Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fresh air, silent nghts and antelopes.

We're in Bharatpur, not far from Agra.

It took a while to get here from Jaipur. The news-making rains that have flooded Bihar have sprinkl;ed a fair bit fo water around here too, indicated by the need for ouyr bus to drive through stretches of unsealed road with the axles submerged. (Have I mentioned axles a lot in the last few posts? What is it with axles?)
Anyways, somewhere along the way we also scored ourselves a flat tyre. So we had to pull into some little village to get that changed, using rudimentary apparatus and methods. So it was a little longer than scheduled but we got to Bharatpur in the end.
And then the driver realised he'd lost the key to the padlock which was locking our backpacks in the storage compatment of the bus.
Again with the rudimentary apparatus. (ie. A crowbar)
Then we were asked to pay for the lock.
No sir, I shall not pay for your stupidity.

It's quiet town, this Bharatpur. Which is a nice break from the cities we've been in. There's not much going on here except for the Keoladeo National Park. It's a big wetland area filled with shitloads of birds and various other animals.
Our guesthouse owner/nature-guide-ornithologist-man told us there's 8 metre pythons in there, except they're hibernating at the moment.
What a disappointment. I really fancied me some death by constriction/asphyxiation. Maybe next time.
So no, we didn't catch a glimpse of any ginormous snakes. We did see some birds though. Buckets of them. Figuratively.
Cranes, eagles, owls, ibis (ibii??), ducks, partridge, kingfisher and some weird ones I hadn't heard of before. Like Babblers. And a bunch that leave themselves wide open for all sorts of immature double entrendres. Which I demonstrated, much to Charlotte's diusmay.
We also saw a few antelope, a turtle, squirrels, insects and as per usual, a few monkeys.

Our guesthouse owner/nature-guide-ornithologist-man took us around for three hours, then we pedalled off on our own for a bit longer. Stopping to snack on the packed lunch the guesthouse had made for us.
(An aside: 'Vegetable Sandwich'in India, means 'wet bread with cabbage, tomato and onion' I wouldn't recommend it.)

Tonight, we're off to get some more tasty Indian food. Surprise! Then tomorrow we have an early start to try and get to the Taj Mahal for sunrise. Failing that, we'll go to Fatehpur Sikri to check out the ruins there.

Oh, and we didn't end up going to the 'European Party' in Jaipur. It sounded a bit dodgy and was more than likely going to be a commission scam, where we'd get taken to a textiles factory on the edge of town, plied with chai and then made to buy a nasty rug.

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