Another ridiculously early start to our bus journey – I asked the hotel manager why that was and he said ‘we like to start early’… I think what he really means is ‘it takes forever to drive 100km so we HAVE to start early!!!’. Several buses drove in (and subsequently) out of the bus stand – some of which we were delighted about as they seemed to be falling apart and others we were devastated to not be on – an air conditioned mini van was what we really wanted!!! Our bus pulled up and was kind of in the middle – We got proper seats and the windows opened so it was almost like an air conditioned bus… Drove down the road for about 20minutes before there was a huge commotion up front, with the bus driver shouting (what can only be assumed as) explicit words!!! A sharp u-turn, at speed, and we were flying back down the road we had just come up. Not sure whether she had missed the bus or was just late but a lady climbed onto the bus, screamed at the bus driver (who screamed back!) and then sat in a seat which she refused to move from despite protests from the conductor. Clearly in a foul mood, the driver then drove like he was in a formula one race – so much that neither Jayne or I felt particularly comfortable! By the time he had calmed down, our nerves were through the roof and we were counting down the kilometres until we could get off!!! A few episodes of ‘Friends’, some chocolate cake and four hours later we were dropped off at the side of the road to catch the next bus to our destination. Managed to get one pretty quickly – I forgot how much we stand out as (potentially) lost tourists!! Clearly no tourist ever stops there either unless they’re heading to Chitwan, Pokara or Lumbini. The second bus journey was short, which was good since I got the giggles when a man got on with a live chicken in a blue plastic bag. Obviously, to be nice to the chicken he was just about to slaughter, he’d made it a little hole in the bag so it could poke its head out and enjoy the scenery. Another drop off at the side of a busy road before we jumped in a TukTuk to take us the rest of the way to our ‘jungle resort’. Checked in and had lunch before washing clothes and catching up with blogs. Went for a guided walk around the village, visiting the government elephants and spotting crocodiles in the river. Went to watch the sunset but it disappeared behind some clouds/hazy fog so we gave up and went back to the lodge for dinner. Got to make up food packets (hay bundles stuffed with rice) for the resident elephant and feed it to her. She needs 80-100 of these every evening so, I think, her handler appreciated the help! Went to watch a traditional local dance exhibition – lots of banging drums and sticks with chanting. Made me wonder how many broken fingers they get when practising. They smack each other’s sticks with force!!! The peacock dance was also brilliant and very funny! Back at the hotel for a briefing about tomorrow (AH!!!! Another early start) and bed!
Tuesday 3rd May 2016