Tag Archives: water buffalo

trekking in Nepal : the water buffalo showdown

21 Feb

Well, I can officially scratch “getting charged by a water buffalo” off my list of things to do in this life. It was certainly less fulfilling than one would think. Let me set the scene for you: Shree (our guide), Ann, Brian and I were walking along the winding dirt path. It was another eight-hour trekking day (oy), so we were taking it slow to conserve energy. We followed Shree and his colorful flower walking stick while listening to him sing a song that went something like this…“sometimes trekking, sometimes dating, sometimes a donkey, sometimes a monkey”. I couldn’t really tell you what this meant, so take what you will from it.

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Considering Shree was much more adept at maneuvering the narrow uneven rock strewn paths than the three of us, he quickly picked up speed and his singing began to fade. This was normal though. Everyone walked at their own pace and eventually we all ended up in the same place. We walked along talking about our families and life back in the states. Ann was quickly becoming my favorite.

A few minutes later, we spotted the sweetest looking family of water buffalos walking in a row behind us. At this point into our Nepali adventure, we had seen our fair share of water buffalo. They were a common occurrence on the busy streets of Kathmandu,  mostly they could be found basking in the hot sun on the corners of the streets. But up until this point, I had never seen a whole family of them. How cute! Ever the photographer, Brian had to stop and take photos of them.

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(the above picture was taken by Ann)

We let Ann go ahead of us while Brian snapped away. The water buffalo inched closer and closer and I began to think…well, now what? What the fuck are we supposed to do when they reach us? The path was so narrow and they were so big. I didn’t like the equation one bit.

So, I asked Brian, “well, now what?”

Brian calmly said, “honey, go ahead to the opening on the path and pull off to the side”

For some reason I heard, “Run as fast as you can to an opening and hide.”

So that’s exactly what I did. I was almost laughing as I took off down the path. I mean I wasn’t really that scared of them. In all my other encounters with them they seemed so docile.

There I was running away from a family of water buffalo in the mountains of Nepal! Was this real life?! Such an adventure!

I turned around to share my laughter with Brian but quickly stopped when I saw the head water buffalo, who also happened to be the largest, running, or rather, charging down the narrow path towards us. Poor Bri guy didn’t know what was coming either, as he slowly packed up his camera bag.

So I screamed, “Brian, RUN!!!”

Brian turned around, quickly took the scene in and began running too. Now we were both running from the huge water buffalo and I thought…now what?

So, I screamed, “Now WHAT?!!?”

Brian screamed, “Jump in the bushes!!!”

So that’s just what I did. I jumped my ass into the prickly bushes and crouched down. Brian jumped in shortly after me, hitting me in the head with his massive metal tripod in the process, accidentally, of course. But man, did it only make matters worse. Not only was I terrified but I was also seeing spots.

The water Buffalo approached, locking eyes with Brian and me and I whispered, “I’m scared” and Brian whispered in my ear, “Shhh, act small.” So we both crouched down even smaller and turned our heads away from him.

“I mean you no harm buffalo. I mean you no harm buffalo. I mean you no harm buffalo”, I whispered to myself.

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The buffalo walked past us slowly, turning his head every few seconds to make sure we hadn’t moved. He had put us in check. We didn’t move an inch until the whole family safely passed and then we let out a huge sigh of relief.

Brian’s first words were, “Why the hell would you run from them?!?!? Don’t you know that that makes them think you’re being aggresive??!!”

I don’t know, Brian. It just seemed like the best idea at the time”, I said softly

And then we both burst out laughing. We laughed so hard we began to cry.

Only in Nepal.

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