I am so tired typing this. We have been up since 6, after a long day yesterday, and haven’t stopped all day.
Before breakfast we headed to Kodanad, along the river, where the department for wildlife have an orphanage and training centre for elephants.
We waited, as requested, by the river bank for the elephants to come for their baths. Whilst waiting we enjoyed the psalms floated across the river from a large Catholic Church enjoying early Mass; we looked at millipedes, butterflies and lizards; we photographed leaves and rain drops and I reminisced about a fern I remembered that shrunk away on touch. The driver found me some growing nearby.
Ladies washed their laundry; the slapping of saris against rocks in rhythm with the cicadas in the damp trees above us.
With a whistle we turned to see the four elephants lumbering down the path towards us, trainers sitting astride and tourists in their wake.
We were fortunate to be able to stroke Sunita, a 45 year old cow, with gentle, watery eyes. One of the younger girls, Parvati, was very mischievous – my favourite! As they lay in the water being scrubbed from top to tail, their trunks as snorkels in the air, Parvati tried to sneak a stick to poke at her trainer! She got caught, but a lovely moment. What a wonderful opportunity to watch these magnificent and beautiful animals up close.
It was also a learning experience. This department are helping orphaned elephants and training them to help them in their work in the reserve, by using them to discourage wild elephants from venturing too near to human settlements. They are trying to improve a formerly stunning environment which is slowly deteriorating due to lack of knowledge and understanding of pollution etc.
After our elephant experience we stopped for an Indian breakfast and then picked up Mary and her two sons Abhi and Akhil. We had a great day laughing and giggling in and out of pricey shops and through the Dutch palace museum where we certainly could not touch or photograph anywhere! A delicious dhal and roti ‘lunch’ at 5 pm preceded a look around St Francis Catholic Church which is currently being renovated but has a real feeling of colonial life with its ancient fans hanging above the pews waiting to be pulled by some wallah or other. We looked at the Chinese fishing nets and finally got some shopping in!! Christmas shopping is nearly done for me!!
Another fantastic but totally different day and tomorrow we are up at 6 for our first visit to the school. Can’t wait to meet them all!