So, we rented some push bikes and set off for Peanut Farm. 100 meters out of the gate, Jerry fell over and skinned his knees. He had blood running down his legs but the cuts weren’t deep. We said we’d wash it in the ocean and moved on. South of Arugam Bay is a surreal landscape, surrounded by a sea of dry paddy fields, parades of water buffaloes, peacocks. Even elephants.
We left Peanut Farm because it was getting dark and we’d been warned not once or twice but thrice about elephants. At least I had. I also ran into an elephant on the way to the bar once (in Yala) and he tried to kill me. I avoid wild elephants like Minister’s sons, and I’d heard they were causing trouble in Arugam Bay.
The Good Part
So we’re on the main road back, a few meters from the STF (military police) camp. We see an elephant in the distance, like 100 meters away. This is a safe distance for an elephant, plus we’re on bikes. We stop to look. The elephant looks back. Then, in an instance, he’s surrounded by a cloud of dust. He’s charging us.
This would be terrifying, but he’s also a hundred meters away. And closing fast. Halik and I turn our bikes around to pedal away. Jerry dropped his bike like a little girl and ran away from the elephant on foot. There was a flatbed truck with like 15 people on it passing by and he ran towards the truck. When we saw him he was trying to clamber inside. The people were very confused.
We biked a safe distance and laughed our asses off. The thing is, we were all safe, but the elephant was still there, stalking Jerry’s bike like a prize. We were terrified that he was plotting a second attack and hemmed and hawed for a while until some guys with guns passed by.
Luckily, every third guy in that area has an automatic weapon capable of felling an elephant. So we crossed as those guys crossed, picked up Jerry’s bike and sped off. He’d been consistently lagging behind but he led the rest of the way home.