– Reisverhaal Nepal: wildlife & jungle –
In the early morning darkness, when the only light comes from the moon and the stars, I sit down on my doorstep. The air is fresh, almost a little chilly. Chirping and early singing birds are the only sounds.
It’s hard to imagine that in a couple of hours the sun will be burning hot again, the air gets heavy and the intense sounds of the jungle are all over you. Just like the other days when I was out there too.
When I arrived here I was warmly welcomed by a lady who is about half my height. She has a friendly but somewhat stern expression on her face. Beautiful long black hair is tied in a tight knot at the back of her head. The bright turquoise Daura Suruwal decorated with flowers radiates energy. In the evening she wraps a large woollen scarf around her and tightly holds a glass warm water. She doesn’t have a single wrinkle in her face. Still she tells me she feels old. She’s 45.
I have to listen carefully to follow her English, sipping from my fresh mango welcome juice, while sitting in their flowery garden. My mind goes back to what I’ve read on their website. I cannot imagine what it must have been like during the civil war, when they lost their property, and I feel happy for them that they’ve managed to recreate this secret paradise-like garden with their hard work.
I want to stretch my legs after the long ride and walk towards the small village. All of a sudden I’m surrounded by a big bunch of school kids. It’s about 4pm and of course school is out. They turn around to look at me. They want to take pictures, some say something to me, leading to giggles of their school friends. As soon as they appeared around me they seem to disappear again. The big sister walking home holding hands with her small brother, a girl proudly sitting on the back of mummies bike, pushing their way into jam packed busses and waving at me or best-friends arm in arm going for their favourite after school treat at one of the ‘snack-bars’.
Getting up early for my jungle trekkings is no problem at all as I tend to fall asleep before 9pm.
So far every jungle has been so different. So is this one. I enjoy walking around seeing deer alerted by our presence, an otter diving in the river for his morning workout, unsuccessfully fishing Kingfishers and monkeys leaping around to cross the river without getting too wet. I learn about the friendship between deer and monkeys. And how the monkeys throw food from the trees for the deer and how they give a tiger alarm.
We fight our way through the dense jungle. My arms get all scratchy, but the grin on my face doesn’t disappear. We have lunch in a game view tower. The fried vegetable rice with fresh pickles and chapati seems to taste even better being out in the wild.
What turns out to be less of a fit for me is the sitting and waiting to see animals. Sitting means as little sound and movement as possible, while seated on some leaves in the shadow. Guides climb the trees as easy as monkeys to spot animals around. This waiting turns out to be the name of the game. Some people even claim to like this. As said it’s not my cup of tea, but I’m rewarded big time; a rhino show up in the river. Drinking, bathing and just showing off.
Over dinner everyone is excited and wants see pictures. It’s only till the end of the next day when I realise I have been really lucky. I tick the box for another great experience.
My backpack is packed for Kathmandu. I feel sad leaving this great remote jungle village, excited to go back home tomorrow. Driving to the airport I see the colour of the sky slowly changing to orange while the world is waking up. Fog is hanging low over the fields. Trees and mountains are only outlines. Villagers are feeding their cattle. Some buffaloes are already out to work slowly ploughing or toiling for a fully loaded cart.
And then the sun rises over the mountains. Illuminating the thatched roofs of the lime stones houses. It sets the world on fire for yet another beautiful day!
– Reisverhaal Nepal: wildlife & jungle –