We had decided to make a little pitstop at a "resort" in the Bardia national park, about 2 1/2 hours from Dhangadi. We wanted to see a tiger(!) and Bardia is a great place to do that. Well, it started out well. Our hotel/resort was nice enough and we enjoyed our tour of the local villages and their elephant breeding/rescue place where we got some great pictures and experiences. The kids especially enjoyed petting the baby elephant there.
The next day was the tiger safari day...except that some moron in the kitchen had served Laurie tap water the day before. Two large glasses of tap water made her night a complete disaster...but through sheer will and God's grace she managed to pull off a half-day excursion into the jungle. By Jeep. On a bumpy path. In the bitter cold (it was like 4 degrees in the morning). She was amazing. Unfortunately we never saw a tiger (although we saw many other animals). The jungle was cool and the safari was really nice...except for Laurie, of course. We cut the safari short and the rest of the day, and night, was spent taking care of her. It was a terrible experience for her.
Fortunately, she was well enough the next day to travel to Butwal and then back to Pokhara the following day. Those days went well, especially since the Jeep didn't break and the driving was shorter. Even the mountain drive felt shorter, which was nice.
The flatlands of Nepal are both interesting and boring. There isn't much to see. Small villages with the same smattering of hole-in-the-wall shops selling chips and water and toilet paper. Small homes of varioius shapes and in varying condition. People sitting around (a lot of that). Cows. Small subsistence farming. It isn't something that you remember for a long time but it somehow leaves a memory in you anyway, perhaps by its monotony or perhaps because it is so different from driving 7 hours in, say, Sweden. The protest march against cow killing was a sight among many that sort of got stuck in our minds...and I am sure there are many more that will come as we look at pictures and stuff.
So, in the end we made it back to Pokhara. It took about a week for everybody's stomach to be back to normal but it didn't take long to feel good about being back "home".