So with backpacks packed to max and my guitar slung over my shoulder... off we went.
My friend Steve took us to Mexicali where we needed to catch our train. We arrived early afternoon. I could smell adventure in the air, and wanted to ride it like a stallion. We parked the car and got out to explore the city on foot. Steve, who was a family friend, was nervous about our plans to travel unescorted through Mexico. Despite him wanting to handcuff us to him for safety reasons, he reluctantly followed along behind us.
People were lined up on the streets so we pushed through the crowd to see what was going on. A parade was heading our way. The circus had come to town, and they were seducing every man, woman and child to follow them to the circus tents set up in a large arena nearby. How could anyone resist an invitation as sweet as this? Loud music, clowns, acrobats, caged tigers and brightly painted elephants... sweet surrender.
It was a hot day and I was grateful I'd worn my sundress; a short, short sundress, a favorite of mine. Carol had on cutoff shorts and a halter top. We stood out in the crowd of locals, Carol being blond and Scandinavian looking, and me being tall, and wearing a dress that barely covered my tush. Steve noticed the Mexican men had no objections to overtly voicing their approval of two gringo senoritas. He almost growled at the lustful men gawking at us. Carol and I laughed off his sudden 'big brother' attitude. I think back now at how gallant, and caring he was. He was my brothers best friend, and felt responsible for us. He followed us, as we followed the circus, to the arena.
We climbed up the bleachers to get a good seat to watch the preview show of what we could expect to see inside the big tent. I'd never been to a circus before and was swept up in the excitement like dust on a Swifter pad. The men handling the wild animals and elephants noticed Carol and I in the stands. They began making eye contact, and gestures as if showing off for us. Truthfully I was more charmed by the elephants. I loved them since I first saw the Disney movie 'Dumbo'. My lifetime dream had been to ride an elephant so I was fantasizing about an elephant ride not a rendezvous with a circus worker.
When the preview show broke up the men motioned for us to come down from the stands to join them. Who can resist a man with an elephant? Not I! Down I came stepping over small children as if they were hurdles. I wanted to touch, pet, hug and look an elephant in the eye--directly. I fell into the arms opportunity with no reservations. My dream was coming true.
I suppose the circus workers knew an elephant had charms to draw women to them just as a puppy does. There was no hiding my joy and gratitude for being asked to see the elephants. I was putty in their hands. I marveled at the elephant's eyes so small yet so wise, and trunks reaching out to touch my skin and their huge feet shifting weight back and forth rhythmically, hypnotically. I was drunk on peanut breath and their giant ears that fanned my face in the sweltering heat.
A crowd had formed around us by now. One of the men invited Carol and I to take a ride on the elephants. I couldn't contain my joy. I squealed out loud like a monkey being handed a banana. The men used a stick to signal the elephants to kneel down so we could climb up. It was still a long way up even after they knelt. Carol accepted the boost up by a couple of guys and I watched as her elephant rose up graciously with her on its back.
I moved to the bent knee of my elephant, which makes a step at the elbow, to mount it just as Carol had done. The elephants handlers bent down, and cupped their hands for me to put my foot in for my boost up. I grabbed a hold of the side of the elephant's ear per their instruction when I noticed an alarming sight. Underneath the polka dots painted on the thick skin was some of the meanest, baddest, wiriest hairs I'd ever seen. They looked like porcupine quills or thick needles poking up everywhere. They felt like it, too. That's when I remembered an important item.
I was not prepared for an elephant ride that day.
Firstly the short skirt I was wearing exposed a lot of skin. Secondly, and most importantly, having a carefree spirit as I did... I went commando all the time. Yes, yes, yes, I know! What was I thinking by going without my panties wearing a short skirt???? Truth of the matter I never gave it a thought. I never once thought anyone would know I wasn't wearing underwear. My skirt covered my ass... well barely... now that I'm looking back on it with wiser eyes. (one day I'll tell you another story about wearing that same dress horseback riding.... Lord I just realized I may have been an exhibitionist. Holy CRAP!)
In my defense, where I came from was a large hippie community in Ojai, CA and none of my friends wore underwear either. Heck we hung out at the nude swimming holes, nude beaches and regularly participated in sweat lodges... sans bathing suits, too. HOWEVER... suddenly this was not so cool in another country, hundreds of miles away from the safety of my com padres back at the commune I lived in.
There was no blanket on the elephant's back. I thought of the hairs poking my... ummmm... well no need to paint you a picture at this point. I'm sure you have a visual now whether or not you wanted one. Next, I thought of the guys hoisting me up and the entire crowd of people seeing my 'woo-hoo' as I straddled the elephant. I turned a bright shade of yellow like the cowardly lion. The men saw my hesitation and started chanting in unison for me to slip my foot in their hands. It was then I also realized they must have know I had no panties on from their view of the bleachers as I sat there childlike (and probably unladylike unbeknown to me) watching the parade. Oh Lawdy... I'd only been in Mexico for an hour and I already had made some memories.
Inside I was so mad at myself for not having my cutoffs on like Carol. They were leading her around like the Queen of the jungle while my butt got a rash just thinking about rubbing against the coarse hairs I never knew elephants had before seeing one up close and personal. I didn't want my butt to know this kind of intimacy EVER and backed slowly away from the elephant, the now disappointed men, and chose to spare the small children the peep show.
The moral of the story???
If you want to ride an elephant
in the circus
you GOTZ to have your
monkey pantz on...
I now have this on my 101 list.
Ride an elephant...
with my monkey pantz on.
For those of you who are new to my blog or just passing through there's a definition of monkey pantz on my sidebar, and here is the link to my 101 Creative To Do list. 101 LIST