I found random interent at the train station! We have 15 minutes so no pictures but I will try to type as much as possible. I have kept up with my paper journal but not my internet one so this is a short short version after saturday's entry.
Saturday, March 19, 2011 – Transporting & Arrival to Bandhavgarh
Today started out with a 3:30am wake up call and a new roomie, Carmony. We got along pretty well for the five hours we were together but she has turned out today to surprise me and be a really awesome friend/person. The flight to Jabapur was very smooth and sleepy for me, considering Carmony and I were running on two hours of sleep. After we arrived, we got in SUV’s to start a four hour drive to the National Park of Bandhavgarh. In my car was my Indian driver, Sean, and Georgia. We actually had a really great time and it was beautiful scenery of the desert. Three hours into the trip we got stopped by a band of drunk men. We were the first car in the line of SUV’s that our group of now twenty had taken and we were cruising windows down and arms out… bad idea. They jumped up on our car, very wasted and some even bleeding. They demanded money and were reaching in to grab us. Luckily Sean and and the driver were together in the front seat and fought them off while we locked the doors and put the windows up. Our car got away free but the ones behind us didn’t get so lucky and had to bribe with money. But, after that it was smooth sailing!
Once we got to the park we got our new room assignments and Jennifer (the grad student) joined Carmony and I. This entire park is a huge five star resort. It is so beautiful, a mix of the Sanibel houses and the Tuscan country sides of Italy with a splash of jungle flora. That’s the best way to describe it. Holi Festival is tomorrow too, so everything is ten times more colorful. It is so nice to have a room and bathroom big enough to prance around in after we come back from jungle safaris, even if there is no air conditioning. That’s another thing, it is so much hotter here than in Nepal. It is 90ish degrees and so dry, my backside is constantly sweating (lovely right?) and I am not the only one! Everyone is always sweaty and hot, but it doesn’t even bother us because we are so excited to be here it doesn’t even matter.
Anyways, we went on a four hour jeep safari and it was really nice and full of wildlife. We saw a tiger from VERY far away but it is much more touristy here so there 50 jeeps crowding it and I think it was scared. So, no good looks. Hopefully tomorrow! The jeeps here are much more uncomfortable but I still managed to fall asleep in them and so did about five others. I know I should be way too excited to sleep but I could barely function. It was kind of funny. One of the girls was just holding on to me cause apparently I kept falling out and so did the other girl on the other side. Woops! After our ride we had dinner and now we are going to bed.
Tomorrow is holi fesival so a bunch of us are getting up to run the hiking trails before it starts and then it is color time! The parks and all businesses are closed to honor the festival so it’s a relaxing day for us… which is great because after the festival and lunch I am hitting the hammocks and all the terrace swings that overlook the desert/jungle and getting some journaling done!
Sunday, March 20, 2011 – Holi Festival in Bandhavgarh
SO FREAKING AWESOME! My pictures are so amazing (mom, i put a plastic baggy over my precious camera/life savings. I couldn't miss this pic op). We got up and did some yoga in the garden and then got dressed in all white and had all kinds of fun. The natives really got into it and we have a really great video of them teaching me how to dance! So much fun. They showed us all their fun rituals and we looked like crazy monsters by the end. Later that night we had tribal dances and a "barbeque" jungle style. It was really a cool experience to see the culture and bond with the natives over some brews.
Monday, March 21, 2011 – Bandhavgarh
Full day of game drives per jeep.. great pics. I got super sick in the afternoon and remained sick for about 36 hours. It was super scary but one of the adults that joined the indian portion is a nurse and he cared for me. I was in bed all afternoon and night and through the next morning until Kahna. I was the first one sick and I only missed one game drive (where they saw no new wildlife :)) so i was lucky. Six people have gotten the virus since I had it and missed out on the tigers :(. Don't worry dad, Simon the nurse got me on my antibiotics and some other stuff he brought. I feel 100% now.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011 – Bandhavgarh Morning/Transport & Arrival to Kanha
rough drive.. seven hours or being sick in a hot 95 degree car
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 – Kanha Jungle Lodge
Kahna jungle is amazing. It is so beautiful, a mix between Chitwan and Bandhavgarh. I SAW MY FIRST TIGER. She was so beautiful and majestic. She just made a kill so we watched her bathe herself and drink and tear off some meet from the Samba Deer. It's the only tiger I saw all trip but man she was amazing.
Thursday, March 24, 2011 – Kanha Jungle Lodge
More game drives and the lodge's wife took us sari shopping:)
Friday, March 25, 2011 – Kanha Morning/Transport to Jabapur/Overnight Train to Varanassi
Travel day (today) and overnight train which I am about to board. I will post this and then try to do pics with what time I have left.
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