Get a cup of tea, it’s a long one again!!
So were off to safari today, I get up early to do the chores before we go but everything is done already. The mini army of orphans have before 7am, cleared buffalo shit, fed chickens, watered garden, cleaned rice, chopped vegetables, cleaned the house, cleaned toilets, burnt rubbish and are now weeding the garden. Amazing bunch!! No complaints, no laying around watching tv or playing on computers, out in the fresh air helping!
We say goodbye to the 2 volunteers German girl and Luxembourg girl. I’ll never forget Luxembourgs story of her first day when the Chinese volunteers hadn’t realised you can’t put toilet paper or sanitary items down the toilet and they’d blocked it. She had to clean up Chinese shit from outside her room on her first morning!!!
To get to safari it’s a half hour walk to the bus stop, elephants pass us en route as they do! Love this way of life. We get on local bus, not as packed as I expected but colourful none the less. When on the bus we realise neither Aussie girl or I have the number of the organiser to call him for taxi! Shit! Hoping at first stop they know him and can call!
At first stop and no they don’t have his number? I send a quick e mail from free wifi and hope he picks it up?
We find the second bus amongst the hectic, dusty, noisy streets of narayangot, it has some random cushioned area at the front you can sit on opposed to a seat. More white people around on this bus. Although none talk to us. We nearly hit a buffalo loose on street, then our driver goes a back route to pick up his kids who then join us for the journey. No seat belts or baby seats though, shocking! Tomorrow I must wash some clothes, my shorts are filthy! the norm in Nepal.
We get off and now the adventure begins. No jeep to pick us up, no phone call from the organiser, and we can’t bloody remember where we are staying just that it’s jungle safari!! Bloody stupid of me, I’m old enough to know better. Cheeky taxi men trying to rip us off and drive us to resort, we instead chance our arm and get on the local bus the other white people got on that’s heading to resort and hope free wifi awaits us so I can get the number to call. Nice coach driver, chatting away to me, married for 13 years, no children as doesn’t like kids. As we are travelling Aussie girl remembers the name of the hotel, bizarrely but fantastically!!
He drops us off saying is just around the corner. Nope we ask and it’s 3 km away but of course there’s always a man to take you at a cost! We choose to have a drink use wifi and actually call the organiser!
After 3 hours of buses I’m in need of the public convenience. Toilet choice here is a hole in the ground or sit down but face is in urinal! That’s a lovely choice! I choose sit down?
Lovely man at restaurant let’s me use his mobile as I find the number but neither of my mobiles I have work! Bloody EE and 3!
The jeep picks us up and it’s only a few minutes drive but far away from town. Aussie girl now wants to eat in town as she’s seen chicken restaurants and chips galore.
We pass amazing paddy fields, women working constantly.
Get to hotel at last and very posh. Double bed and single bed, I let the youngster have big bed as I’m
Nice like that! The beds look so comfy you want to jump on them. I refrain and fortunately as we realise they just look cosy and are in fact rock hard!! Luxury though: Toilet you can flush paper in and hot water if there’s electricity. We chill for the afternoon with river views, elephants being washed in river, amazing to see. Another volunteer arrives, Aussie boy that I met last week. Still one missing from Kathmandu though, must of missed the bus. Wonder where he ends up? He finally arrives having got on wrong bus, he got the slow but eccentric local bus but somehow made it, bless! He’s from Southampton and Aussie girl thinks he sounds like Jaime Oliver? Weird how foreigners think of us. I’ve decided she reminds me if Michelle in American pie, ‘this one time at band camp!’ Annoying voice! How am I going to cope for the next 2 weeks with her as my roomy??
The boys have an awesome room, less luxury but cool. It’s a hut on stilts with bamboo steps, a balcony overlooking the river and just a simple room with two beds and mosquito nets. Outside communal bathroom is the downside!
First trip is to see the local village and elephant sanctuary. Poor captive elephants from 1 year old tied up then trained from 2 quite brutally? Bit saddened by it. 49 plus years of chains? Magnificent animals though, reminded me of my Kenyan Safari with the African elephants. They were free to roam though.
At dinner the young volunteers share stories. I must remember they are 19/20 and braver than I was at that age. How ever Aussie girl does like a moan. It’s too hot, I don’t want rice, my rash is itching, and remember this is all in the whiny voice. She is lovely though, just young. Was I like that at 19? Probably! We realise that Southampton boy got ripped off by his project costs. £1000 just to work 4 weeks in a monastery. The Aussies feel they keep getting add ons to their costs as well, this trip was included but not the food? Or was it the trips? Who knows but they had to pay extra, then of we want a chance to really see the animals pay more again for a jeep safari which is a bolt on extra!! Mine is the best price so far. Experience from Peru and more research maybe?
Dinner was rice but with more variations from dal baht. So I enjoyed. Of course Aussie girl moaned! ‘I don’t want to eat here every day, I thought I’d get the choice to go to restaurants’. Must be an inexperienced traveller, I’d of expected to eat at the hotel?
