Chitwan. Finally we meet. Not a place for the faint hearted. There is no escaping the 45 degrees afternoons, the guaranteed smell of your own sweat that will drag you into the refreshing river. But be aware of the crocodiles taking a bath of sun rays and the elephants taking a plunge. For Japanese tourists with full batteries in their cameras it's a wet dream coming true. But the biggest smile came from an Australian who realised his life long wish of backflipping from the back of an elephant. All cameras facing him and the swimming animal who had no idea what was happening.
A canoe ride in between a dozen sleepy crocs and dancing birds. The first encounter with a rhino. From a distance we could just see his back sticking out of the water. Suddenly: bubbles. Our first farting rhino! Jungle walking, trying to hide from the burning sun, tiger and bear spotting. Alas, no such creatures to be seen in the high grass. But monkeys, peacocks, buffalos, deer and pigs crossed out path all through the day. And at last, another rhino! An enthusiastic guide! Too enthusiastic! Too close to the animal! And then: the chase! The guide yelling RUUUUUUN!!! Three people running for their lives in three different directions. The stomping of big rhino feet behind us. Two guys pushing me in a tree. And then, silence. My heart pounding and all the tiny hairs in my neck pointing at the sky. Five seconds later, big eyes and smiles of disbelief. We just got chased by a rhino.