On the ride back to Saurara we enjoyed a bit more safari through the Chitwan National Park although after the excitement of yesterday it was always going to be a bit of an anti-climax. After exciting the park we passed through a few small villages. Almost without exception the local children were keen to wave, and in some cases scream excitedly, at the bus of tourists driving down their street. They possibly even surpassed the previous winner of my friendliest place, Colombia, in terms of smiling locals. We felt a bit like the Queen when visiting one of the colonies or the Pope driving around some part of Latin America!
With it still being reasonably early when got back to Saurana, a few people went to see the working elephants get their morning wash. I didn’t fancy it. Intrepid Travel, the tour company, has an elephant policy that discourages elephant riding. It questions the treatment of the animals and by supporting such businesses the demand will fuel the capturing of wild animals. The counter argument would be that most of the elephants are well looked after, have good relationship with their keeper and it provides a local industry. Personally I’d lean towards the Intrepid side of the argument. That may sound a bit hypocritical as I have ridden an elephant before. However I was probably about 5 years old at the time and lots of things that were acceptable during that 1980s are deemed inappropriate today. The people who saw the elephants getting washed had mixed feelings about what they saw. While it was amazing to see such beautiful animals, apparently one of the keepers was screaming at one of the elephants at hitting it.
Saurara is a nice place to chill out. I spent most of the day relaxing with a coffee on the rooftop terrace and a couple of beers in hotel garden, watching the world go by. Today another Intrepid group arrived the hotel. This contained more typical demographics that perhaps could be expected.
Alex and Chris from our group both had birthdays today so we spent a fair bit of time arguing about the probability of such an occurrence! The ever-generous Ajay bought them a cake. Nepalese birthday cake was certainly interesting but a bit too sweet and creamy for my taste. With a 6am start to Kathmandu tomorrow it was an early night. Unfortunately the youngsters from the other tour group seemed to be quite keen on partying and there was a bit of karaoke taking place, including an excruciating repetition of Crazy in Love by Beyonce that seemed to last for half an hour. Even after this all stopped my sleep was then interrupted by an elephant roaring and dogs barking. It felt as though we were staying in the zoo!