This morning we got to sleep in, as breakfast wasn’t till 9. I had a lousy sleep because the bed was rock hard. There were two thick blankets on the bed, so I decided the next night we would sleep on top of those blankets and borrow a blanket to cover us from the other bed in the room.I had a breakfast of plain yogurt with honey and muesli. Derek had lemon and sugar pancakes. Both so good we ordered the same again for the next morning.
We then went for our walk around the village. We had a local guide who pointed out homes and agriculture. Some homes were nicer than others because there was someone in the family working abroad and sending money home.
He pointed out the farm fields, which would rotate 15 times in a year. I forget everything he said, but a couple of the crops were buckwheat and rice. We stopped at a local school and both Derek and I had our hearts explode. It was an emotional experience. We both had some tears happy and sad, during our visit. For me, the kids we met were Owen’s age and it hit me how much I missed him. I showed the kids a picture of Owen shovelling snow with a huge modern school in the background. I don’t think they completely understood what they were looking at. The classroom these kids had, had a whiteboard and desks. Concrete or clay/dung floors and walls. Their windows overlooked jungle forest. Nothing fancy inside. A couple of drawings, no SmartBoards, no technology, and kids were learning. Derek says it seems back at home, the classroom comes to a halt when the SmartBoard fails (or at least that’s how it’s conveyed to the IT department). The kids were happy to show us their work in English. We got a huge reaction when one girl from our tour group showed the kids snapchat where the kids were getting bunny ears in their photos.
After our walk, about 5 of us wandered to one of the local shops in search of chocolate and water. We asked for water and the guy didn’t really understand, we had to point to the bottles on the shelf. We bought 4 bottles of water and 2 pens for $2. Then I noticed the water had labels across the lid that said “liquor.” I cracked one open and gave it a sniff. It smelled like Sambuca! I tasted it and it didn’t have a super strong taste. Apparently someone tried to light it on fire later and it didn’t really burn, despite the 70 proof indication on the bottle (or at least we thought it said 70 proof). Our CEO said we shouldn’t drink it, that it was moonshine.
After lunch, we had a 4×4 safari into the jungle of the Chitwan a National Park. Everything was so lush and green, except for the Elephant Grass, which was yellow. The grass grows meters high and the locals can cut it once a year to maintain their homes.
We were shown a slideshow the night before of the types of flora and fauna in the jungle. For fauna, mostly deer (2-3 types), rhino, tigers, leopard, multiple varieties of birds, snakes, and 2 types of crocodiles. We were told not to expect to see anything.
We did see 3 rhinos, some deer, and a few types of birds (including an Egret, a stork, vultures, and another that’s escaping my memory).
We drove past their anti-poaching headquarters and were told we couldn’t take any photos. We were able to get out of our 4×4 a few times. Once we went to walk up to the river to check out some monkeys, when all of a sudden, liquid came pouring from the sky. A monkey in the tree above us was trying to pee on us! Once his bladder was empty, he started throwing flowers and some other hard things that came off the tree. One hit Derek on the head.
The park featured a vulture restaurant, where the local families could bring their dead animals and the vultures would eat them. There were probably around 20 vultures in that area.
Dinner consisted of a thali, which is basically a plate of many differerent items, which they kept trying to refill. There was rice, a veg curry, a tomato curry, lentils, chicken curry, tandoori fish, eggplant and cauliflower curry, and papadams. We were also given a rice wine to drink, and some spiced raisin cake for dessert.
We were then treated to a stick dance put on by the tharu community, they danced around in a circle hitting each other’s sticks along to drum music. We were invited up to dance with them (without the sticks), and about 4 of us joined in. It was a lot of fun!