Tiger shoot and a crap day

Trip Start Nov 14, 2008
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Trip End Jan 14, 2009


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Where I stayed
Maharaja's Royal Retreat

Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Sunday, November 30, 2008

The drive to Bandhavgarh National Park was a cheek numbing affair with another pre-dawn departure and a late evening arrival. We encountered our first dual carriage way which was great, but would have been better if the locals did not treat the dual carriage way as 2 bi-directional roads. It was hard to pick up speed with vehicles coming at you.
 
I made friends at a toilet stop when I carried a bag of grain over to a tractor which had not realised it fell off, then later push started a Tut-Tut. Next to the fuel station was a school with all the boys scrabbling to get their photo taken and see themselves on the camera. They were so excited they got the head-master out to meet us. All the girls were giggling from a classroom. A fellow traveller looked to take a photo of the girls, I warned him to ask first as we had teachers checking our every move.
 
The driver choose a small one samosa vendor town for our lunch stop. I walked the breadth of the town in a few minutes. My fellow hungry travellers had headed straight for the sole somosa vendor who could not believe his luck. The somosas were cold and not very nice and something I would likely pay the price for.
 
As it got cooler we raised the trucks windows to reveal an odour that one only expects in sewers, not knowing the source we had to drive with windows at half mast. Later we found that many of us had walked in human waste. It was time to clean the boots.
 
In Bandhavgarh we camped within the luxurious grounds of the Maharaja Resort. The Maharaja was like the king of the region and this was like is retreat to hunt tigers. The current Maharaja is no longer a royal, but seems to still have a large presence. The main hall has stuffed tigers and mounted deer heads from a time when killing animals was honourable.
 
It was here that I found out many of my fellow experienced travellers were wimps. When offered an upgrade to a room, only 4 of 25 ended up in tents. I love sleeping alone in a tent on a cool night, I had the best night sleep.
 
I was on breakfast duty and I could hardly stand, had no energy to do anything, had a circus in my stomach and had to keep a mental note as the shortest route to the toilet at any point. After barely pulling my weight with breakfast duties I bailed out to crash in a share room provided for use of its bathroom. Having met the prerequisites, I started a course of anti-biotics which seemed to help but I had unexplained spots of forehead. I had not heard of food poisoning causing spotted foreheads, so hearing a doctor was available, one was arranged after a jeep ride to shoot (by camera) tigers.
 
I was fortunate to be in a set of jeeps that encountered a tiger, it was maybe 30m off the road and quite large, not the typically pussycat. It's great to see in their environment.
 
The doctor through interpreter thought the spotted forehead was due to some allergy, he disappeared for 10 minutes and came back with 4 sets of medicines on top of the anti-biotics I self prescribed. His after hour onsite consult and medicines costed 200 rupees. ($7). It is still a mistery as to what caused the spots, I am putting it down to me being allergic to crap.
 
The Maharaja had a talk on the property, park, tigers etc. which I unfortunately missed most of. I heard from a friend that the Maharaja was/is a MP on the Indian government which is something I would believe.
 
I also get great amusement from fellow travellers. On our trip here were saw countless people bathing at the water pump in the open at the front of their more rural properties and the remainder likely have no showers and here we stay at the best resort in the area and then for someone to bitterly complain that that the shower is cold. I have taken to shower when it is warmer, imagine warm water and wash quick.
 
After meds and a good night sleep, I`m back up and running, well maybe walking, I have a reduced appetite and have to lay of the spices which in India is not easy. I can see how people say they lost weight in India.
 
Tomorrow, we get to packup the tents in the dark, wake up the roosters and move on to our next adventure.
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