Leopards, Tigers, and Monkeys. Oh My!
We woke up early this morning to begin our second day of the safari. Instead of us all riding together in one big safari jeep like we did yesterday, we divided up into three groups to go in smaller jeeps. We found that this enabled us to see animals closer, get to know our tour guides better, and feel the cool safari breeze. One safari guide informed us that there are 200 species of snakes in the forest. After many of us gasped and expressed our concern, he reassured us that the snakes are usually not visible unless it is monsoon season. Thank goodness we are missing monsoon season by a few weeks!
Even though no groups saw tigers this morning, the safari was still exciting. A couple of groups were able to put crackers in their hands and feed beautiful yellow and black birds. Another group was able to taste jungle fruit right off the tree.
After our morning adventure, we drove back to our resort for a break before going back out for the afternoon safari. Some people decided to take advantage of the resort pool, some chose to catch up on their sleep, and others hired a driver to take them into town.
For the people who went into town, they gained an idea of how the locals interact and shop. Stands full of fresh fruits and vegetables, tools, and textiles lined the streets, and the locals were scurrying around trying to find the foods and supplies they needed. The streets were so packed full that only motorcycles could fit through the streets. Many of the locals enjoyed posing for pictures and then seeing their faces on the camera. Their excited expressions made us realize that many of them may have had very few chances of seeing themselves in a photo. A few of us were asked by a man selling spices if we would pose behind his counter holding a bag of his spices. He found joy in sharing his business with us.
The most eventful part of our town visit was our experiences with the bulls. On three different occasions a bull charged at Dr. Dalla and Dr. Bischoff (we are thinking the bull didn’t like Dr. Bischoff’s shirt). The last time that the bull charged at Dr. Dalla, it actually picked her up off the ground. She even has a hole in her shirt from the bull-horn to prove it! Thankfully, she is fine and made the best of the experience.
Two students were reminded while in town how many of the Indians view whites as privileged and financially well-off. While standing on the side of the road, they were approached by a police officer. He fiercely snapped his fingers and pointed at a very nice, white car parked on the street (We rarely see cars this nice in villages in India). He clearly thought that the car was the students’ because he motioned to them that they needed to move the car. The locals started laughing, as they watched the students try to explain to the police officer that it wasn’t our car.
After we had relaxed for a while at the resort or had a very exciting experience in town, we took our last safari trip in the three separate jeeps again. Everyone had a blast! Coming from Nebraska, the safari was such a rush. The safari looked like a combination of Colorado and California with palm trees and mountains surrounding the entire area. One of the groups got the opportunity to see a leopard and snatch some awesome photo’s. Other groups saw beautiful birds, deer, and blue bulls.
One group had an especially thrilling trip that included racing up to the top of the mountain to see a tiger. The group soon realized that the tour guide’s persistence paid off when they sat and watched a tiger 30 yards away from their jeep! Parents, don’t worry the tiger was not threatened. One group member, Eric, even snatched a photo of the tiger yawning. The groups quickly raced back down the mountain because the park closed at sun down, which was quickly approaching.
All the groups sat down for dinner to share their wonderful experiences and reflect back on what a great day it was filled with adventure and laughter with people who have become close friends. We are all anticipating our tiger search again tomorrow.
Bre & Sarah