I saw an ad for elephant rides, so I figured, why not? Not exactly something I can do in most places.
I remember finding the place was a troublesome. It was a bit far out, and the scooter cab driver wasn’t exactly certain either. But eventually he got me there. Remember, there was no google maps at this point. There wasn’t even an iPhone! But alas, the elephant ride itself wasn’t as interesting as I imagined it prior.
If I’m remembering correctly, there never were any elephants living natively in Samui. They were brought in for tourists like me. At the end they let me feed my elephant bananas, which he (or she?) was eager to eat. But as I fed him, he started crying. It was a really thought provoking moment. After seeing those tears, it was the first and last time I’ll be riding an elephant.
I stopped back by the beach for a couple hours after. This is what it looks like, though my pictures do minimal justice to how pretty the water really was (or at least, I remember it that way). One thing unique I do remember is how far out you could walk without it getting deep. It stayed shallow for well over a hundred meters.
The beach was not crowded at all despite being in a backpacker section of the island with a lot of budget accommodations. I still remember meeting a Russian in the water (he was also alone) so I figured I’d make some small conversation.
Me: Where are you from?
Guy: “Soviet Union”. (He didn’t say “Russia”)
Me: Ah nice, I’m from the States
Guy: “I hate Americans”.
Me: “Ah… my family is from Korea…”.
Anyways, the conversation didn’t last much longer, and soon I was out of the water and on my way to the Big Buddha. I didn’t make any new friends that day. Definitely didn’t on the beach 🙂 I don’t remember the man’s face, but his demeanor and blingy gold chain necklace…. Priceless memories!
So this was the first Buddha I’ve ever seen. Countless more to come later on this blog. For some reason, I feel like this was one of the happiest looking I have seen too. If you google image “big buddha samui”, you’ll notice now that he’s received some serious upgrades since 2005.
At the temple I also so a monk for the first time in my life.