Saturday, 14 June 2014

Saturday 14th June

So today is with out doubt the very very best day so far in Nepal. We woke early at 5.15am for a 6am breakfast on the lodge. We had a comfortable nights slept in our air conditioned room - sometime during the night I turned off the fan. After a good breakfast  of some rather strange shaped sausages and their attempt at soft friend eggs we set walked to the river to start the cable ride. The canoes are very much the same design as the dugout mocorros (sp?) in Botswana with a man standing at the back with a pole and a guide in the front, with each of us six gals sitting on low individuals chairs thankfully with a back to lean against. It was incredibly peaceful flowing with the river current - sadly the water hyacinth has found its way here as well and is a big problem. We saw many birds- lied kingfishers, eagles, herons, ibis, egrets, dongers (?), doves. We passed local villages cutting grass which they loaded into their canoes to take home for their animals. We were hioping to see another crocodile but no luck. We floated along peacefully for peer an hour then pulled into the shore and started our walking safari. We hadn't gone far when Dane our guide pointed out a crocodile lazily sing down the river!! Much excitement - they are very different to our crocs - there are two kinds - one which we saw with a very long very thin jaw which eats only fish. We came across about three snoozing partially submerged on the bank as we walked along the edge of the river. We then headed inland and walked through the forest. By this time it was incredibly hit so we were all drenched. We saw a few macaw monkeys and some deer in the distance which looked very similar to South African deer - can't remember their names - orange with white flecks - maybe Nyala? We saw a few tiger prints on thee track which Dabe said were made early this morning - also a couple of trees with enormous scratch marks on them made bybthe male tiger marking his territory. Dabe says there are 350 tigers left in Nepal. 125 of them in Chitwan. National Park. Also 500 rhinos left in Nepal. We finally arrived back at the elephant breeding centre to read about the breeding and training of the elephants. A little off putting to hear how the youngsters are trained well I guess broken as it takes about 20 days to egg them used to their handler with the aid of two trained adult elephants which guide the youngster on either side by roles tied to the adults with a mahout(?) sitting on top of the adults. Wether had an encounter with a baby one year olds ellie. Absolutely tame and inquisitive and friendly - great photo opportunities! Morgan I am sure would loved hiim (from dad's arms😍one of the French girls had left her plastic water bottle on the ground nearby. It suddenly spotted it and made a bee line for it- much fun and games as Dabe tried to rescue it and head off the baby- but not before it manages to egg water out of it and stand on it!! 

We the headed pffvto the highlight of the day- bathing with the elephants! This costs the princely sum of R 20. I got into my costume and long loose pants, we were given life jackets and then lead  to our elephant. I went with Bahar the Turkish girl. The elephant sat in the water while I grabbed a rope across it's back and heaved my left leg over its BA ck while levering myself up by placing my tight foot in the trainers hand! Bahar followed and then the Ellie laboriously got to its feet while we rocked rather unsteadily on too! She was quite an old Ellie with lots of pink spots on it's trunk  and ears (apparently a tell take symptom of age) it then slurped up water in its trunk and threw it all over us - wonderful - the very best way to cool down and such fun as Ashe did that many times- as instructed my the trainer who was also standing on her back behind Bahar. It was exhilarating and such fun .. But at a certain pint we both felt wed had enough and wanted to get down! I felt the same as I do most times I am on a horse - very uncertain about what the animal will do next - out of control and vulnerable!!! It sort of lowered itsel and turned sideways and we sort of went with flow by falling off into the water. Wonderful and every thing and more than I expected!!! We then had a wonderful time lying in the water floating with the flow jacket - me in my element!!! 

So we are back from the elephant safari which is four of us riding on the back if an elephant walking through the so called jungle! I have to say that after child birth this is the most extraordinary experience I have ever had!!!! I could not believe that I was riding on an elephant tracking through pretty dense vegetation. The absolute highlight was coming across rhino in the wild - I mean to be sitting on an elephant looking at rhino a couple of meters away! I have some fantastic pics of this and even took a couple of videos of the rhino wallowing in a mud pool all the while watching us very warily!! We also saw deer and just experienced the vegetation at a different height!! The driver of the elephant was very gentle - he had a bamboo stick which he tapped on the elephants head whilst using his feet in behind the elephants ears to drive the ellie. He used verbal commands all the time - all in Nepalese of course   - go forward, backwards, left, right. He had to watch that the elephant didn't spot some tasty food which stopped him from moving and following directions! Rather like a horse!! The rhino are xmaklervyhsnbthe Fricsn rhino with a single smaller horn. Their bodies are still sort of prehistoric with armpit like plating on their shanks and back sides! Stunning! We were told that they are also aggressive and can charge at speeds of 44 kms an hour! We came across rhino three times which was fantastic - really sort of surreal to be sitting on an elephant watching a rhino rep meters away!!

So the day ended with a delicious Nepalse meal at our hotel followed by all if us putting our photos of these two great days onto one of the girls laptop so we can create a drop biz for all the photos. Then to crown it all - a call from my beloved!! Finally as my local cell phone has  died - hopefully temporarily and john finally got through on the third number I gave him!! It makes such a difference to be able to connect with him every few days!! 

So tomorrow will be half way through our time away!! All looking great as I plan the workshop I will be running on Tuesday and Wednesday for the 18 ECD schools from the 9 VIN schools in this area called Jitpur on the outskirts of Ksthmandu.  

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