Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Arrival in India - Bangalore - Saturday 11th Feb
The flight to Bangalore was good, it was 4 hours, but after the 12 hour flight to Singapore it was nothing! Gav and his driver, Kumar, picked me up from the airport so as it was late I didn't get a chance to see much of the city. I must admit it was nice to see a friendly familiar face! Gav's appartment is really cool, was much bigger than I expected.
The next day we had to be up at 5.30am for our safari trip. I was really happy that we could do the 6 hour drive there in a nice air conditioned car! It was a great experience as I got to see India from the road, firstly I have to say the driving is absolutely mad, I've never seen anything like it and I'm sure I never will again! There are no rules, they just overtake whenever they feel like it and it's not a quiet journey as they are forever beeping their horns. Normally I'm quite a scared passenger, but I was suprisingly calm about it all, I felt quite safe with Kumars driving. I have to say I'm not suprised Gavin doesn't want to drive there!
I was absolutely amazed on the drive there, there is so much poverty, I found it very hard hitting. There are so many people working really hard on the roadsides and in the fields and driving along the roads with their old cows dragging their trailers. We drove past lots of villages on the way and they are all really busy, the people are so colourful too it was great to see the women in their saris, they looked really beautiful. I'm in a bit of a hurry, so I can't go into too many details otherwise I'd be here all day! We arrived at the safari resort Casa Deep Woods in the Masinagudi jungle in Tamil Nadu, at 12ish, where we had some lunch, a lovely selection of curry, my first authentic Indian curry! The safari was at 17.30, it was a 2 hour ride in an open top jeep, I was bit sceptical at first because there were no cages on the jeep so anything could have got in and attacked us, but I soon forgot about it. We were really lucky, we saw 13 elephants in total, 10 of them were all together and were crossing the road behind us while we watched, I'd never been so close to a wild elephant, we were all really elated with that experience. Unfortunately we didn't see any tigers (actually I was secretly relieved we didn't!) we saw lots of deer and a few wild pigs, but it got dark quite quickly so we couldn't see much after that.
When we got back we had some appetisers by the bonfire and then our dinner, which you guessed it consisted of curry! As I'm not a big curry eater, I couldn't really eat too much, I'm just not used to it, so I gave up after a while. Had another early night where I was lying in the bungalow listening to all the animals outside and was certain that I'd wake up with a snake in the room with me, so I didn't sleep too well...We heard that the night before some elephants broke into the resort, so that didn't help! The bungalow was really nice though, only trouble was the toilet and bathroom were outside, which I didn't fancy at night at all, so I snuck in the drivers bathroom!
Next morning it was up again at 6.00 for our trek in the jungle...again I was pretty scared about coming face to face with a tiger or elephant. It was quite a hard walk actually, we went up into the hills, and as I'm a bit unfit at the moment, it took a lot out of me, but I managed to keep up with the guide. When we were at our highest point, we stopped and saw some bison through the binoculars, we also saw some elephants again, but we were really far away from them. I was quite relieved when we got back to the bungalow safe and sound for breakfast!
We started the journey back at 10.30 where we drove back through the Bandipur National Park. We saw so many animals on the way back, I spotted an elephant drinking some water so we stopped and took some photos. We saw lots of monkeys, they were really cute, some of them even try and get in the car, we saw deer too, hopefully my photos will come out ok, I can't wait to see them on the big screen. Again we drove through lots of villages, it's so interesting to see how Indians live, I couldn't stop watching everything going on around me. In one of the villages we had school kids banging on the car window saying hi hi hi, and running after the car, it was really funny, they were so cute, one of them actually kept up with the car for ages! We also stopped off for coconut milk on the roadside, which was good photo opportunity! On the way back we stopped at the Maharaja's Palace in Mysore. We had a tour from one of the guides, it was very spectacular inside, again I would go into more details, but I have no time :-( Gav and I went on an elephant ride too...that was so cool. Her name was Ruby and she was 65 years old, was a bit of a bumpy ride, but a great experience!
We arrived back in Bangalore in the rush hour, the traffic is indescribable, it's each to their own out here, I'm going to have to get some photos of it. Last night we just had a takeaway and watched a film.
I'm really lucky this week, Gav has loaned me his driver so I'm travelling around in luxury! Kumar is going to take me to all the attractions which I'm really pleased about...today it's the internet cafe, a bit of food shopping and maybe a temple, well I want to take it easy! then we'll go and pick Gavin up from work. Talking of Kumar, I'd better get a move on as he's waiting outside for me!!


Planty said...

That sounds so great... you are having a ball! Sounds like a brilliant adventure... well done.

Great the gav is taking care of you and having your own driver.. super!

You said you had no one to share your experiences there with you... but you do because we are all reading your reports and feel like we are living it with you...

Take it easy, and am looking forward to the next report. xxx

Rachel said...

I know what you mean about the driving conditions.......it really is so mad!!!!..lol...xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Vikki,

Steve Here (Work with Mum). When you go back to Singapore, the cable car is worth a trip and Sentosa Island is also interesting, I think that's where the WWII museum is.

Enjoy your trip!