River Fun, Mud Mountains and Jungles
13.12.2016 40 °C
With the help of the locals we found a relaxing watering hole to escape the heat of the farmlands and to spend our free time.
Our first visit to the river was a long hot walk past goats and buffalos and little shops. We had nearly given up finding our destination when we found the hidden, unnamed restaurant along the river across from the Chitwan National Park.
This place served ice cold beer in rare ice cold glasses which was heavenly in the 40C heat of mid-day. We could relax and view alligators which sometimes came up on shore to suntan or the occasional elephants were seen grazing as they are used frequently by the tourists to explore the park lands.
Upriver we noticed local kids swimming so we took this as a safe place from the gators and joined them! On the way back we hoped on the last bus and they didn't even charge us to take us home!
Our peaceful Eco Park was now growing nearly every day with new volunteers (we don't think that Bishnu knew how to say NO to them). Grace from the United States and Tom from France joined us soon and after that Gigi from Italy, Amanda from Brazil, Ondo from Basque Country and Katrin and Kirsten from Denmark. We helped show them the ropes and our love of samosa-o'clock.
We went back with bigger groups to the river and one time we went with Ida and Ane to visit an Uncle in the next-door resort (Ida had just found out he was in Nepal, let alone in the same town as us!) and we were treated to the BEST COFFEE EVER as we lounged by the exquisite pool. We ended up missing the last bus that day and refused to get a taxi to get us as we were overly caffeinated and had plans to walk back but we came across a group of men on their scooters who, of course, knew the Eco Park, and were happy to race us back with 3 to a bike. Everyone arrived back safe!
Camille from France and Julia from Denmark arrived next. It was becoming such a big social experiment figuring out where to have people sleep but there was always enough dhal baht and we entertained each other wonderfully.
Thibaut was the main man for activities with a sports degree; He carved out a chess set, spear-headed a volleyball net and bought a ball, travelled with a slack-line which the local kids loved to use and he and Tom taught us the crazy French card game of Tarot! Kevin had also carved some dice for Yahtzee and Ondo taught us macrame which he had learnt in India. We all shared around our travel books and Grace had also volunteered herself as a secondary yoga teacher as most of us were not able to wake up for the 4am one.
Another project Bishnu had for us was re-creating the mountains of the Himalayas. We hauled more and more dirt and since so much water was sloshed around it was inevitable that a mud fight erupted.
We also did more serious work such as fixing the irrigation for the plants, building support beams for sprouts and started building another recycling house...many blistered sprouted using our natural wooden hoes.
A night-time activity we organized was setting up movies with a projector and made popcorn from the local store (30Rp for a whole bag of kernels!). Ariel found the secret ingredient of cut-up dill-weed is perfect on top!
One evening we found ourselves trying down the hatches as a big lightning storm rolled in. It was amazing and afterwards we even got a brief glimpse of the mountains off in the distance!
Our last big adventure was doing a jungle walk!
We set off with Bishnu, 2 Guides fitted with strong bamboo sticks (for the tigers) and 6 of us volunteers. We got a short tiger talk aka if they gave you a stick and tiger comes at you, you were supposed to jam it in their mouths before they ate you. GREAT. LET'S GO!
We walked for about 7hrs and saw 2/4 local deer (spotted and hawk), a fox, storks, tiger scratches (locals get killed yearly, eep!) and FINALLY we found what we were searching for, RHINO's! We found a little family lounging in the river. As we watched we also scoped out which tree to scramble up if they charged (we saw lots of paths created by them coming up the banks). We saw a few more crocs as we crossed back over the river and cooled off from the long day, very successful day.
(Will be adding more photo's once I can steal them from our friends)