But first – need to talk about remainder of varanasi! Our 2nd day in varanasi, we went for a sunrise boat trip. Then us ladies headed out for some pampering – I got a facial, a pedicure and my eyebrows waxed. All fairly new territory. The facial went down to the boobs -funny getting my boobs massaged by a strange lady but apparently the Indians have no taboos (or taboobs) about that! The pedicure was good too, but I learned just how ticklish my feet were. I then got my eyebrows shaped, not with wax but with cotton “threading”. I have never had this done before. It hurt but my brows look loverly. All up it cost the equivalent to $20 AUD. Then we went to a yoga class with a real yogi! Our tour guide, of Canadian origin but living in Varanasi, has his own yoga instructor and arranged a lesson for some of us. Mr. Pathak was wonderful and I felt really stretched out and relaxed after.
In the evening, a night time candle ceremony where we got to light candles, make a wish and float them on the ganges. I made a few wishes with a few candles. It was magical. I then went and bought some artwork by a fellow who has a world record for 51 hours spent painting pictures of ganesh the elephant god.
We were meant to drive to lumbini after varanasi, however there was lowland political instability, meaning roadblocks, sowe flew from varanasi to Kathmandu instead. My GP had told me that everyone gets sick in KTM. I was queasy all day and then the squirts started that evening. I was even woken at night. The next day was a 6 hour drive to Chitwan national park where I learned I have not yet gotten over my choldhood motion sickness. A very queasy ride indeed!
We got to our hotel and had some gin and tonics. IN the late afternoon, we went to an elephant breeding ground and saw some baby elephants, including a very cheeky one who swung his trunk at me. I have decided that my favourite feel is that of a baby elephant trunk: looks rough but surprisingly soft. That night, however, I had diarrhoea that broke the space-time continuum (i.e. I was shitting out food and drink that I had not eaten yet!) I had to wander out for water at 2am as I got dheydrated.
The next morning, off for a ride in a dugout canoe and thena long hike. We went out rhino hunting. It was a bit difficult having been ill the night before and I still wanst feeling flash. It was also ver humid and I was sweating bricks.
We were rewarded with a very close encounter with a rhino, in fact it was about 6 metres from us and sniffing us out! We were all very frightened as we did not wish to be mauled by his proboscis! Our brave tour leaders threw sticks at the behemoth and luckily he ran away.
The walk back was particularly tough, I was really beginning to feel unwell but I kept going, albeit slowly. Finally we arrived at our very basic accommodation (squat toilets, bucket for shower) and ate dinner. It was a very early night. This morning, back in thejeeps to our less basic hotel. This arvo an elephant ride.