Sunday, May 9, 2010
Here Kitty, Kitty.............our Jeep Safari - Corbett National Park
When we checked in at the hotel we were staying at.......we were assigned a "naturalist" to assist us with planning our nature based activities......fishing, fishing........more fishing......oh....and our second attempt to view an elusive Bengal Tiger in the sanctuary known as Corbett National Park. Preston and I decided to fish Friday afternoon just behind the hotel, which overlooks the Kosi River.....which was arranged by our "naturalist"....for a fee of course. More on that story later.....at dinner that evening, he came to our table and stated that the "permits have been arranged, but could we meet at 6:00am at the Main Building and use your car to go to the permit station?" Sure thing......I replied while thinking......."you are cutting into my time on the river fishing.....buddy"!
Obtaining permits is not an easy thing......trying to see a tiger is almost as bad as trying to obtain a one year Visa to live and work in India. If you are a "foreigner" you are required to bring your passports, fill out two forms in triplicate.......pay your money and hope that your "connection" gets your permits to enter the park. PASSPORTS....to enter a Park????? Now the fun begins!
At 5:30am I am typically bright eyed and bushy tailed......but not this morning.....the cold refreshing beer we had on the deck overlooking the Kosi after fishing all afternoon hit the spot....I lost count (it was happy hour).......and the ones at dinner, they were good too!....I was thirsty.......I wasn't hung over......just not as "quick and sharp" as usual.
Here is a condensed version of the conversation that Linda and I had.
Me: "Where are the Passports and money"
Linda: "In the safe.....the code is _ _ _ _"
Me:"OK"....beep, beep, beep, beep (pressing the buttons)
Me: "S_ _T! Mother of God" "Son of a Biscuit Eater" (you get the idea)
Linda: "What happened?"
Me: "Nothing"...."S_ _T!" "Stupid S__T"
Linda: Now Up out of bed....."What?"
Me: "My finger hit the wrong button and I hit the # button and reset the damn combination on the safe and their is still things inside"
I wasn't worried about getting everything out......being in the business I know that these electronic safes have a backup plan for STUPID GUESTS LIKE ME!....I was just thinking about my fishing and my pending appointment to obtain these BUREAUCRATIC PERMITS to enter the park......which I was now running late for.
I met "Dev", our naturalist....not at 6:00am as he asked, but at 6:15...and off to the Permit Office we went.....me driving! The Permit Office is in a typical Indian Governmental building (old and in need of maintenance, cleaning and repairs)inside it was the India version of stock trading on the floor of Wall Street. Men were in the middle of the room trying to get the attention of the one man in charge of issuing the limited number of permits available each day......they are holding up sheets of paper......yelling out in Hindi......"Panch" "Char" "Do" (4, 5 and 2) in Hindi.....Luckily for us, we stayed at a hotel that has "connections".
Not what I needed at 6:30am........but I endured.
We were scheduled for a 3:00pm Jeep Safari....
Even though the beautiful Bengal Tigers eluded us again........we saw some very neat things.
The park is also home to many wonderful species of deer......
We spent a great deal of time watching one of the wild Asian Elephants graze.....and we were quite close to that action.
And not to be disappointed, on the way out of the park and at the tail end of our journey, we were able to spot a Peacock.......who fanned out his feathers for us......it was the first time, outside of witnessing it at a zoo that we witnessed such a thing........very cool.
Enjoy the pictures!