To zig or not to zig, that is the question
A brisk morning stroll to pick up our canoe, a.k.a. a tree with a shallow hole in it. We then glided down the river on this thing in constant fear of tipping over. It was like walking on a beach ball … on stilts. Please note that there was also the added motivation that we knew that the river was also inhabited by crocodiles.
It was quite relaxing with lovely views of the jungle, but (un)fortunately we didn’t see any crocodiles. We climbed out of the boats and began our trek through the jungle. We had a [rather too brief] explanation of what to do if we met a rhino, tiger, boar or a bear. For rhinos this involved running away and zigzagging and climbing trees. But for tigers you didn’t run and you didn’t climb trees because they can climb them too. And you call bears silly names and poke them in the eyes. Or was it the other way round …. And what do you do for boars again? And what about the snakes? Hang on … we’re going in! Wait for me … wait for me!
As we wandered through the jungle with our guide pointed out some of the local [less threatening’ local fauna and flora. He also told us dramatic stories of how he saved tourists from tiger and rhino attack while occasionally stopping, crouching, climbing trees and listening in a dramatic and “me hunter … grrr!” theatrical kind of way. He’d also been in hospital after encountering a rhino and obviously not zigzagging enough, resulting in him being launched into the air from a rhinos pointy bit.
Sat by the river for lunch gazing at the snow capped Himalayas in the distance as we chewed on our eggs and what appeared to be rubber matting. Further along the river we found some crocodiles lazing away in the sun. We then walked through the very tall grasslands in search of rhinos – couldn’t see a thing. Then there was a huge crashing or grass and branches! The guide without a word was out of there like a hare. The rest of us were in a blind panic, our leader and protector gone. We ran away as quickly as we could zigging and zagging as we’d been told. But how far does one zig, and at what angle should one zag? These were the questions we were asking ourselves as we ran! It was a waste of time anyway because the grass was so tall and thick that we ended up falling over the grass and each other into a heap, particularly those of us who were a bit shorter in the leg … I shall say no more! Needless to say I half expected a piece of rhino to come bursting through my chest.
… and it was a deer!
Not content with our [not really] near miss, we climbed up a tree which overhung the watering hole where the rhinos sometimes come to drink. Later we heard some of them fighting and frankly they sound rather evil and big and I’d rather not see them after all. Finally started to head back to see the sun setting over the jungle with the Annapurna range turning red in the background. Crossed the river by boat and then reclined in a chair with a beer in a apres-ski kind of way. Mountains … beer … comfy seats …. We even smelt like we’d been skiing too