Here are some more pictures from Thailand. My nephew Gary and I got to go on an elephant ride. We walked to a dock and the elephant came up beside and waited for us to hop on. The seat was a little creaky and rickety for my tastes but it hadn't killed anyone yet (that I saw while I was there.) The entire seat contraption was held down by a single skinny rope which wrapped under the elephant's front legs.
A driver got on with us. He instructed us to scoot to one side so the seat was better balanced and wouldn't fall off. Gulp. I tried to act calm about what he just told me, but it was slightly unsettling. After we headed out into the jungle area, the driver hopped off and was gone! He let us go on our own.
Watch your step.
It's a strange feeling to be up on top of a massive animal with no way to steer or stop. The elephant strolled anywhere it felt like going. It walked down into a gully to eat some leaves and I thought we were gonna fall off, but the rope held. We stayed as balanced as possible so the seat never rolled around under the elephant's belly dropping us out into the trampling zone.
The elephant was as nice as you could hope for and I did enjoy it.