May 8: Safari Hotel to Kathmandu

Our time in the jungle was rapidly coming to an end. The morning was filled with a lecture of the history of Chitwan National Park from our Naturalist. Seems the park was originally a private hunting grounds of the royal family. Over the years it became a national park to preserve the animals as well as the habitat they live in. Today it is the home of elephants, tigers, rhinos, bears, crocodiles, birds, snakes, monkeys, as well as a wide variety of fauna. The park, itself is protected by the Nepal Army. There are about 60 soldiers stationed within the park to protect the animals, especially the rhino, from poachers. Unfortunately, all the great effort to secure the area does not always work and the animal is killed for its horn believed to contain some magically erotic substances.

Our plan for the day was to bus to the nearest airport in Bharatpur, about 25 kms away to catch our flight to Kathmandu this afternoon. The early morning shower effect was now lost on all of us as the day's temperature rose to above 95 degrees with a very high humidity. But that slowed no one down. Last minute pictures of our little home away from home and off on the bus we bounced and bumped.

The airport of Bharatpur is very small -- as is the prop plane waiting for us to arrive. There was just enough seats on the plane for our group plus two others. The pilot and co-pilot sat in full view of all of us and provided the entertainment as we flew over the mountains back to the city. Because we were such a small plane and fully loaded, we flew at no more than 6000 feet winding our way through the separations in the mountains caused by the rivers below. The co-pilot's main job was to visually spot the route and then make hand gestures to the pilot as to where to go!! Left a little, no more to the right!!

Once back in Kathmandu we bused our way through the busy streets to our hotel. The noise and confusion were definite cultural shocks to our systems. The peace and quiet of the countryside was no more. The afternoon was spent buying last minute presents for people at home (Dave had arranged for one of his friends to bring over to the hotel a variety of articles that we had asked about, but because of the protest could not buy). The last few rupees were spent with joy!!

Our farewell dinner was a treat. Dave had arranged for us to dine at an old reconstructed building that use to be the stables for the royal family. Now it is an up class dining area complete with native Nepal dancers and food. Rakshi, the native home brew millet-based distilled drink was flowing, the music playing and all had a great time.

Tomorrow starts the long day's journey west.

Mowing the Lawn

Hand Mower

Morning Lecture

Howard, Ron, and Peg

Pete, Lurline and Ron at Dinner

Gail and Sorel

Hedy and Howard

Dave, Elaine, Rhetta and Gail

Peg and Susan

Dave and the Group


Rakshi Cup

Traditional Nepal Dinner -- Lots of Curry and Chilies!!

Peg After the Blessing

Well Fed and Blessed!