The Elephant Boy
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 31 of 126 › view all entries
It was difficult to find a place for an early morning western breakfast. Heat and humidity began to build long before the morning traffic. Heavy trucks hauling topsoil to a construction site, tuk tuks, and cars all began to stir as riverside eateries finally began to open at 7:00. A motorbike carrying a wide load of bundled bamboo had already collided with an SUV, the only injury a broken mirror. But the traffic I awaited was the elephant. I had seen it each year that I sat for a morning meal along the Phnom Penh waterfront. I snapped a picture of the beast in March as I boarded a tuk tuk for the airport, but my camera lens had fogged after exiting an air-conditioned room into humid morning air. I sat earlier this morning, no fogging.
Sure enough, just after seven, the elephant silently made its way along the riverfront toward the Wat Penh Temple where it would work the day giving rides around the base of the hill. A boy walked its slow pace, coaxing it with a short stick. Other traffic respectfully slowed to pass the Asian Elephant, none blasting their horns or shouting impatience like other traffic.