The guests at BLES had a very educational experience today, their second day observing Mee Chok’s target training session and Pang Suai’s pedicure. In both cases they observed in silence, and later expressed sheer amazement at how relaxed and confident Pang Suai was today. Yesterday was her first experience with the new foot trimming ramp and pedicure. It took her close to thirty minutes to walk up the ramp and settle in for her first-ever pedicure. But today, she casually sauntered up the ramp without hesitation, presenting her toes off the end like a pro.
The guests commented on the difference in her comfort level from yesterday, recognizing that her positive experience yesterday contributed to her confidence today. Pang Suai cooperated fully, without reservation or resistance. She actually appeared to enjoy the foot trim and extra attention.
As soon as Pang Suai’s pedicure was complete, Mee Chok and family emerged from the pond and headed toward the training corral. He was full of energy and wasted no time showing off what he had learned the day before. Within minutes we were all in stitches watching his antics. Mee Chok was fully engaged and nearly over-the-top with enthusiasm. Seriously over the top!
As soon as he heard me say “telle,” he effortlessly scaled the corral and with complete control flung his front feet over the railing—the top railing! His legs were dangling quite comfortably over the railing which is higher than he is tall.
It was the funniest sight and a most amazing display of agility. The entire group of onlookers and I were roaring with laughter, which of course fed Mee Chok’s sensational mood. He was having such fun and loving the reaction of the onlookers. But what he did next sent us all into fits of hysterical laughter.
When asked for “kalang”(back leg), Mee Chok flung one back leg over the railing, followed instantly by the other leg, which he placed on the railing above, resulting in both his back legs sticking through the space between the horizontal railing. Then, in one graceful continual motion, Mee Chok effortlessly walked his back legs up the rungs of railing, nimble as a spider monkey. I could hardly believe what I was seeing: his front feet on the ground, back legs poking through the upper railings with his bum sticking high up in the air.
It was hilarious! I couldn’t help it; I totally lost my composure and joined everyone in laughter-of-appreciation for Mee Chok’s agility and humor. Athletic only begins to describe this little man’s physical coordination; he is seriously agile. He was exhibiting unbridled enthusiasm for the game, his joy was contagious. It was impossible to take this session too seriously — Mee Chok had taken the training game to a whole new silly level!
The guests were in awe of Mee Chok’s agility, ability to learn so quickly and his willingness, even eagerness, to engage in the training game. Each expressed their sincere appreciation for the opportunity to witness the foot trimming and training sessions. It was marvelous to hear them comment on their surprise at “how smart elephants really are,” how “after only one session Pang Suai was completely comfortable with climbing onto the ramp today” and how “Mee Chok learned so much in only fifteen minutes.” Listening to their observations filled me with gratitude for a lifetime spent with elephants.