Elephants, and Rhinos, and Crocs! Oh, my!

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May 28th 2008
Published: June 1st 2008
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That is at least my rendition of it. That would have been very cool to see some lions, and tigers, and bears, but there are no lions, and very few (Bengal) tigers, and (Sloth) bears remaining at the Chitwan National Park, as they have a problem with poachers.

Regardless, in my relatively short stay in Chitwan, I got to see elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, deer, and peacocks, along with many other birds.

One of the craziest things was definitely seeing two rhinos while walking through the jungle. These huge animals look almost fake. A mixed breed of tank and dinosaur. None of the people I had spoken with prior saw any while on foot so I didn't expect to either, even though I kept my hopes up. We were all excited when we saw them, but made sure we kept our distance and stayed quiet, as these animals are extremely intimidating. Of course, a couple of days before I arrived and one of the few times I saw something on TV in English, it was a show on the usually docile rhinos and them attacking people in Africa.

Later that day, I got to ride on an elephant throughout
Rhinoceros UnicornisRhinoceros UnicornisRhinoceros Unicornis

Two of the ten I came across that day. This is a picture while riding the elephant. We got much closer here than while on foot.
the jungle with a Nepali couple and our guide. We were lucky in that our group consisted of only our elephant. Most of the time, they go out in groups of 5-10 elephants so we were able to keep relatively quiet. This helped because we got to see a lot of rhinos. We were hoping to see some tigers, bears, or monkeys, but no luck on that front.

After that, it was back to Kathmandu to hangout for a few days.

About a month before I arrived, Nepal held their elections and the Maoists prevailed. The Maoists insisted on the abolition of the monarchy and two days before I left, their wishes came to fruition. The monarchy, which had reigned for the previous 240 years, was no more and because of this, they declared the following three days a public holiday. It was either because of that or they just wanted to celebrate my last few days in their wonderful country. Seriously though, it was very cool to be able to be there while history was taking place. The people are unsure of what the future holds (as is everybody else in this world for that matter), but

Me and some fellow jungle trekkers.
they strongly believe that change is extremely necessary. They were also pleased with the current King losing his power. If you want to read something interesting, check out the Nepalese Royal Massacre and some of the conspiracy theories about it, which are widely believed by the people.

Anyways, after some momos and a couple Nepali dishes that I couldn't pronounce, it was time to go. I will definitely miss the people and the natural beauty of Nepal, but am happy to say goodbye to the Bollywood movies (which are basically an automatic headache for me and all they watch out there) and the bumpy roads. As my first and possibly last round-trip ticket (for the foreseeable future at least) reads, it is time to go back to Bangkok...

Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 24


Gavialis GangeticusGavialis Gangeticus
Gavialis Gangeticus

One of the several gharial (or "long-nosed crocodile") I saw off my canoe.
Gavialis GangeticusGavialis Gangeticus
Gavialis Gangeticus

Another gharial.
A Stroll Through the ParkA Stroll Through the Park
A Stroll Through the Park

The best picture I could get of one of the rhinos from the ground.
A Stroll Through the ParkA Stroll Through the Park
A Stroll Through the Park

Both of the rhinos from the ground.
Through the Elephant GrassThrough the Elephant Grass
Through the Elephant Grass

The only problem with being about a foot taller than the person in front of you is that you get constant spider webs in your face.

There were some pretty large mushrooms throughout the trail. My guide told me "no eat" so when he turned around, I naturally grabbed one and took a huge bite. About 30 minutes later, that Elephant Grass was growing rather quickly and the bugs were saying some wild shit as I followed Alice down the rabbit hole. Now I was really getting what I paid for. Okay, maybe that never happened, but he did tell me not to eat them.
What is the Most Dangerous Circus Animal?What is the Most Dangerous Circus Animal?
What is the Most Dangerous Circus Animal?

Thanks to Nick and a string cheese wrapper about four years ago, I have learned that the answer to that question is the Elephant. Now you joined me, a majority of my former co-workers, every waitress that served us during lunch, and most receptionists of the companies we worked with knowing that answer.
Elephant RodeoElephant Rodeo
Elephant Rodeo

They refer to it as an Elephant Bath, but it is more like an Elephant Rodeo. The Nepali handler would say things to the elephant and he would try and throw me off. He won every time. The day before, I was speaking to some people from Belgium and they told me to watch out for the football sized fecal matter that these animal produce. Not sure if they were refering to a football or a soccer ball, but it didn't matter. I wanted no part in either. Also, they call the trunk of an elephant a "slurf." Found that pretty funny.
Riding the ElephantRiding the Elephant
Riding the Elephant

Family of four. The largest group I saw.
Riding the ElephantRiding the Elephant
Riding the Elephant

I think that thing could run through a wall.
Brit BritBrit Brit
Brit Brit

Even my elephant "driver" likes Britney Spears. She and Avril Lavigne are pretty popular in Nepal.
Me at the HelmMe at the Helm
Me at the Helm

I wasn't so sure this was the best idea from the start, but nobody I was with spoke English.

1st June 2008

Casey - you are capturing some great photos!!! Thanks for sharing them with us.
4th June 2008

worth a thousand words...
Love the pics Casey! especially the ones with you on the elephant! stay safe!!
20th June 2008

crazy rhinos
Your elephant was a badass! I like his style charging the lake like that. Looks like you are having some really amazing adventures!

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