Off to cultural evening, although late leaving as Jamie Oliver drops his key in the dark off their bamboo steps. Has to get a torch to find it!!. Local dancers, amazing peacock dance like nothing you’ll ever see, very clever, then all the audience asked to join in for a finale. Of course I got up and joined in, nearly got taken out by mad German dancer in front of me, 2 left feet? More like electric shock treatment but he was having a fun time bless him!!
Absolutely lovely first day!
Awaken at 5.45 for day two. Tired but when you see the sunrise over the Himalayas it is absolutely amazing, I could sit and watch that every day. Breakfast was so exciting, cornflakes, toast and jam! How you miss the simple things. No time to relax as off for the bolt on extra, jeep safari. Late again as this time Jamie Oliver drops his sunglasses and smashes them. Tries to find all parts but doesn’t manage! 12 from our hotel going although two on a different jeep to us. A nutty Bangladeshi and his boyfriend, two English girls who were quite untalkative and two Americans who turned out to be mad twitchers (of the bird kind).
A bit hap hazard to say the least but quite fun none the less. The Bangladeshi has two huge cameras and was sat next to me, constantly in the way of a photo, passing cameras to his boyfriend and demanding the other camera!! Jaime Oliver has this annoying habit of clearing his throat as though he has a tickly cough, but the cough beer materialises! It was bugging me enough that I had to time how often, it’s every bloody 8 seconds! Poor Aussie boy sleeping in a room with him. Saw a rhino which was awesome, lots of colourful birds, deer, peacocks galore but sadly missed the tigers drinking by 5 minutes. Group in front saw them. I blame the American twitchers for checking off their bird book myself! It was a long morning about 4 hours on the jeep and I forgot suntan lotion on everywhere but my face, Doh!
Back for another power nap before lunch. No dal baht again so we were excited by food once more! Chips, oh yes!! Aussie girls moan this time, ‘I don’t want to go out, I want to stay in the room is cooler’. Aaaaahhhhhh!!!
The afternoon was a canoe ride past crocodiles, 4 English people joined us and we lost the twitchers! The English girls started talking too so quite fun. We were told not to wear bright clothing as it scares off the animals the Bangladeshi boyfriend refuses to change from his yellow top!
After seeing more birds and crocodiles (I didn’t smile at the crocodile!) off for a two hour walk through the jungle. It was supposed to be in silence but Bangladeshi can’t stop bloody talking!!
Saw hardy anything so very disappointing. Deer, birds, termite mounds, tiger print and elephants. This time I blame the yellow t shirt dude for scaring off animals! We stopped at a water point fora break in the vague hope that we’d see animals drinking. However Bangladeshi and an English dude started smoking, Aussie girl starts whining that she wants to get going so we get back sooner? I say why? Enjoy the place while you can! I think she’s a bit of an internet addict. Would rather be in her room chatting to friends! The youth of today hey!
As we headed back to get the jeep though suddenly a furore of noise and there were two rhinos fighting by the river. Awesome! The walk finished with sunset over the river, buffaloes swimming and that vision of the rhinos! At dinner we chat to the Americans. They sold their house and have travelled for three years and have two more left. How amazing. They’ve seen over 100 countries. These trips make you meet some amazing people, and hear fantastic stories!
After dinner the four of us chilled by the riverside bar, well with the addition of YouTube music from another couple! But nice to chat. Two alcoholic drinks later I’m feeling tipsy so cup of tea to sober up as another 6am start! Amazing day though, loved it! So privileged to be here and see all this amazing stuff!
Our last trip is an elephant ride. Not the most comfortable but I had fun. Four of us squished in a box on it’s back and off we trek through the water, fields and jungle. Love elephants, so graceful in their movement. Elephants have funny hair on the bodies, not what I expected. Wirey and quite long but sparse. The men in charge of them are called mahouts, they sit on the neck with feet tucked behind elephants ears, this is how they control them. Most seem friendly and to care for the animal but the metal prong they have to hit them with is a tad worrying! We pass the other English volunteers and the girl has lost her flip flop! I’d taken mine off early in the ride just in case, thankful I did now! We get stabbed by tree branches, heads go trough spiders webs, Aussie boy and girl also hit a red and best. Ouch!!
Got to chat to the other volunteers. One had come to Nepal to teach English too. Annoyed that the company hasn’t known its exam time here so no work at all for them. He observed teaching for the first few days then decided its a waste of time invigilating so travelling for three weeks and will go back to teach at the end.
We’d set off late due to the jeep being late so we were then in danger of missing the buses out of town. Breakfast again lovely as today was porridge! Oh yes, but rushed it down as late. Mad pack of bags, Hoping we’ve not forgotten anything then off and away! Two buses back to narayangot, time to shop. Aussie girl does like her food. Yesterday a grab bag of crisps as a snack, and not offered I any of us!!, today the same and some chocolate. A grazer as they say!
Back to the happy home with Aussie boy now. Missing the awesomeness of the views but back to volunteer!
Get a cup of tea, it’s a long one again!!