Ten bucks for the tourist bus, luxury non-stop with air con. Or, maybe, no aircon. And maybe just one stop: to kick us off.
The students were pissed. Three months ago the government promised them books, pens, and paper. Three months later, they still had none and it was the week before exams. So they dragged trees and rocks across the road and stopped traffic.
Our bus company simply re-routed their trip, dropped us off on the side of the road, and shrugged as they pulled away. We crawled atop a local bus and endured five more hours of crossing picket lines on foot, in taxis, on buses, each one dead ending and sending us forward to figure out how best to go forward, toward Chitwan National Park.
At one point our cab was waved into the mob by a few authoritative students, but was stopped twenty feet later, by student intervention physically blocking and pounding on the vehicle. Were forced to pay up, get out, and start walking again, concerned for our taxi’s ability to extricate himself from the melee.
Finally, at sunset, we sank into riverside chairs in the national park and drank a well earned beer while a wild male elephant sauntered across the river in what would be a late night attempt to break into the elephant breeding center down the road from our lodging.
He was categorically denied access and the locals said that makes him dangerous.
That makes sense to me.