The Eye of the Tiger
Sawai Madhopur Travel Blog› entry 25 of 36 › view all entries
After another pretty horrendous coach journey to Kota, followed by a short jump by train, we arrived in Sawai Madhopur, a real sh!thole of a town (pardon my French), its only redeeming feature being its proximity to Ranthambore National Park. Despite the grottyness of the place, we found some really good digs, decent clean rooms and a lawn to laze on, the only problem being the overly-keen staff who would constantly be asking whether we had laundry, needed to eat, etc. They just wouldn't take no for an answer.
Anyway, straight down to business and we headed to the park in time for the evening safari by canter, a kind of open-top truck that didn't look promising. The park is a beautiful area, covering some 1,300 square km, but we did not see any tigers on our first excusion, but plenty of deer, a few crocs, boar, antelope and a monitor lizard, along with some stunning birdlife (including 100's of peafowl).
The following morning the boys woke early and left the 2 Mariekes behind to do the dawn safari by jeep, a much more attractive proposition, but no more successful on the tiger front, we did add a mongoose to the seen list. That afternoon we decided that one more trip would do us as it was a serious drain on the finances and there was bugger all to do except look in vain for tigers. We therefore headed into town and booked our tickets for the following afternoon's train to Ajmer, close to the religous town of Pushkar. Whilst waiting at the station we suddenly realised that we were surrounded by locals staring intently at us, 27 in all.
Again on Thursday morning we did the dawn raid, this time joined by M&M, but with no tiger joy. We did however see a kind of small Indian lynx - ironically probably more difficult to spot than a tiger! The guides also tried to convince us that a dead crocodile had been half eaten by a tiger (it clearly hadn't) and that an one-horned antelope was the result of a tiger attack, although it had no other discernable scars - clutching at straws is the phrase I think!
We shifted back to the hotel, packed and headed to the train station. The train was delayed by just the 4 hrs or so, during which we sat around reading our books. On this occaision 44 locals turned up to watch us read! We caught the train to Ajmer, arriving with 1 hr to go until the Trinidad & Tobago game kicked off. With due haste we sped the 12 km to Pushkar, found digs and settled in front of the TV with seconds to spare - phew!
Brief Book Review - Stella Rimington: Open Secret
This is the autobiography of the former Director-General of MI5. I'll leave Bernard Ingham to review this book, as follows - "The most effective Secret Service is the one which is secret. She should shut up." Not only is he correct from an operational perspective, but the book is pretty dull as she winges her way through her life story - don't bother!