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Big trunk, small balls…let’s play

You’ll also need a rope and a long, long mallet.  Sound kinky?  Get your mind out of the gutter, this is a clean blog!  I’m talking about elephant polo… of course.

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I’m currently at the annual Anantara Elephant Polo tournament held in the beach town of Hua Hin, about 3 hours drive south of Bangkok.  Yet another amazing Thailand experience, the tournament is held on an annual basis to raise funds for elephant charities such as the Thai Elephant Conservation Center (TECC).  It attracts a fabulous array of interesting characters from around the world, one of the reasons it has become one of the top events of the year.

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As you may suspect, elephant polo isn’t a particularly fast-paced game.  The 15 minute games (split into 2*7 minute sides) are played by young elephants, their life-long companion mahouts and a player.  For the elephants, it’s a holiday from their normal 10 hour work days.  As well as receiving a medical check and special feast, they supposedly enjoy playing (according to both their mahouts and experts).

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Most of the players are relative novices to polo however several are champion horse polo players as well as a smattering of movie stars, transvestite beauty queens and royalty.   Around the pitch was a great assortment of high end food and alcohol sponsors keen for you to try their products.  I happily obliged.

 

Posing with the competitive and beautiful Tiffany's performers

Posing with the competitive and beautiful Tiffany’s performers

I came across several experts in elephants and asked whether there are any gay and lesbian elephants.  Josh, who had worked with Buddy and Pedro the gay penguins, said that whilst you may see behavior of a sexual nature amongst elephants of the same sex, this is actually a play for dominance.  And male elephants never participate is the rearing of babies.  In his opinion there are no gay elephants.  However one of the mahouts told me that he knows many female elephants that refuse to have sex with male elephants – he suspects they may be lesbian.

Choosing mallets...only possible after being allocated an elephant

Choosing mallets…only possible after being allocated an elephant

What everyone could unanimously assure me however is that elephants have no prejudices against LGBT tourists.  Judging by the way one of the elephants had a good explore of my lower body with its trunk, I’d even go so far as to say that elephants prefer LGBT (perhaps there are gay elephants after all…).

Polo player and lover of elephants, GM of the The Siam, Jason Friedman

Polo player and lover of elephants, GM of the The Siam, Jason Friedman

Thailand has numerous fascinating festivals each year.  Some such as Loy Kratong (see http://gothaibefree.com/whos-been-naughty-loi-krathong-absolution-on-the-chao-phraya-river-bangkok/) and Songkran (see http://gothaibefree.com/happy-new-year-i-was-shot-by-an-elephant-songkran-in-thailand/) are celebrated nationwide, whilst others are peculiar to a particular province (see http://gothaibefree.com/a-gay-day-away-part-2-buffalo-racing-at-chonburi-festival/).  All are unique, steeped in tradition and showcase Thailand’s wonderful culture and sense of fun.

A word of advice from Beer Chang (elephant beer)

A word of advice from Beer Chang (elephant beer)

Whilst the Elephant Polo is a more modern event, it’s just as unique and still a load of fun – and I’m sure totally different from anything you’ve experienced before, making for unforgettable holiday memories.  Enjoy Amazing Thailand!

http://www.anantaraelephantpolo.com/helping-elephants.html

Some of the punters enjoying the polo

Some of the punters enjoying the polo


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