Chitwan Travel Blog› entry 14 of 24 › view all entries
What I learned this week: The name of a type of stork in Nepal is called a 'lesser adjucant'
After the trek we vegged out in Pokhara for a couple of days. We needed the rest and enjoyed the little hippie town on the water. Pokhara is similar to Kathamndu’s Thamel district in that it’s covered with trekkers and lined with Western style restaurants and fake North Face stores. The vibe in Pokhara, however, is much different. There’s an immediate calmness that is lacking in Kathamandu and it’s probably because everyone there is either preparing for a trek, had just finished a trek or is too full from eating so much delicious apple pie. We spent our days sleeping in (no more 6:30 wake ups), eating a nice late breakfast, walking the strip and eating again. On one of our final days, Drea rented a scooter and drove out to the lake and saw a bit more of the city. I wasn’t feeling great that day so I stayed in and watched movies—not as an adventurous day but fun nonetheless. We headed to Chitwan National Park from Pokhara and begun our adventure in the jungle…
As most travelers do, we booked a few nights at a resort in Chitwan just outside the park. It really felt like camp—little cabins, communal buffet style meals at set times, activities during the day and evening program. We arrived in the late afternoon and immediately befriended three Canadian girls from Alberta with whom we spent our time. After getting settled, we headed to a nearby theatre and watched a Tharu Cultural Performance. It was wonderful—the highlight being twenty or so young men dancing and hitting sticks with partners while a small group of musicians played traditional Nepali music behind them. Another highlight was the Peacock dance, which is exactly how it sounds. One of the young men dressed up in a peacock costume and danced. Another number included ‘lady boys’ or men in drag… always entertaining. I loved seeing theatre, we haven’t really seen too many performances in our time here yet. Enjoyed a late dinner back at the resort and prepared for our first day of activities.
The next day was jam packed with jungle activities. The day started early with a cruise down an crocodile infested river in a rickedy old wooden canoe. We caught glimpses of several crocs along the shore—very cool, don’t think I’ve ever seen a crocodile in the wild. As we cruised, I kept repeating Odgen Nash’s poem ‘The Purist’ in my head. Look it up—it’s fitting. After the canoe ride, we went on a jungle walk in search of tigers and rhinos but all we really found were leeches. Next, we visited the elephant breeding centre followed by the elephant bathing centre—both were a little strange. We thought it was going to be a natural setting for the elephants where we would just quietly watch them do their elephant thing, but instead it was overly touristy and the elephants were chained so we could view them. We didn’t like it… We also didn’t want to go elephant riding, but we did because our guide promised us we’d see rhinos. We didn’t. The rest of our group did, but Drea and I were on a different elephant who took a different route and we missed out. Our elephant did destroy a mature tree for no reason, you can't beat that. Truthfully, the whole day (except for the morning canoe ride) was a bit of a disappointment. Thankfully, we had a great night playing cards, listening to music and eating chocolate bars with our Albertan friends.
The next day started with bird watching, which I really enjoyed. Apparently, Chitwan is home to over 75 different species of birds. On our walk by the river, we saw so many interesting looking and beautiful birds including two male peacocks camped out for the night on top of a very high tree. We enjoyed a late breakfast and then headed to the Biodiversity Museum to see some animals in fermaldahyde. How often do you get to see a rhino fetus in a jar?! Later in the afternoon, we set off on jeep safari back into the jungle. This was our second attempt to see some rhinos but we didn’t… instead we got a flat tire. We did enjoy the jeep ride though, and visited a place called ‘twenty thousand lakes’ (it was really just one big lake) but was beautiful. The colours of the jungle are so vibrant and alive. We headed back to our resort for dinner and another night of cards.
We left Chitwan the following day, and headed back to Kathmandu for a few days. Yesterday we arrived in Bangalore and are visiting with Drea's friend Maria for a few days. So far, it's been wonderful to have a kitchen and free laundry…!