I wouldn't have believed it unless I had seen it.
Yesterday, as I was motorcycling my way to the school fitness center for my daily exercise, I noticed two sets of travelers ahead, also going the same direction as I. Nearest me were two policemen on a motorcycle. In Thailand, the police have to buy their own motorcycles, so it's not unusual to see a couple cops doubling up on one bike. About 50 feet ahead of them was a full-sized Asian elephant lumbering along with two mahouts (elephant trainers) astride its back.
The police were slowly following the elephant and its riders, which seemed a bit suspicious. The ridiculous thought crossed my mind, "Wouldn't it be funny about now, to see the red lights flashing, hear the siren, and see the cops perform a traffic stop?" No sooner had the through crossed my mind, and that's exactly what happened.
Siren blaring, red lights, a wave of the hands, and the lumbering four-footed vehicle came to a dead stop, trunk waving in the air, ears flapping the flies away. As I blew by them on my own bike, I looked in the rear view mirror, and the policemen were dismounting their cycle with stern looks, ticket book in hand. The mahouts had that guilty look like they had just run a red light.
Of course, I didn't stop to listen in on the conversation, but a few more scenarios crossed my mind during my subsequent work-out session:
- "Ah, sirs can we see your Mahout's license please?"
- "Elephant vehicle registration, please? We have reports of a stolen elephant."
- "Are you aware that you are not traveling in the "Elephants Only" lane?"
- "Your elephant has a tail light out. "
- "You've got a broken tusk, here's a warning ticket. Get it fixed at the next vet's shop."
- "You were going under the minimum speed limit."
- "Did you see the "Hospital Zone--Quiet! No Trumpeting!" sign back there?
- "Would you jump down for a sobriety test, please? Oh, you haven't had anything to drink? OK, how much lemon grass has your elephant been grazing on today? He was definitely staggering. Would you ask him to put the end of his trunk on this breathing device and blow?"
- "We're lost. Are you guys from around here? We're looking for the nearest donut shop."All in a normal day in Thailand.
And the adventure goes on...