How exciting, in all my visits to Nepal I have never managed to make it to Chitwan so I am really pleased that this is one of the main places Ewan wnats to visit on this trip.
Narayan has organised it all for us and we wake up super early to get ourselves sorted before our 7am taxi to the tourist bus park. It is only when we make it to the bus park that I realise I have forgotten to put in my contact lenses, and even worse than that I have actually forgotten to bring them with me, nor my glasses either.
It is not that I have particularly bad eye sight (and they have improved since I have been practising Yoga)but I can't see distances with total clarity. Which is not ideal when you are going to a national park to look for animals in the wild - and from a distance. In hindsight I would have had time to return to the hotel and pick up my contact lenses but the bus was due to leave at 7.30am and I was in need of a cup of tea (always tea huh, what a pitiful excuse!).
So we get on the bus and Narayan comes to make sure the driver knows where to drop us off as we are initially headed along the highway towards Kathmandu but will stop after a few hours to white water raft down towards Chitwan. See all very exciting. but of course I can't see properly and I am irritated at my stupidity because I managed to pack everything else for both of us!
After a few hours of bumping our way along the road (we did get a short tea break, although it was really cold as this mist hangs in the air outside of Pokhara)we finally get dropped off at Fishling for our white water rafting. Only that this isn't realy the right season for white water rafting as the rivers have calmed down after the monsoon back in the summer. So it kind of turns more so into gentle rafting down the river.
Still it is rather pretty. And cold. There are 8 of us on the raft including the leader and Ewan is sitting in front of me. Narayan had told us to wear shorts and t-shirts which is exactly what Ewan is wearing although I am wearing leggings and a fleece so am slightly warmer. Because the thing is, while the rapids are really rather easy going, you still get wet, and the water is cold, super cold, and so we are cold, which is never ideal.
Ewan spots a kingfisher but it is a bit of a blur to me. I do manage to notice many butterflies, which flutter around the river banks, making for quite a pretty scene. We paddle a little, but it is not exactly taxing and we even stop for a pee break half way down towards our destination. In fact we reach our destination before we know it, I guess we were only actually on the water for about 2 hours and it actually passed really very quickly.
We end up at yet another one of those dusty juntion towns and got to stay here for lunch today...yet more Dahl Bhat in a very local eatery and I feel Ewan is being very brav when he pours water for everyone from a general jug and then proceeds to drink his glass...is he mad, you should never risk the water over here. He is quite surprised he forgot and worries he will get sick.
There are 4 of us going down to Chitwan and we stand at the side of the road with one of the rafting team who has the task of getting us on a local bus for the remainder of the journey. A bus stops and there ensues heated discussions between the rafting team and the bus touts over the price they will pay for us. Finally the rafting team sells us out (well that is who I consider it) because there is only actually one available seat on this very crowded local bus (there are always lots of bags in the thin aisle) and I am not particularly happy about the situation.
We let one of theother girls take the seat and he friend sits on a bag besde her at the bak of the bus. I am notin the best of moods, I am cold and tired and I can't see properly and I feel cheated by the guys for putting us on this bus in the first place. So I sit on the floor of the bus, which is really rather disgusting as the floor is filthy but it is actually really difficult to stand when the bus is bumping all over the place. Ewan stands however andtries to be cheery but I can feel msyelf about to burst into tears so just put my head in my lap and pretend that this whole situation is not happening.
Still I perk up and feel a bit of a drama queen as a few of the men on the bus seem a little concerned. Ewan stands behind me so I can lean into him and he can lean into me and I am totally disorienated as I can't see out of the window. However it is not a pleasant experience and just before we reach our destination one of the woman sitting in a seat to the side of me is falling asleep and almost has her head on my shoulder and coughs from time to time all over me. Delightful! Still I wanted the local experience so what can I expect really, this is just life over here.
It is with some relief that we arrive at our hotel for the night, just outside of the park at Bharatpur Heights. Needless to say this is not exactly what I had in mind (see expectation is a terrible thing!), the brochure made it sound a lovely and quiet place with a swimming pool and character. But we are here out of season and it is cold and the swimming pool is empty and the rooms are really basic (although there is a tv, but it doesn't always work), and we are the only people for dinner again and there are bugs and I still can't see properly (and how ridiculous that I can't just let it go...so much for my Yoga practice and that non-attachment thing!)and so I write my diary and give myself a really good talking to!
So all good fun really!!