Yup, unbelievable that you can need a break after only 2 days and 4 weeks to go (and we work 6 days a week), but Chitwan was a welcomed break. It took us 7 hrs to drive the 147km from Kathmandu to Chitwan. The road is narrow and you often have to stop to let other buses or trucks pass and the quality of the road is poor. But we get there in the end. We stayed at a very nice lodge - it was clean and the wall and the roof actually connected as opposed to my room back in the village! We skipped the village walk in the afternoon - the "see-how-the-locals-live" didn't appeal to us much since we all live in one, but the dance in the evening was impressive. Yes, it was touristy, but there were surprisingly many Nepalese - whether tourists or locals - and the dance was very different from what we have seen so far in Kathmandu valley.
Saturday morning we were on the river in long wooden canoes bird-watching and walked back on the edge of the jungle. After having waited for 15-20 min at a watch tower we decided to leave but saw a big rhino not far away. That was quite impressive - the one-horned rhino right in front of our eyes! By the way, if you are ever attacked by one, do run in zig-zag and climb a tree or something else that will take you up about 5 feet or 1.5 m then you should be relatively safe...They don't see very well, but their sense of smell and sense of hearing are exceptional.
In the afternoon we went on an elephant safari in the jungle and that was a great trip. For 1.5 hrs we were crammed into the little wooden seat/platform and were rocking back and forth with every movement of the elephant. We saw more rhinos, different deer species, two types of monkeys, crocodiles, peacocks and other birds. An amazing safari - quite different from the African savannah ones.
Before leaving Chitwan this morning we visited the elephant breeding center where we saw the elephant twins. This is a very unique thing - only once before has an elephant given birth to twins (in Thailand) and I guess it makes sense since an elephant is pregnant for 22-24 months! It would be hard to nurture 2 of these amazing creatures for that many months...
I think I know what I will do with my flea/bedbug problem: I will remove the mattresses from my bed, boil the sleeping bag (somehow) - take it into town and find somewhere that has a tunble dryer so that it might dry somewhat. I have bought a mat and a yak shawl and intend to sleep in my down jacket, woollen underwear, socks on the mat and use the shawl as a blanket until I get to town on Thursday... I will keep you posted.