This was a very brief conversation because as stated previously Mahouts (to me) as like Thailand's cowboys. If we can characterize a cowboy I would say, hardened, brut, rustic, or even badass. One phrase I would not use to describe someone in this occupation is talkative and boisterous, needless to say the comments and dialogue that were brief, but meaningful.
Jhon Phen is the name of his elephant and for the past ten years he has been with him day in and day out. At age fifty six and one son he wants to provide for his family, like most of the men I was able to converse with. He noted that Jhon Phen is friendly with all other elephants but some days he won't let him Samaan Jai ride. I guess if Panwonjao was the naughty girl then John Phen must be the bad boy. Sisters Leila and Emma were partnered with the Samaan Jai and John Phen to create an unforgettable experience.