Are we having fun yet?! I guess we are. On Friday, June 1, we left for the Cicada Resort on the beautiful Kabini River. The Kabini is between two National Parks; Bandipur and Rajiv Gandhi (or Nagarahole). Our neighbor and friend, Prathiba organized the outing. There were 10 in our group, plus a few friends who drove over for a day trip. The parks are 220 km west of Bangalore. We visited Rajiv Gandhi N. P. I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful and exciting it was to be there.
We hired a van and driver to take us; his driving was so aggressive and horrible, I wished we’d taken our own cars. The roads for a good bit of the trip are what Babu calls “humpy-bumpy roads”. We humped and bumped for about 5 hours. Here are a few pictures of things we saw along the way.
This man is driving his bullock cart the wrong way down the freeway. We saw lots of bullock carts. They look so nice and you like them even as you curse them for driving on the wrong side and going soooo slow!
The trucks and trailers in India are almost all brightly painted with pictures of animals, gods, and flowers. This is a good example of how they look. It is hard to get a nice picture of them because they are often very dirty or there are so many other cars and rickshaws around, you can’t get a clear picture.
Another slow-down. A flock of goats. There’s a goatherd in here someplace, you just can’t see him. Lots of the goatherds are little tiny boys of about 7 or tremendously old men of 90 or more.
The women are weeding, I think. Indu, our guide, says they now pray for rain every day. We are just beginning the rainy season, so their prayers should be answered soon.
At long last, we arrived at Cicada. Boy, I was ready for a drink! The first thing they give you at the resort is a cold, fresh coconut with a straw. I don’t really care for the taste, but was happy to try it. I was able to get a cool glass of white wine in the dining hall though, so I was happy. The resort is luxurious, and has a cabin for each family. There’s a lovely pool, bar, dining hall, lodge and a lot of other things. Here are some pictures of the resort.
Isn’t it pretty? These are the guest cabins. They are very nice inside too. Some of them are quite big with room for a large family. They all have a whirlpool tub. Now this is camping!
Here is the view of the river from our cabin. The park has lots of farms nearby. The land closest to the river belongs to everyone. Farmers send their cattle out in the twice a day to drink. At drink time, long lines of cows stroll from the farm to the water. Watching them drink and graze relaxes me. I could do it for hours.
Here’s our guide, Indu. She’s one of Prathibha’s good friends. She didn’t let us be slackers, but organized us to go on a jeep safari right after lunch.
She knows everything about the jungle, animals, and birds. On the safari, we had to be quiet so we could hear animal communications. For example, if a monkey sees a tiger, he gives a particular call that alerts all the other critters and birds that a predator is nearby. We heard the tiger signals, but didn’t see a tiger.
Indu has a lot of really nice stories about the jungle and its inhabitants. She told us how the animals get salt and water, why and where they travel and stay. She would see a tiny little movement in a tree, point out the bird or animal, and tell you how it fit into the great jungle life. I’ve always thought of jungles as being wet, steamy things. This one is more dry; like a woods or forest (but really big, of course.) When I asked about the definition, Indu told me that “jungle” is the Hindi word for “forest”.
The jeep safari started at 4PM on Friday. We saw lots of animals, some of them unusual “lucky finds” to see; but, Tom and I were especially keen to see elephants. I was so worried that I wouldn’t see a single one. I thought they’d be really shy and elusive. Turns out, that they are everywhere. Imagine yourself on a trip to Iowa or Minnesota and worrying that you might not see a COW! We saw armies, bevies, colonies, droves, flocks, flights, gaggles, gangs, harems, herds, passels, pods, rafts, schools, and SWARMS of elephants. You couldn’t miss them.
We saw these chaps the first half hour we were out.
There are three safaris available: afternoon jeep, early morning jeep, and boat. Tom and I went on all three. He loved the morning safari so much, he went twice. The morning safari started at 6:30; in our group, we were the only ones who went. While we were on the boat safari, Tom took these nice photos of elephants bathing. I have, with ELEPHANTINE EFFORT, made a little movie of them. Click on the Elephant video page to see the bath and a bunch more elephants.
We saw so many animals. They were all coming to the river to drink. I could spend my whole week here making little videos and slideshows; I know you can’t take the time to look at everything, and I can’t take the time to show you what I saw. So, enjoy this little bit of India, and come for a visit as soon as you can.
Mona and Tom
Tom took all the photos. He says he just does it for a hobby, I disagree. He does it for love. Everyone asked him how to take as good pix as he does, he says it’s the camera—it isn’t.