About two months before our scheduled call in Thailand several crew could only talk about one thing to do in Thailand — ride an elephant. So that’s what we did. Thirty-six crewmembers set out on a journey of massive proportions, literally. The Pattaya Elephant Village provides a unique transportation experience over the course of the afternoon. We rode on probably the three slowest methods of transportation in the world: elephant, a boat that looked more like a backyard porch powered by two guys pulling a rope, and an ox cart.
The day started with a visit to the Pattaya Floating Market. It’s a maze of little huts built out over the water that contains shops and food stands. It was fun to walk around the market and purchase some very reasonably priced items. Next, we were off to the main event —- Elephant Village. Upon arrival we were briefed on the excursion and we were told to buy a couple of bunches of bananas to feed our transportation. Apparently they expect it and might not be happy if we didn’t provide this extra ‘fuel.’ So, with bananas in hand we were off to board our elephants. The hour long elephant ride took us through a small river (but we didn’t get wet) and, quite unexpectedly, the main roadway right alongside the cars and scooters.
After disembarking our four-legged transportation we trekked the jungle for a little while on our way to a silk house, where we were shown how to make silk. We then boarded our next transportation. Though we were told it was a boat it seemed more akin to the deck at the back of my house, complete with picnic tables! The two ‘captains’ turned a large wheel to reel in a rope that pulled us across the lake. It was a fun ride and everyone enjoyed the sunset as we crossed. We were given some fish food to throw in the lake so we could see the fish that lived there.
After landing on the other side of the lake we were directed to ox carts to finish our journey back to base camp and… DINNER! The ox carts were fun and actually had some speed. Upon arriving back at camp we enjoyed a nice Thai dinner and some local music. All in all it was a fun day. Traveling by elephant is okay but I think I will stick with my car. Besides, my car has way more trunk space! HA!! Sorry… I couldn’t help it.
Anthony Garofalo is Zaandam’s human resources manager. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.