Sauraha Travel Blog› entry 20 of 33 › view all entries
Christmas day and had a lie in before walking down to the river for bath time. One of the tourist attractions is to help the handlers wash the elephants in the river which takes place at 11 daily. Arrived to find the elephants already in the river and 1 very happy looking drenched Ozzy standing on the waterside.
Spoke to a handler and I was quickly sitting bare back on an elephant as it waded in to the river. The helping to wash the elephant completely untrue as it proceeded through various ways of getting me soaked. With the handler stood next to us in the water, he instructed our Nelly to suck up water through his trunk before spouting it straight over his head on to me. After several goes, on instruction Nelly gave me the equivalent of a bucking bronco ride as he shook his whole body.
Wandered back up to the hostal dripping wet and had a lazy afternoon reading in my shorts and t-shirt in the hostal gardens. This is the way to spend a Christmas Day !!
At 3, it was my 2nd elephant experience of the day. An elephant trek in to the National Park. Our hotel having its own elephant stand to get on to the back, 4 of us sat in a carrier on the elephants back with a driver sitting on its shoulders. We trudged off in surprising comfort, although occassional jolts took us unawares. Having walked from our hostal we walked passed the main elephant ride rank and suddenly we were in the middle of a procession. Not sure how much wildlife we would see with a stampede of elephants.
Our trek lasted another hour where we saw plenty more deer and loads of monkeys jumping through the trees.
Christmas night and a few of us went down to KCs for happy hour. Sat round an open fire adding our own wood beside a Christmas tree that that blasted out Jingle Bells out repetetively.
Boxing Day and had decided to stick around Chitwan for an extra day as it marked the start of the annual 3 day festival in Chitwan. Not quite South American carnival but an impressive parade consisting of all the local villages marched through the street in colourful traditional outfits. Our stick dancers from Tharu were in the middle just after the elephant parade.
Our group took its seats beside the running track amongst a mass of locals. About 30 elephants lined up at the end of the running track waiting patiently whilst everyone waited for the end of the parade to pass the main stage. Eventually, most of the elephants moved off and 6 lined up for the 1st race. Each elephant carrying a driver and a passenger. The passenger carrying a flag of who it represented. The 1st race contained a UK, a German, a Nepalese and 3 local company participants (tourists can pay $35 to be involved in the race and carry their countries flag).
After 3 races, there was a charge from the race track to the footy pitch. With Boxing day being a big day for footy, I didn't miss out as 2 teams of 4 elephants, each with a driver came out on to the pitch. Using a regular footy on a half size pitch (but extra large goals) I was gobsmacked at how good the elephants were showing control of the ball by stopping it with their trunks before booting it. Sadly square head comes to mind when kicking as the ball generally went forwards or sideways. A couple of nice cross field passes in to space. A lot more scrums like a 5 year olds game as all 8 elephants chasing after the ball. The goalies the best players though as a sweeping glance of the trunk cleared the lines convincingly. The game finished 1-0 to whites. There were a couple of water buffalo races afterwards but they didn't live up to the elephants.
KCs for another Catfish steak before an early night ready to move on. Sauraha and Chitwan NP has been great.