India 2014

Talking Animal

31st January, 2014. Jumped on a plane at Heathrow. Jumped off again in Sri Lanka. Very little planned. This was the adventurous part.

Great Western
Train through the Sri Lanka mountains, between Kandy and Ella.

Train from Colombo to Kandy. Then to Ella. From Ella to Tissamaharamamamama. Yala National Park. Absurdly good luck with leopards. From Yala to Udawalawe. Camp. Elephants. From there to the coast. More trains. Hikkaduwa. Turtles. And Hikkaduwa back to Colombo. Jumped on a plane.

Leopards
Leopards, at Yala.

This was Sri Lanka:

Pickpockets, elephants, trains, tea plantations, Tripadvisor, sugar cane, tuk tuks, bats, fish, hoppers, turtles, Super Stick Man Golf 2, Lion, peacocks, tents. Leopards!

Elephant
A close encounter.

11th February, 2014. Arrived in Delhi. Central India. Safari style. All planned. This was the relaxing part.

Golden jackal
Golden jackal, Bharatpur.

From Delhi to Bharatpur. Walking. Burds and such. Then Chambal. Mist. Gharials. Chambal to Agra. Taj Mahal. Overnight train to Katni. And Bandhavgarh. Several days. Tiger. Special moment. Long drive. Quick stop in Kanha. Long drive. Tadoba. Several days. Long drive. Nagra. And away.

Camel crossing
Crossing the Chambal River.

This was central India:

Paneer, people, people, people, tobacco, spitting, tipping, “blow horn”, Kingfisher, Tata, Gypsy, birders, litter, dogs, dead dogs, dogs eating dead dogs, hobbling dogs, more dogs, more dead dogs, cardamom, mist, scowls, Taj Mahal, feet, cement, bricks, cows, gharials, Dawlish, langurs, deer, padlocks, cricket, rubble. Tigers!

Tiger
A moving experience.

1st March, 2014. Back in Delhi. Prepare for Ladakh. Trekking. The mountains. This was the exhausting part.

Guide, spotter
Guide and spotter Gurmet Tsering.

Flight over the Himalayas. Leh. Adjust to altitude. To Hemis. And camp. Walking. Lots of walking. Spotting. Lots of spotting. Snow leopards. A triumph. Home stay. Change of camp. 4,500 metres. Back to Leh. And back to Delhi.

Skull, valley
Ladakh mountain valley.

This was Ladakh:

Happy (like a room without a roof), black shampoo, Zoom Zatka, Airtel, infinite knot, frozen rivers, frozen drinking water, frozen sleeping bags, pikas, gradients, wind, altitude, mountains, scree, carbs, qawah, soup, trekking, spotting, layers, donkeys, hand wash, thermals, rum, “Don’t gossip; let him drive”, snow, snow cocks. Snow leopards!

Elephant
That. There. Is a snow leopard. A distant snow leopard. Far, far, far away.

15th March, 2014. UK.

Oh my. Best trip. Ever.

Written by Patrick Griffiths on .

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