Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kissing An Elephant

Day 22 – 03Aug2012

We left the hotel with full bellies after our delicious breakfast.  I did have to pay $5 for a bottled water…wasn’t too happy about that, not when you can get one for less than a dollar on the street…not cool. 

I wasn’t excited to load the bus again for the drive to Delhi, but it went a lot faster this time.  Amy and I talked about life and laughed at the precious little things we miss about home.  Our bus was out of commission for about a half hour due to a flat tire.  I was worried we were going to be delayed a lot time, but we weren’t.  We continued driving…and driving…and driving…

Until…Ramesh asked us if we still wanted to ride an elephant.  Of course I did!  We made a slight detour and stopped at little park.  I wish the states had this type of stuff, but I guess it wouldn’t be as special if we did.  Our elephant was beautiful!  He was a big and beautiful boy.  The other girls kept asking if it was a boy or girl and I couldn’t believe it because, well, it was quite obvious…if you know what I mean.  Elephants are no small animal.  I rode him with my roommates.  Even though Asian elephants are the smaller of the two species, he was enormous!  I had to climb a ladder to get on his back.  We rode around the park for a few minutes.  Sarah lost her flip flop along the way so the driver hopped down.  We were alone on that elephant for a minute or two.  It was kind of scary.  He seemed nice enough and well trained, but he was still an enormous wild animal…and he could kill us all if he wanted to.  But before you know it the trainer was back with us.  The elephant had lifted him to his head with his trunk…seriously!  Did that just happen?  Another trainer came to hurry us along and the elephant started running a bit.  I was holding on pretty tight.  I did reach down and touch the elephant’s haunches…he had very long elephant hair (Aleece, Mom – this should peak a memory…).  Before I knew it, it was over.  But the connection the elephant and I had was not.  We posed for pictures…and well, I kissed him.  I don’t usually kiss on the first date, but he had such charisma and was so handsome I couldn’t help myself.  By kiss, I really do mean that my lips physically touched his trunk.  He loved it!  I think. ;)  It was such a cool experience.  I did wipe my lips with a wet wipe when I got back to the bus though.  Sorry, buddy!  No offense…

We finished our drive back to Delhi.  That city really is massive.  We stopped at a mall to eat a late lunch.  It was Dominos and a McFlurry from McDonald’s for me.  We were always a spectacle…even in the big city.  Ramesh took us to one last place.  We stopped at a kind of Zen garden with a Buddha (Siddhartha, actually) statue at the top of a hill.  It was fun to stand up there and look across the big city one last time.

Our next stop was the airport.  We dropped off everyone that flying home that night as well as those flying back to Chennai.  I was a little jealous because I didn’t leave until the next day, but I was glad to have one last night in India.  I stayed at the Hotel Shanti Palace with four other girls, including Amy.  The hotel was nice enough.  It was a bit silly.  I had to physically sign a logbook and the keys were real keys…not those electric key cards you see most of the time.  It was about 6:00pm and we weren’t quite ready to be finished with the city so the five of us headed out one last time.  We stayed together walking along the busy street.  I was specifically looking for henna so I could be tattooed just before coming home, but we didn’t have any luck.  I was starting to get a bad feeling about wandering the streets and it was getting dark so we headed back.  At that time, I was kind of glad to be the “oldest and wisest” of the group because the other girls listened when I said I didn’t have a good feeling and that we should go back.  Later, Amy told me she felt the same so she was glad I said something.  Who knows what would have happened if we hadn’t listened.  I’m so grateful to have the spirit on my side.

We ate some ice cream in our hotel’s restaurant and headed to our rooms.  One of the girls had henna and I decided to have one of them tattoo me.  Her name was Jaime and she actually did a great job!  Amy and went talked until past 2:00am about life, about India...about how we were/are different.  We woke up at 4:30am to catch our flight back to the states.

Goodbye India…

Day 22 – Complete

Firsts/Realizations/Things to Remember:  The “view” from our hotel room and the tricks it played on Amy. 

Quote of the day: “You’ll be ok.  Just lower your standards.” – Kelsey 

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