From Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park it is a distance of 185 km.
All down hill…
So you would think, that traveling in a brand new van, about 3and 1/2 hours would do it…??
Well, We are in Nepal here and with Nepali roads and Nepali traffic…..
Kathmandu is in a valley, at an altitude of 1337 meters. So first one has to get through the bumper to bumper traffic of the city, then up to the rim of the valley… and then down…
Bumper to bumper with motor bikes weaving in between,
stop and go from pothole to pothole on a very narrow road .
Switchbacks almost all the way…..
HUUUUUUGE Tata trucks coming up, bringing everything Kathmandu needs straight from India…..
Buses, maaaany buses, big and small often with people on the roof.
Vans overflowing with people and their luggage on the roof, the occasional Goat and Chickens and Ducks in cages and baskets….
It is the Dashain festival and EVERYONE is going home….
Our patient driver explains, that the traffic today is lighter then on other days – on this road…..
That did not help one of the rickety buses that – 2 hours ahead of us somehow did not get around one narrow switchback and capsized down the steep embankment. 18 dead. In-consolable survivors and loved ones crowd the narrow margin at the abyss….
We snake by the tragedy and press on… Down. It is getting warmer.
It is getting hot!
We are going towards the jungle.
The vegetation is changing.
The rivers and its beautiful bridges!
Lunch that does not look all too healthy go my shamanic 6th sense….
I abstain – and stay healthy! 🙂
We take pictures of butterflies in and among garbage.
Then on and on, narrow winding pothole avenue to Bharatpur.
There it gets reallllly bad! The last 18 km to Chitwan the road is one ripped open crater.
The ever present motor scooters honk and zoom by, we pass rickety cars and other strange vehicles.
There are also lots of people on the road, there are all dressed in their beat outfits – for the festival.
7 ½ hours, after leaving Kathmandu and with the last rays of the sun we arrive and check into Tigerland Safari Resort
We want to use even the last minutes of fading light to maybe see a bird.
We are lucky and meet Krishna, one of the resort’s bird specialists. He sees the Owl pin I am wearing and tells us to follow him: Down a muddy path past some simple dwellings to a field. A large Tree about 10 meters away. “See there, on that branch!
Yes, that dark silhouette!
Yes, it is an Owl! A Jungle Owlet. This is her roost!”
I am squealing for joy and excitement! Through our light sensitive binoculars we can clearly see her!
I am sooooo happy!
My first Chitwan Bird is a little Owl, looking a lot like Lira!