Second Day In Chitwan

on Sunday, 4 April 2010

Today we had to get through all teh activities we had booked in one day. We therefore had an early start, up at 6am, these early starts are getting a bit too much. We started with our canoe ride down the river, when we arrived there was a group already boarding the canoe who were just ferried over to the other side of the river, so we thought we had been done over again and our canoe ride was just a ten metre trip across the river. We jumped in and it was just us, our two guides and a small boy, who can only have been about eight years old punting us along. It didn't start well when, as we were being pushed back the kid fell off the back of the canoe. We then endured about 30 minutes of going down teh river wobbling all over the place constantly fearing we were going to tip over in the disgusting crocodile infested water. We eventually stopped to the relief of both of us at the side of the river and got out.

We started walking through the long grass until we reached the jungle area, where the guide spotted some apparent rhino mating marks in the sand and then excitedly went into a detailed description of the mating process. Everywhere was covered in spiderwebs and small red bugs, because the guides were so short and I was walking behind the first guide I ended up getting every single spiderweb in my face. After about 5 minutes of walking the guide spots a rhino laying down just of the track from where we were walking. We stopped by a tree, but as it was quite dark and overgrown we could only see the back of the rhino. One of the guides moved round the side and went in closer to check out whether it was safe for us to stay there, and the rhino must have heard or smelt him because he stood up and turned around.

The rhino had no horn, which we initially thought was due to it fighting or hitting trees, but our guide says that when it sleeps little birds land on its nose and eat its horn. We stayed for about 5 minutes watching and taking photos, which I am afraid are pretty poor, until we left because it was starting to get a bit agitated. After seeing the rhino that seemed to signal the end of our jungle trek and we headed back to the river through the jungle to get the canoe back over to the other side. Along the way we spotted a few monkeys and a woodpecker, but no tigers, although we did find a tiger footprint.

We return back to the hotel and then had our visit to see the elphants bathing, which we had asked if we could sit on them and were told we could but they wouldn't take any responsibility if we got crushed. Our guide tells us we have to pay 100R(95p) to the elephant owner. As it's cheap we both have a go sitting on teh elephant while it sprays itself with water and continously chucks you off. It doesn't look like it but they can squirt water pretty powerfully through their trunks. We meet an Australian guy working in Hong Kong who says he will show us around when we arrive in a few weeks time which is nice. We go back to the hotel for some lunch before our elephant safari a bit later on.

We have a short jeep ride to the elephant safari with a group of Chinese and a Norweigian girl, so we all have to cram in the back of the jeep, and the Chinese have their obligatory huge cameras and equipment. We arrive at the loading area and have two elephants for our group. We jump on the first elephant with the Norweigian girl and a Chinese girl and the others jump on the second elephant. There is not very much space and it is far from comfortable. Tom has bought two bunches of bananas to feed the elephant and starts by giving the elephant a single banana, with the guide just rubbing it on the nose and it automatically bringing up its trunk to collect them. Obviously one banana is not enough and the guide requests the whole bunch which the elephant quickly stuffs in its mouth all in one go. After about five minutes walking we spot our first rhinos. There are two laying in a mud pool and two eating, we are so high up that it is safe to go right up close to the rhinos and take photos.

We continue through the woods, constantly being hit with spiderwebs and branches as our guide takes us down the narrowest of tracks. As we are going down the guide shows us a cut on his hand, which must be three inches long and half a centremetre deep, we can't find out how he has done it or why it has not been stitched up, instead he just laughs. A few minutes later he starts hacking at the trees with his knife wildly and we have our answer as we try and move our legs away from the path of his knife. We keep going for about an hour and thirty minutes by which time I am aching pretty badly and have had enough. We see some more crocodiles, monkeys and deer on the way, but unfortunately still no tigers, allthough we thought we heard one, but that could have been an elephant. On the way back, even after all Tom's bananas the elephant must be hungry because it proceeds to push down a fairly large tree to get to the leaves on the top, which are apparently its favourite type. We see a couple more rhinos on the way back and then dismount and catch the jeep back to our hotel.

We have dinner and then go and visit the Tharu cultural dance that we had missed on the first night. The view of the dancing was pretty bad and not helped by me having the women with teh biggest mullet you have ever seen sitting directly infront of me. We watch the dances, most involving alot of hitting sticks together, but a couple of odd ones like the ladyboy dance and the peacock dance. The guy introducing each dance was speaking so quickly and in a weird accent that everyone could only understand a few words from each sentence, so we didn't really know what was going on. The dancing ends with a dance where people are invited to join in, unsurprisingly we were not some of thiose people, and to top it off I find that I have sat in a huge lumpo of chewing gum. We return to the hotel and get an early night as we have a very long bus journey to Karnali for our rafting teh next day.


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