Dear blogreaders, where to begin.....
We left Kathmandu early in the morning and spent about an hour trying to get out of the city, I tell you, rush hour in Kathmandu is worse than Amsterdam or London :-). We finally hit the 'highway' and got stuck in two further traffic jams going around the mountain road (I use the term mountain very loosely as in Nepal they are pretty much just hills, although to us they looked like mountains!). Eventually we made it to the point on the Seti river where the white water rafting was taking place. After a brief instruction on what to do (and not to do), we head off. Bearing in mind that it was both our first time rafting like this we had a whale of a time. We stopped off for lunch on the river bank and then carried off down some more difficult rapids on the way to Chitwan. The only time I left the raft was to jump into the river for a swim and to cool off. Jumping in was pretty graceful but getting back into the raft had the apearance of an expert angler landing a large tuna, flopping around in the bottom of the boat. But all good fun and thoroughly enjoyable.
THankfully our driver picked us up and we drove the rest of the way to Chitwan. We were in time to watch the elephants having a bath after a day of safariing and also to see the sun set over the jungle. Next day bright and early we went off in a canoe (with some other people!) and travelled around the edge of the jungle, spotting crocodile on the way. We got off and walked all the way back. The guides must have a great time scaring all the tourists. After our 'safety talk' on what to do if confronted by a bear or wild elephant, (and if you want to know - bears: make a lot of noise and make yourself look big, elephant: run in a zig zag into the jungle), we proceeded into the hot, sultry depths of Chitwan. Our guide took great delight in turning to us urgently and sushing us and ducking down low only for him to say - I thought it was an elephant. I think it was a ruse to scare us all because from that moment on our hearts were pounding and there was a tiger behind every bush. Of course there was none of that of course, we did see the rare one horned Rhino quite close and lots of birds, butterflies and insects.
If you want to discover the true meaning of the word 'sweating' go to Chitwan!
After our jungle walk we then went on a elephant safari. Me and Paul and a Japanese couple sat in the 'howdah' and we ambled off in search of more wildlife. As it goes anywhere in the world when you are experiencing a moment of tranquility and awe at nature, the blokes mobile phone goes off. Not content with switching it off he proceeds to have a conversation with whoever is stupid enugh to call him. Not wanting to miss my opportunity of ever being able to say this again, I said - tell them you are on an elephant! At which point he switched it off in embarassment. But revenge is sweet and as him and his lady were sitting at the front of the elephant they got all the bugs, leaves, thorns, branches, cobwebs etc and by the time he branches got to us they were bug free :-)
In the evening we went to a cultural show which was highly enjoyable and I (Wendy) did participate in the group dancing at the end.
If you want to discover the real meaning of sweating - go to Chitwan and dance for 20 minutes :-)
The next day we transferred to Temple Tiger which is one of a fw lodges actually in the park itself, the journey was a 40 min bus ride, wait for an hour, 40 min bus ride, 20 min canoe ride, 15 min jeep ride. We figured that as that part of the jungle is less popular there would be a better a chance of seeing tiger. And that night we did............
.... during a slide show of wildlife in the park (and that was the only one we saw!)
It was an amazing place to stay and is completely unprotected from the animals. We took an evening elephant safari and saw more rhino and some deer, and then dinner and to bed.
The next daywe had to get up early for the transfer to Pokhara. We had 5 hours on the bus and finally arrived, The hotel was rubbish so today we have switched to a much nicer gaff, one where the toilet flushes. I am not necessarily a luxury girl but I do like a toilet that flushes (sounds like a Noel Cowerd song), and the rest of the day has been spent writing this and eating lunch.
Just a tip to anyone coming to Nepal, we have made the discovery that food is literal here, for example I had a cheeseburger at lunch and found out that it is actually a burger made of cheese, and Paul had an egg roll and it was an egg rolled. Both were very nice but it was quite funny. Can't wait for tonight :-)
Well thats all for now folks - if we do anything interesting we will update it again, if not we will probably spend our time sitting by the lake and reading books. Current update on the books we are reading:
Paul: The enchantress of Florence - Salman Rushdie
Wendy: Miguel Street - V.S. Naipul
Catch you soon x x x x x