Thursday, March 17, 2011

Days 3-6: Chitwan & Pokara

I finally have internet:).... and hot water and electricity woooo! This is going to be a short summary of the days because if i typed all 50 pages in my journal, you would hate me!

Day 3: we woke up at 5:00 to get started on our 7 hour drive to Chitwan. The drive was actually really fun and scenic.. a lot like doing the tour of Italy. It was amazing to see how people lived in the mountains, literally in clay and straw shacks in the mountain. This country is so diverse in the way it's money is distributed. There is definitely no "middle class". You are either filthy rich or dirt poor. The majority of this day was watching people that are dirt poor. We made many stops to stretch our legs and snack (and go to the bathroom which consisted of a hole in the dirt.. good thing I packed those tissues mom;) ). One of our stops we found this old rickety bridge that connected to mountain tops. I wanted to pee my pants when everyone said we should walk across it, but I figured "When in Nepal..."
When we arrive at Chitwan we are greeted by little dugout canoes, a torn down welcome sign, and a large river. I am not going to lie, I got a little scared at what I had gotten myself into. But, we got into the boats and took a 30 minute ride to the other side. We were greeted with more welcome necklaces, cold towels for our faces (you are always covered in dirt), and juice and tikas! Tikas are the red dots on your forehead that you receive with a blessing for good luck. 
We took a jeep ride to the lodge and on the way we spotted our first rhinos! They are SO FREAKING HUGE. These mammals are literally prehistoric, 3 ton monsters. And we saw a lot of them. We got to our lodge which looked like something out of a movie, dropped our stuff, and met our elephants. 
We took an hour long elephant safari into the sunset and found even more rhinos to observe. They were so cool. They are not really afraid of humans, which is kind of scary, so we got super close. 
After our safari we had dinner and settled in for the upcoming days.

Day 4: Chitwan
I will try to keep this short, but basically we did a 5:00am two hour elephant safari. Then we had a jeep and boat safari. Then lunch. Then an elephant briefing where we learned about each of our elephants and got to feed and bathe them. Then a nature walk. Then dinner and nature talks, then bed:)
Here are some highlights:
-Elephant safari: we saw lots of new birds, a green pit viper snake (very poisonous), and we got to be up close and personal to the rhinos while they were mating, which was super cool.
-Boat safari: we saw seven crocodiles! They were kind of boring though, no movement. They are much bigger in person than you would expect though.
-Nature Walk: We saw leopard and tiger footprints.. then we heard the tiger!! Apparently, we were really close (on foot mind you, no protection) because he was so loud. It vibrated the whole jungle. Chitwan isn't a great place for tiger viewing I guess because the jungle only has a few left and India is much better. But it was still so awesome. The roar we have in Death Valley is dead on, that's how loud and distinct it is. CRAZY and super scary. We were definitely close though cause we found prints, heard bird alarm calls, and even found urine!!

Day 5: Chitwan
We did a boat and jeep safari in the morning and then had a 3 hour elephant safari at sunset. We didn't see any new wildlife today but the lodge is so beautiful and the wildlife never gets old. It's so relaxing and I definitely have fallen in love with this park. 

Day 6: Chitwan to Pokara
We left Chitwan and had another 5 hour drive to Pokara. Again, it was very scenic and nice to drive through the country side (or mountain side). 
Pokara is a very touristy town and our hotel is amazing. It is by far one of the nicest places I have ever seen. We took a city tour to see the Tibetan refugee camps which was a great experience. We also visited Devil's Falls and took a boat ride to a sacred Hindi Temple. While I was there I was blessed with another Tika and had a chance to pray in front of their gods and ring their prayer bells. I was with another Hindi Indian Woman and it was a very moving experience to be with her there. 
Afterwards we just enjoyed the nightlife and shopped and ate around at the bakeries. It's Patricks 80th birthday so we got him a cake and present. I think he was a little homesick because his son, daughter, grandson, and him share birthdays very close to one another and he is missing family time. He was so surprised and happy to see how much we had grown on him and care for him. 
Now we fly back to Kathmandu and then to Delhi!

Here are a few of my 800 pictures.. It takes a while to upload so I don't have many up yet. 


  1. Maria, I am so enjoying your stories. They are both fascinating and a little quirky at the same time. The pictures are beautiful. It's hard to believe there are places like that in the world. Keep up the good work. Lorraine

  2. It's about darn time! How about you stay away from those snakes please! And stop socializing on the bridges...that little boy looks like he's about to fall right through that fence. Get the heck ACROSS! Sounds like an amazing four days...and many more to come! Love you

  3. Sooo great to see your beautiful face a minute ago! (sorry you couldn't see mine - its not quite as pretty as I was at the ladies Can't wait to hear all your stories! Natalie is loving the pictures of the elephants! I'm with Lindz though....get your ass across the bridge! and keep those children away from the edges! :) LOVE YOU! Mare

  4. oooooooohhhh. I didnt proof that last post well. I was at the ladies stag!

  5. Mia,
    Heard you just skyped Mary-am very envious! My questions-how is the elephant riding-remember this isn't a normal mode of transport??! Also what are you saying to that little boy on the bridge? Your photographs are beautiful. Joby loves reading your comments and took your blog to the bridge club-they have questions!! We shall skype with you this afternoon-Love you and
    be safe-perhaps put some distance between you & the wildlife!