21. Keep calm and go to Bardia. Thakurdwara

We knew someone would stop. For sure. Even though we were in the middle of some village being surrounded by fields, goats and cows and the road practically didn’t exist. Well, never loose hope. After walking few kilometres one jeep stopped. Buddists again, always ready to help. American who was working with them on a farm told us a little about the life there and all the charity projects they run recently. After they dropped us off on the highway we caught a bus going to Kohalpur. Although it was already late when we got there we decided to get to Thakurdwara (Bardia National Park) that day as our host waited for us. Callum’s bad feeling about that bus fulfilled when we stopped in the middle of the jungle hearing one word: “broken”. Ready to spend there a night we were positively surprised by mechanic who fixed the problem within an hour. When we reached Bardia after 5 minutes of waiting we saw 2 motorbikes emerging from the darkness. It was Parvesh and Mohit.

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Every day life of people in Bardia

The next 4 days we spent in our bamboo hut surrounded by pure village life. Parvesh was the owner of a small bar for tourists visiting the Elephant centre just across the road. Do you remember Azad from Hyderabad (Pakistan)? Yes, briefly saying, Parvesh is his younger version. Enthusiastic, overly hospitable, full of energy and new ideas. And talkative. Very talkative. I think we could become really good friends if he allowed people to contribute to the conversation more than he does now. He is really devoted to what he’s doing though (creating a mini-paradise for his tourists) and his charisma is admirable. First day we had a small tour around the village and in the evening we went to Elephant breeding centre to observe how much food these giants can eat. We made a deal with Mohit who is a guide and the best friend of Parvesh that he would show us the wildlife the next morning. So we spent the whole day walking in the jungle looking for tigers, rhinos and other dangerous creatures. In Nepal you don’t have to do jeep or elephant safari to see the jungle so walking by ourselves in the bush was quite exciting. After spending few hours on the tree with one Aussie and one Dutch guy we gave up observing the river as we didn’t see any wild animals. So the tour was quite disappointing but we decided to try our luck in India.

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Local family

The last two days were quite intense as we met few foreigners living or traveling in the village and we were more than happy to listen to their stories. We had a dinner with a nice Dutch lady who married a Nepalese and now they run home stay business together. Another English man decided to move here after long travelling and build a lodge with a restaurant. He seemed pretty happy there and accepted by the environment. We met also a German guy who comes here every year to photograph the wildlife and spends hours in the jungle. He told us about his encounter with a tiger when the animal almost ate his guide jumping on him and missing as the guide managed to squat and run away. There was also an interesting old Dutch lady who traveled around Nepal and India writing her book at the same time. As she couldn’t have children together with her husband they decided to travel and spend most of their life exploring the world. The last night we had a lovely evening with both of them enjoying (finally!) some pork and Dal bhat. Our hosts were waiting for us at home with the campfire and glass of rice beer making our last evening in Nepal even more memorable. It was hard to leave the next day towards India but as our final impression of the country and its people was good there is always something left to explore in the future. See you, beautiful Bardia. See you, Nepal.

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Bardia Elephant Breeding Centre
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