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Chitwan-Pokhara - Day 16

We got back on our bus for the journey to Pokhara, which was about 4 hours or so. Once again it was a beautiful drive through the green mountains, winding our way up and down. We arrived just before lunch time, to discover that a few of our rooms weren't quite ready yet, so we dumped our bags headed out for some food. Pokhara is a cute little town, which actually turned out to be much bigger than I thought - but more on that later. There is one main high street again, filled with shops and bars and restaurants. After fuelling up, and finally getting to our rooms, a few of us decided to go on a mini tour of some of the sights. We drove around the city, stopping off first at a cave. I actually don't know the history of the cave, but it was pretty cool. Fairly small, but had some awesome stalactites and stalagmites. After that we went to a waterfall, which we were all really excited by, until we learnt that there probably wouldn't be any water in it, seeing as we're right at the end of the dry season! However when we arrived, you could hear the water falling already. There wasn't much of it, but it was beautiful anyway. It was definite fairy territory! We didn't stay too long there, because it was getting so hot, so we headed back to our cab to take us to the next place. It was a spot called Sunset Point, which has a large Japanese Buddhist temple right at the top of the hill. It was a long climb up lots of stairs, but it was so worth it. The view from the top was insane! This is where I learnt that Pokhara was actually huge. It's a large sprawling city, right next to a beautiful lake. We thought about staying up there for the sunset, but it was still hours away, and we were absolutely melting by this point, so we gave up and headed back to the hotel.

For dinner that night we went to a really lovely restaurant on the Main Street. I had a salad for the first time in forever! It was so nice to have fresh crunchy vegetables! Afterwards, a few of us went to one of the local bars. It was a proper dive bar, with a live band playing some good old school rock songs, a pool table and cheap cocktails! It was so much fun! We had a blast!

Posted by RaeRae8183 08:11 Archived in Nepal Tagged temple cave waterfall pokhara Comments (0)

Chitwan - day 15

The morning was a very lazy one, for obvious reasons! But we all gathered together around lunch time to set off for our jungle safari. It was a short walk to a small canoe to get us across the river, then up to the jeeps which would drive us through the jungle. The trees were amazing, and huge, and old. Some gnarled and twisted, some utterly dead straight, and others pointed and burnt by the wild fires. We saw a bunch of different animals, Asian paradise flycatchers - an amazing little bird which looked like a dragon, loads of water buffalo, a couple of Bison, two spotted deer, which were beautiful and majestic, with their giant antlers, a load of monkeys, and then the best one - a rhino taking a bath! He was so close to us, and because it wasn't dark this time, we could actually see him! It was so cool! He was right there - right in front of my eyeballs! We were all in utter awe. The ride back to base was less exciting after that, but it was still beautiful and peaceful - there's so much to be said for being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, mostly untouched by man.

Heading back to the reality of the town, we realised we were all a little hungry, so we went back to the same restaurant to enjoy the view one more time. Once again we were treated to an incredible sunset, with delicious food. After the night before's antics we all had an early night to prepare for the journey to Pokhara in the morning.

Posted by RaeRae8183 08:08 Archived in Nepal Tagged rhino chitwan chitwan_national_park Comments (0)

Lumbini to Chitwan - Day 14

We got up early again, to go and have a look around the place where Buddha was born, before it got too hot. We went to a temple which showed the life cycle of Siddhartha, a prince of the royal family who was kept so secluded in his palace he had never seen the outside world. One day he stole a horse and a guard to show him what lay beyond the walls. What he saw shocked and surprised him, so he set about meditating to reach a higher plane in order to live beyond the circle of life. There were some beautiful statues around the grounds to show his process. The inside was even more impressive, with stunning paintings on the walls and ceiling. It was so quiet and peaceful inside. We then walked to the tree under which he was supposedly born. People come from all over the world to pay homage, lighting incense and leaving offerings. The tree was huge, old and amazing. We then wandered back to our bus, to set off on the long journey to our next stop, Chitwan. It was a lovely journey through the mountains, with some very winding roads and incredible views. We stopped off for lunch at a small family run roadside place. It looked like their house, with a patio out at the back. We had our first taste of Nepali Thali, small bowls of curry, Dahl, pickles and some rice. It was very authentic, and delicious and a great experience.

