Thekkady and the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Nov 22, 2006
|We (actually just me, Tyler) thought it would be a good idea to visit a wildlife sanctuary in India since we had such a great time at the one in Borneo.
Thekkady is located in the mountains along the western side of the state of Kerala. We began the day with a fascinating tour of a spice garden where we saw coffee, pepper, cardaman, ginger, cinnamon, tumeric, cocoa, and many other spices we can't remember. It was interesting and a little embarassing to realize that we had no idea how most of the spices we use on a regular basis are grown, harvested, or prepared.
Then on to the wildlife sanctuary...
It was raining and damp when we arrived at our government run hotel (keep in mind that Kerala is a communist state) around 5pm. The big sign next to the check-in counter informed us that we were not allowed off the premises after 6pm. I asked the tall, lanky man behind the counter why that was and he simply replied, "The tigers."
Despite the rain we decided to do a one hour trek through the jungle with a guide from the hotel. But before we could set out we had to tie plastic bags around our legs and cover our feet with salt to ward off , "The leeches."
One soggy hour later we had seen where the elephants were earlier that day, a deer, five wild chickens, and more mud than we'd care to remember. The real adventure began when we returned to our cement room to discover we were covered in leeches. Emma had two sucking on her ankle and one on her stomach, and I had one feasting on my stomach and three on the back of my neck.
An hour later the bleeding stopped after one of the hotel employees poured hot water on our wounds and then rubbed them with tumeric. Did you know tumeric is a natural coagulant and antiseptic? Neither did we.
The next morning we took a boat tour, along with five hundred other people, on the lake at the center of the sanctuary. The highlight of this trip was the girl we sat next to, Rina - a Brit and fellow traveler who had been to many of the places we were going to. It was not surprising to us that all we saw from the boat were lazy cormorants and the odd monkey, as any animal would have heard the flotila of boats coming from a mile away.
The only excitement for the rest of the day came when we went to lunch. In the middle of our butter chicken the same tall, lanky man from behind the desk approached our table and uttered, "Sir, window of room open... monkey destroy."
Is that a 'warning' or an 'I regret to inform you but...?'
We rushed back to our room to find it empty (thankfully). However, we soon discovered that the Dairymilk that was on the bedside table was now gone, and in its place was a rather large piece of ... I believe the kosher term is 'scat'. Not a very fair trade I'd say.