Monday, August 1, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

Sadly, the day arrived that we had to leave Pokhara. We loved Pokhara. Beautiful, relaxed, and comfortable, but alas, there is more to Nepal!

After a 6am wake up, we took a 2+ hour bus ride, to somewhere on the Thusali River and boarded our raft. They said the rafting would be about 3 hours, and I guess if you count all of the waiting around, it was. The actual rafting was only an hour and a half, but the water was strong and fast and the scenery was unreal! It was so magical to float through these huge beautiful mountains, and luckily the weather was perfect. We had 4 others on our boat, 3 French people and 1 English woman. Oh and our guide, who wasn't so interested in us, but got us through without anyone falling out (accidentally). It was by far the best rafting I've seen so far, and apparently by Nepal standards, not overly impressive- woah!

Rafting was followed by a typical Nepalese lunch, Dahl Baaht. Rice, a papadad, dahl (lentil curry soup), and 2 veg curries. Good and the first non western food we'd had ina while. Then we waited, and waited, and waited, and finally a bus came to bring us all to Chitwan National Park. The supposed 45 min bus ride was actually closer to 2 hours; funny how the fun stuff is way over estimated and not so fun stuff way underestimated. And the bus couldnt have been more full...typical!

We arrive at beautiful Gorkha Hamlet "Resort." Its super cute and we have our own green bungalow!! Well actually we have the whole place to ourselves!! The Englishwoman from rafting is staying next door and she said her hotel is full of Chinese tourists...I prefer the solitude! We had a yummy dinner here then wandered down the street to a cultural show. Thing small town local Nepalese meets Stomp. It was awesome! The it was back for an early bed time.

This am- another 6am start, we had a yum breakfast then head to an elephant breeding center where there were tons of baby elephants!!! Even 1 that was 3 months old. SOooo cute!! Then we went on a jungle hike. Barefoot. It was so muddy you couldn't wear shoes, so we hiked through the rough jungle shoeless. Paul caught some leeches, but somehow I came out unscathed. Apparently during monsoon it's rare to see many animals; especially the sloth bears, rhinos and tigers which Chitwan is famous. Since there's water abound, the animals stay hidden. We did see monkeys, birds, a deer and rhino tracks. It was really cool to hike through the jungle with 2 guides and all our protection was their 2 sticks. The one guide had a group of Japanese tourists 5 years ago when a Sloth Bear attacked. they all ran leaving him defenseless against this bear, and he spent the next 15 days in the hospital recovering frm his head injury. Serious business here!!!

Now of course, it's raining, so no elephant bathe (they don't bathe in the muddy river). We're going on a jeep safari at 330 where hopefully we will spot some more wildlife! And so far so good, no SNAKES!!!

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