Thursday, August 04, 2005

Furry Friends in Phuket

Where'd all the bananas go?

Richard, a ThornTree regular, took us to visit his pal Charlie at an elephant trekking outpost on a hilly road between Kata and Rawai. He brought a bag full of fruit as a present. A health nut? No, Charlie's a gibbon with a fondness for mangosteens.

We started off leisurely peeling mangosteens and bananas for Charlie and another resident gibbon. Then one by one, the elephants returned from their trek. Eager trunks started snaking their way over to the table, attempting to snatch the entire bunch of banana. I was hastily breaking off chunks of watermelon and feeding them to the elephants as fast as I could hand them over, in a vain attempt to ensure that the goodies were equitably distributed. In a few minutes most of the fruit disappeared into those cavernous mouths... leaving two still-hungry apes, batting away trunks as they savored the last mangosteen. Four friendly elephants. My dad would love this place, gotta invite him next time.

Charlie was chilling out, enjoying being groomed by bemused visitors. Apparently, Richard tells us, groom a gibbon for a few minutes and you’ll be accepted as part of the family.

This is part 3 of a series on Phuket. Read part 1 and part 2 on other pages of this blog.

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