The rest of my Chitwan weekend was really just centred around elephants. I’m being honest here – yes, I saw one-horned rhino’s, deer, wild monkeys, crocodiles, snakes, and lots of interesting birds but the elephants were a big hit with me – no, a huge hit.
The guide collected rhino pee for about 10 minutes right before this second rhino encounter. Apparently its sold as a – what else – aphrodisiac in China for a fair amount of cash…
Ok, I got the rhino picture out of the way, now I can focus on the elephants. The girl that we took for our safari was great. She only had one moment of stubbornness and I didn’t blame her at all. There appeared to be some sort of delicious plant that she bee-lined into thick bush for and it turned out to be full of prickles. But she devoured it with excitement, so the flavour must have been good?
She was checking out my camera!
After a safari through the jungle on elephant back, I headed straight for the river on Raja’s motorbike to get on another elephant. But this time, in the water! I know this is super touristy and maybe for some, not all that exciting, but I loved every moment of it. I’m not sure there is anything else on earth that can make you so child-like giddy.
Bathing playfully in a river with a gentle beast is not only wildly entertaining, but so refreshing! So much for not swimming in any body of water here (sorry, Doc).
I even climbed onto the elephant’s back by the trunk (the way the trainers do). It was surprisingly easy since the trunk is so strong (over 40,000 muscles).
All fun stuff aside, these elephants get treated quite well. They share a close bond with their trainers and have restrictions on how many hours per day they can work. The training methods can look harsh (sticks and these hook things) but I read that WWF has funded projects in the area to develop more psychological methods of training. Obviously, they would lead a very different life in the wild, but at least they are working towards ensuring the domesticated elephants have a pleasant life.
And hey, they looked pretty happy to me when they were rolling around in the water, being rubbed down by eager people.
Next up was a canoe down the river (in crocodile infested water, not my personal favorite).
Raja: “Listen Jamie. Do you hear barking?”
Me: “Yes. Is that a dog?”
Raja: “No. It’s Deer. Do you know what we call this type of Deer?”
Me: “Barking Deer?”
Raja:”Canadians are really smart.”
After the river float (and ten crocodile sightings) we wandered in the jungle for over two hours. We really didn’t see all that much. I didn’t mind though, since I’m bad at climbing trees and apparently that’s what you do if you see a rhino. It was peaceful to walk around, just the two of us. We passed a few large groups and I felt pretty lucky with my situation.
And it all ended with a great night in the hotel restaurant – me, the hotel manager, and a bunch of staff sipping on Everests and talking about the future plans for the resort (five stars are coming right up for this place – pool, horse stables, river-side additions). Followed by an early morning bird watching session (really, again, just more wandering around). Great weekend.
Let’s end this on a high note – not just another elephant picture, but a baby…twin…elephant!
Just way too cute.