We arrived at our hotel just in time for the early evening, to sit outside and enjoy the evening sunshine. This was another lodge style hotel, set right next to the Chitwan National Park, and the river. Our rooms were pretty basic, but comfortable. We had two nights here, so it was great to be able to unpack a little bit. We decided that we'd have a little room party, seeing as we didn't have much to do the next morning. A few of us went to have a wander through the town, which consisted of one Main Street. The people of Nepal are so much friendlier and chilled out than in India. We could walk past, and even into, shops without being hassled to buy anything. We stocked up on drinks, snacks, and odd souvenir. By now it was time for dinner, so we walked down the road to a place called Sunset View. It was a restaurant right down on the river, and it's name was not mistaken. The sunset was awesome, the colours ranging from purples, to pinks, to bright orange and pale blues, constantly changing. As it got darker the stars started to come out - there were more stars than I'd seen in a really long time. You lost the main constellations in amongst the rest of them. We even saw a couple of satellites! Beef is still not an option in Nepal, being a mainly Hindu country, but they do have Buff on the menu. Water buffalo, which actually tastes very similar to beef, but slightly chewier. A bunch of us went for the sizzling steak, with chips and veggies. It was so good - even though we had to eat in the dark! As we were waiting for our food to come out, we heard a rustling down by the river, which turned out to be a Rhino, coming to join us!! He stomped on up through the brushy bit, and came pretty close to where we were eating, but then turned down to follow the river a bit. He was huge, impressive and awesome! It was so exciting, a little scary, but amazing! He just kept plodding along, having a munch on some grass, and wandering on.

After dinner it was party time, which was great fun - hanging out, playing games, having a good giggle! We partied until the wee small hours of the morning, when we called it a night, ready for sleeps!

Posted by RaeRae8183 03:57 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Lumbini - Day 13

Once again, we had a very early start for our 12 journey across the border into Nepal. It was a long and fairly boring journey to get us to the crossing, stopping only a couple times for water and lunch. When we arrived at the border, all our big bags were piled onto a tuk tuk, because it's s walking border crossing. We had to wait whilst all our passports got their exit stamps, in ridiculous 1.00 heat. We were melting. Luckily it didn't take too long, and before we knew it we were walking over the divide between India and Nepal. Within 100 meters, you could feel the difference in atmosphere between the two counties. There was much less stress, no where near as many people and therefore noise. It was lovely to see, after all the hectic places we had been. Once we had all received our new entry stamps and visas, it was back to another bus to finish the journey to Lumbini. It was a very pretty journey through forests, and then open roads, and back to forests. Nepal really is one of the most stunning countries. We arrived at our jungle lodge with enough time to shower and sort ourselves out before dinner. The lodge was awesome, tucked away in the middle of a forest, you couldn't hear a man made sound at all! Our rooms were in separate little lodges, complete with mosquito nets hanging from the ceiling which made our beds look like princess beds! We even had a couple of geckos hanging out with us!

Dinner was our first taste of the local delicacy, MoMo. They're dumplings, either steamed or fried, with chicken, buffalo (Nepal is still a very Hindu country where they don't eat beef, but they do eat the buff!) or veggie fillings. They're little tasty delicious parcels of heaven! After a few drinks we headed to our princess beds for the night!

Posted by RaeRae8183 03:56 Archived in Nepal Tagged buddha momo lumbini Comments (0)

Varansi - Day 12

It was another early start today, because we went back to the river to see the morning prayers, and to watch the sun rise. Once again, it was so peaceful out of all the hubbub of the city. The sunrise was beautiful, spreading the most amazing pinks and oranges over the whole sky. On the way back we saw another couple of cremations, and learnt a little more about the traditions.

We made it back to the hotel in time for a delicious buffet breakfast, including freshly made waffles, toast, eggs, more traditional rice and curry, and twice baked potatoes, juices, fruit and everything you could want. We then had a free day, in preparation for our 12 hour bus journey the next day. A few of us had some parcels to mail back home, so we ventured out to the post office. This was possibly the most stressful experience of the whole trip! As soon as we walked through the door we were met with a sea of people standing at different counters, all of which were labeled in Hindi, so we had no idea where we should go. Luckily a worker took pity on us, and showed us what to do. We needed our parcels wrapping up, so he disappeared to get some, what I assumed would be, paper. However he returned with a sort of calico material and some thread. He then sewed out packages up, very securely, and sealed them with melted wax. We had to fill out all kinds of forms, and stand and wait for the man behind the desk to serve us. Much like with the driving, there are no rules here, just every man for himself. As a Brit, we're used to standing in nice orderly lines and waiting your turn. Not here - if you don't get your elbows out and get in there, you don't get served. We then found out you could only pay with cash, where we had all hoped to pay on cards, so we left one of the girls there as collateral (!!) whilst a couple of us went to get some money. This involved walking back to almost the hotel, and standing in another line! Poor Haidee was sitting waiting for us for quite some time. When we finally got back, we had to stand in yet another (non) line to pay. I managed to shove our way to the front, and eventually, about 2 1/2 hours after we first walked in, our parcels were sent and we were on the way back to the hotel.

There was a spa in the hotel, so after our fairly horrendous ordeal we treated ourselves to some treatments. I had a much needed pedicure, which was so relaxing and luxurious. I don't think my feet have ever been as clean! The afternoon was spend hanging out in the sunshine, drinking cocktails, eating dinner and watching the stars come out as evening drew in.

Posted by RaeRae8183 03:55 Archived in India Comments (0)

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