and trusting she was of everyone to do that. Then another person with Lyme induced ALS went with a caretaker. After he went the two mothers of them went and we got the funniest picture of their reaction as the elephant was rising. It sure was a fun day. I'm still kind of in shock that I actually rode an elephant in that sketchy of an area, but it was an experience that would probably only happen here in India.