[Edit: Haha. Never mind about the faster paced thing]
Day 2 – Delhi
And then you roll over and go back to sleep for two more hours.
Several hours later, and we’re both ready to start the day. Now fully rested, we realize that we really are in India—one of the great countries of the world, and one with more than a billion people and a fascinating culture and thousands and thousands of years of history. It’s an enormous country, and you probably couldn’t explore all it has to offer in ten lifetimes. So the first thing we do is get on a plane and fly to Nepal.
Day 2 – Kathmandu
Upon getting out of the Kathmandu airport (which is much
less nice than Delhi’s super new and sophisticated airport with its enormous
(enormous) billboard outside customs suggesting that we all invest in mangoes),
we find ourselves accosted by various Nepalese men trying to convince us to
travel with them in their taxi so they can take us to their travel agency which
is the best travel agency in this city of thousands of travel agencies. We
choose one at random, and find ourselves on another of those crazy and
frightening rides through a large city (“Lanes? What are those?” says our
driver. Or at least I’m going to pretend that he said that, for art’s sake or
something.) I’m more awake this time, and thus more cognizant of the fact that
I’m in a moderately dangerous situation. So I close my eyes, clutch onto the
door, and hope that I don’t die. And eventually we do reach the travel agency
|Kathmandu traffic is a bit chaotic|
So within an hour or so of arriving in Kathmandu we’re in another taxi on our way south—and down (several thousand feet down)—towards Chitwan National Park.
The ride out of Kathmandu is fun. That is to say, it’s a little bit scary as we travel down poorly maintained winding mountain roads. It’s also a well-traveled road, so you’re not only driving on scary mountain roads, you have the double thrill of driving on scary mountain roads with lots of crazy Nepalese drivers. At one point, we go over a bridge with a hole in the side barrier, and the driver cheerfully informs us that a few years ago a taxi driver lost control of his car and went off the bridge and into the gorge and died and stuff.
|The roads in the foothills of Nepal|
Chitwan: Where the Tigers (Allegedly) Roam
|The town outside Chitwan, plus some elephants|
It should be noted that this taxi ride was 4+ hours long, and we only stopped for concessions/etc. once the whole time. The taxi was small, and by the end of the trip my legs were in excruciating pain. It turns out that trying to get from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park and then back to Kathmandu in a single day isn’t the best idea in the world. In fact, in a ranking of the twenty-nine trillion best ideas in the world, trying to get from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park to Kathmandu in a taxi in a single day wouldn’t even get an honorable mention. Riding through the jungle on the crowded back of an elephant where you can’t even stretch your legs after spending four hours riding in a cramped taxi would also fail to rank on such a list. But still…
Chitwan National Park is a famous park known as one of the
few places in the world where you have a decent chance of spotting rhinos or the
endangered and elusive Nepalese mule deer.
Err… Tiger. I mean tiger. It’s
one of the few places in the world where you have a decent chance of spotting
the elusive Bengal tiger. The hotel that marks our starting point looks decent,
and it’s right next to a river that apparently houses the rather ugly (and critically
endangered) Gharial crocodile.
|Our delicious (?) meal at the hotel outside Chitwan|
I kind of wish we were spending a night or two in the hotel, since Chitwan is the kind of place you go to spend several days, with expeditions into different parts of the park each day. We only have one day (only a few hours, in fact) so we make the best of it by taking an elephant-back safari. My legs still hurt, but:
|The view from the back of an elephant|
|The fourth most exotic creature we encounter on our adventure|
I’m riding on an elephant through the jungle of Nepal! We’re hunting tigers! There are trees! My legs hurt! Strange, jungle noises! More trees!
We were hoping to see a tiger or rhino, but they were pretty rare and I was just happy to see:
Its plumage wasn’t spread out, so it mostly (my legs hurt) just looked like a colorful bird with a really long tail. I kind of love birds, so it was kind of (my legs hurt) awesome to see.
We also saw:
Ok, the deer wasn’t particularly exciting—after all, we see them all the time in our yard in Alpine (albeit, probably a slightly different species of deer)—but still! A Nepalese deer!
And a monkey!
Lots of trees. It was very jungle-y. Tall trees, swamps, tall reeds and bushes.
We’re riding on the back of an elephant in Nepal.
That’s cool, right?
And then off the elephant and back in the taxi for the 4+ hour trip back to Kathmandu.
On the way back, I see a small group of monkeys on the side of the road (or was that India? I don’t remember.)
It turns out that Kathmandu has traffic jams at one in the morning. As we’re driving up the mountain to get back into Kathmandu we find ourselves riding behind a huge line of trucks bringing supplies into the valley. So the last few miles take us a long time. And I just want to sleep. And we’re leaving for the airport to Lukla in five or six hours. And I’m tired.
And my legs hurt.
|A bad picture of me (and some Danish guy,) just to prove that it happened|
A Danish side note
|Me, and a little bit of Nate and the back of the Danish guy|
An elephantine side note
A note about Nepalese trucks
|One of the many profoundly captioned trucks we encountered|
A note about yaks