Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park

Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park
Sauraha, Nepal

Sauraha, Nepal

Waking up on my own accord at 4:30am on a weekday. Who am I? I can begin to feel the affects of being in big, smoggy cities. Before travelling to Kathmandu, I’d been warned about the pollution and had considered wearing a surgical mask in this city… and in India…. Yet I didn’t/ haven’t worn one yet and I fear it is now too late. My throat could belong to a pack a day smoker and the insides of my nasal cavities are coated with a film of dirt, “I think I’ve got the black lung Pop”, a line from the movie “Zoolander”, seems applicable and appropriate right now. So far, I’m liking Nepal a little more than India (Jaipur excluded). The Nepali as people are calmer and less in your face… even the kids are cuter (but what do I know about kids). Traffic congestion isn’t as wide spread… It is, after all, a far smaller country than India. Today, I’m leaving Kathmandu to get in touch with nature, in the Chitwan Jungle. Before I could do that, I had to make it through the domestic airport…. A jungle in its own right, that could easily be mistaken for a post war construction site… (Should’ve worn steel caps and a hard hat.. Probably would’ve stood out more). On the shuttle bus to a light aircraft, I spotted the TurKish (jerkish) jet on the tarmac… The one that caused the International Airport chaos of the past week (picture of offending jet in gallery)… It was still immobile, and still creating problems for the airport. A hop, skip and a 20 minute plane ride later… I was in Bharatpur, on my way to the Chitwan National Park. At my hotel, I was greeted by a nice Nepali gentlemen. “Your room is 164 and you are ahh single”, he said. Yeh buddy, good pick up… (He was referring to the number of people staying in my room – he wasn’t a stalker or psychic). My room had its own bee hive outside and the biggest sized shower I’ve ever seen in a budget hotel.. Not sure if the shower seconds as a baby elephant bathing stall?… The road to get to the jungle safari was….. Ahhh.. Let’s just say, I should’ve worn a sports bra. From a young age, I’ve had an affinity with nature and some of my fondest childhood memories are of exploring the rainforests and creeks around where I grew up. Naturally, a jungle safari would be right up my alley! Trekking through the jungle, what do I see? A flipping peacock! Come on Chitwan! I practically live next door to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Park…. Did I mention the trek is done on elephant back?… #animalcruelty. So far, the Chitwan jungle safari is more like the Chitwan deer park safari with a cameo peacock appearance. A conga line of loud tourists in tow (also on elephants) behind me… it would be a miracle if I saw any other animals… Then, 3 Rhinos bathing in a river, and 2 rouge foxes scurrying into the bushes had me thinking…. “wtf are foxes and rhinos doing in the Chitwan deer park?”. Multiple deer sightings later, I was lucky enough to see another 2 Rhinos, grazing in a grassy clearing between the walls of the forest. Now, picture this… a heavily obese man/woman who has just lost 60 kilos and is left with large amounts of excess skin… This is what a Rhino has… I’d never known Rhinos had such large flaps of excess skin over their grey bodies. The “safari” concluded. If only I was given the option to walk instead of riding a poor, 40 year old elephant…. The experience was not my idea of a close to nature adventure. It’s a man made money maker and an animal lovers heart breaker. I even teared up seeing the poor elephant being hit and prodded by their masters during the safari. Don’t get me wrong, seeing rhinos in the wild was pretty special…. but I’d had this idea that I’d be wearing a safari suit, stick in hand, on foot in the jungle and that when, and if, I saw a rhino (or any dangerous animal) that I’d be running for my life and would have to engage my tree climbing skills to get to safety… I wanted to dance with danger, not sit in safety. Should not of had expectations (Yes Mum, I remembered what you said about expectations and disappointment). For any future Chitwan trips, I’d be venturing Tarzan deep into the jungle and leaving the elephants and other tourists behind.

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