Thailand - Surin
elephant capital

My ex-wife comes from Surin, the elephant capital of Thailand. I know, I know , it sounds like the beginning of a sad joke but it is true. She is very petite and small so the joke doesn’t work. (and she is surprisingly strong so I am afraid to tell any jokes in this direction anyway…)

The biggest of our non-stop tour of international weddings was there in Surin, and in order to make sure all our friends will take the five hour drive up to Surin, we chose to do the wedding in the elephant festival weekend.

During the annual elephant festival there is a  pachyderm pilgrimage of noble giants pacing their way to their old capital. Well, actually most of them come in huge trucks but the mental vision of hundreds of elephants walking in straight rows in the direction of Surin in the sunset is very romantic. I can already hear Elton john's version of elephant king.

Before I start waxing about the beauty of these grey monsters I just want to advice anyone who plans to have his wedding when there are hundreds of elephants in town, that hundreds of elephants eat a lot, and also, as nature goes, after they eat… well, I don’t need to continue. But maybe it was symbolic. Anyway, back to the elephants.

When you live in Thailand for enough years , seeing an occasional elephant is not very exciting. They are everywhere. But when the city, and in the end of the day Surin is not a small city, is overrun by hoards of elephants, big and small, it is an interesting experience.

First, as expected, you watch where you step. These are not doggies. If you step in it, you really step in it. That’s the last you are going to see that shoe. Second, you feel so small all of a sudden.  Real small. Small and fragile.

 

 
 

There is something grandiose about elephants. It is not only the size, not the mere mass that they occupy, it is a grandiose feeling, a gigantesque being that move as if they defy gravity in every step, as if walking through water, slow and determinate, strong yet strangely sensitive and almost delicate in its touch.

The smaller elephants, the children are the most interesting as you can see their evident curiosity coming to the big city and meeting all the cousins and friends, while the older ones are like veteran actors, with the main stars in the festival , the old bigger elephants moving in  distinguished gravitas, marching around like Shakespearean  stars of the stage, full of themselves and being  admired by the crowds.

The main attraction is the elephant show on the second day of the festival when historic elephant combats are reconstructed, dance and music choreographed for the normal size masses and the massive  size main protagonists. And of course, the crowd please football game which manages to be impressive even when you know how cheesy it is.

 

 

 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                     
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