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!