Ahh Chitawan, you and your guilty non-Nepali pleasures. I can only justify going to the undeniably touristified (Yes, it IS a word. Well it is now. . .) Chitawan because my week-to-week experience at Parsha is authentically Nepalese. Disclaimer out of the way; now down to details.
Breakfast was banana pancakes. I am salivating over the memories. Then (because Guy has a sort of 'hey-you-smoke-and-I-smoke' sort of rapport with the manager) we went to do some elephant bathing for free. I'd refused to go on the elephant safari a few weekends ago because I'd ridden and elephant in Thailand and didn't like the way that the elephant was treated. Bathing, I figured, would be a little different. If I were to imagine an elephant's life things like eating, bathing, and interacting with other elephants/animals would seem like relatively enjoyable and natural things.
From all I could examine from the shore my suspicions were correct. The elephants didn't need coaxing into the water and I sometimes saw them do natural 'elephant things' like drinking the water and throwing dirt on themselves. Perhaps all this justification is overkill but it's necessary for me to feel at ease.
MOVING ON. . . the experience itself was incredible. The majesty and sheer size of an elephant is striking up close. With me (and some danish tourists) on it's back the elephant sprayed itself (and us) with water. Guy took some excellent photo's from the river shore.
Back at the rainforest hotel I sun-dried and read a bit while Guy talked with the manager and in the afternoon I had a nap.
At dinner we met some incredibly attractive danish travellers (and for the second time writing this diary entry I am salivating) who spoke English very well. I shamelessly showed off and broke the ice with a few card tricks (2 succeeded, 1 miserable failure) and afterwards we all went out together for 2-for1 cocktails.
My small frame means that 2 cocktails really hits me, and the joint that was passed around afterwards (offered as casually as one might offer an after dinner mint) probably didn't help my rapidly declining state either. The conversations were lively and great and I wish I'd taken photo's. We walked (ok, stumbled) back to the hotel only stopping for the obligatory late night inebriated snickers bar. It tasted like ground up unicorns.