Arugam Bay remembered. by Bob Palmer

Angry Elephant. (Unknown file photo)

Angry Elephant. (Unknown file photo)

The three Brave (?) Boys and the Elephants

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Happy Birthday, Bob!
This story was received at today, Bob Palmer’s Birthday. Thanks for sharing your memories with us, mate!

The whole time we were at the Siam View Resort in Eastern Province of Sri Lanka at Arugam Bay, with Fred and Somlak, two of the nicest host and hostess you could have, we noticed that the occupancy was not 100 percent surfers. Which you might expect at a place were there where numerous surf spots that were very good.

No. the occupancy we about 70 percent surfers and 29 percent people that were there to see the wildlife at the National Park. The other 1 percent was Peter the local drunk obnoxious scum who flashed unsuspecting tourist as he was dressed modestly with a towel only- always. Hello Peter! Hope you are fortunate to learn of this. Maybe you can clean up your act. The National Park had elephants, jaguars, wild boar, alligators, monkeys, peacocks, bears, etc. Each evening at dusk you would become aware of the friends at the resort as they prepared to leave on special viewing tours at favorite watering holes where you could see the wildlife emerge from the jungle.

As the surf was very good when we were there we surfed every day. We got up early and left for a favorite spot then came back, showered, ate, read, napped but didna??t venture out into the National park.

One surf spot was located where we drove through the National park and we did see elephants grazing occasionally. As they were grazing along the road we looked but did not linger. We were in a tuk tuk and they were wild, not zoo animals. As we also went by rivers and had to hike a ways to another spot along a river we were told to watch out for alligators as they had in fact been known to eat people.

Any way, one evening we were sitting around at the resort and we thought, why not? Leta??s go see whata??s all the fuss about with all these elephants and wild life. So, we asked Upali our driver to take us out to have a look see. He said that it was actually an iffy thing as you never know were they will come to. One night you might see them, the next night at the same place maybe not. We drove out in his tuk tuk and he suddenly braked. a??Looka??, he said. We looked, we didna??t see! a??Where?a??
Upali: a??There by the jungle, the three elephants.a??
a??Ohhhha?? , we said. Seeing now that, yes there were three elephants among the trees and only because he saw, did we see.
We got out and walked toward them. We were at some distance from them but in a really good position to watch them unobstructed and not bother them. The fact of the matter was that we were at a calculated distance that if they became annoyed with our presence for any reason, who knows, certainly not a guy from Hawaii or a girl from metro Russia, we would be able to get in the tuk tuk and begone before we could become part of the dirt.
As we watched them they were walking along the stream bed toward a small village maybe 150 yards away. In the village three boys took notice and immediately charged out yelling and picking up sticks and beating them on logs or the earth. The elephants ignored them. The boys drew closer and also now started throwing stones in the direction of the elephants. But not hitting them. We asked Upali why were they doing this. He told us that the elephants do occasionally enter villages and knock over small trees to eat fruit or graze on their gardens.

As the boys drew closer the bull elephant suddenly lifted his head and raised his trunk letting out a trumpet roar. The boys froze. The bull elephant looked at them and then went back to more interesting things on the ground. The boys resumed their tactics, beating sticks and throwing more stones. The elephants turned now and started to return to the jungle. The boys full of themselves became braver and taunted the elephants with louder gears and more gestures, now throwing their sticks and more sticks and stones by the elephants. The elephants entered the jungle. The boys went right up next to the jungle and stood and peered in.
Here at this point one might consider an appropriate axiom: Let well enough be! Let a??s see.
One boy with a stone, throw it. Thunk! Roar! The boys jumped! The boys took off back toward the village discovering quickness that had eluded mankind previously. Puffs of dust rising into the air from each young foot left hanging there to be consumed by a much large puff of dust from a much larger movement: the bull elephant in full throttle pursuit.
The boys entered the village and vanished behind walls.
The bull elephant suddenly slammed all fours coming to a stop. A cloud of dirt and dust bellowing into the air. Lifting his head and raising his truck, he roared again. He stood there. Watching. Waiting. Daring. It became quiet. No movement. No sound. Still the elephant stood is ground.
After a moment which felt like forever, the elephant turned and slowly returned to his waiting female companions. Still no movement or sound in the village.
We looked at each other. Upali was the first to speak: a??Well, let me assure you, you just saw something that I have never seen or heard about in my life.a??

Posted by Bob Palmer at 6:07 AM

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