The Tiger Who Gave Tea a Miss

My most recent bouquet of photos can be viewed here. If you have any trouble, then try again while logged out of Facebook. In my last post, the link to the previous collection of pictures was wrong, and has now been corrected. Sorry!

There’s a first time for everything, and in particular, a first time for signing a form stipulating that “I understand the dangers of entering a tiger reserve.” Fortunately (or unfortunately…) we didn’t come across any tigers, but it was nevertheless quite an entertaining weekend in Thekkady!

A hard tusk but someone’s got to do it

An elephant ride costs less than most London Underground tickets. And there’s less waiting around. And it’s less bumpy. And it’s quieter. And it’s not as crowded. And it’s hugely entertaining.

In fact, aside from the similarity that there was a wooden platform from which we boarded the animals, very much like getting onto a train, the experience was about as far removed from the Bakerloo line as can be conceived. The keepers spoke to their charges in Tamil, and they all obeyed instantly. Our elephant proudly held a bamboo-cane aloft in its trunk while posing absolutely still for a photo. Yep, I think I’m about ready to buy an elephant, which is apparently what some of the locals do as a status-symbol, it being equivalent to owning a sports car in England!

Monkey-business and other baboonery

After we trunked off from the ‘elephant camp’, we headed into the Periyar Tiger Reserve for a hike. First, however, the rangers insisted that we all personally write our name and full home address on a form stating that we understood the dangers of entering the area, and agreeing not to seek compensation in the event that we were eaten.

We had been told that we’d be issued with special leech-proof socks to avoid the parasites, but were then informed that we wouldn’t, because “there are no leeches.” As it turned out, there were a few, and when one person ended up performing an involuntary blood-donation, the guide with us offered up what must be the ultimate platitude: “Oh, well, it will probably do you good.”

On the way out of the reserve, we came across a huge collection of monkeys, merrily playing about, one eating from a box of Tic-Tac mints! There was also an extremely cute baby chimp being breast-fed by its mum, and several of the other adults were very obviously pregnant. And the locals hate them because they steal things…

Lunch and liquor

At lunchtime, a group of us went to an “Indian and Condinental Amily Restaurant” (no mum, that’s not a collection of accidental spelling-errors) to get a meal. There were prominent signs all over the place stating, “Liquor strictly prohibited,” so it was quite a surprise when the young waiter came over and surreptitiously hissed, “You want beer?”

When he was asked about the establishment’s signage, the reply came, “Oh, that is not for you.” A couple of people in our group duly requested beer, and the waiter left the building, returning after about ten minutes with three bottles wrapped in newspaper. Asked about this interesting development, he pointed at the restaurant’s other patrons and explained, “They may misunderstand.” Admittedly drinking from a bottle shrouded in newspaper would definitely prevent misunderstandings, so I completely take his point.

That evening, we went out for a stroll. One person confidently strode through a door which appeared to have a neon ‘BAR’ sign above it, and they were much surprised to find themselves in the Sales Tax Checkpost on the state-border (the town lies on the dividing line between the states of Tamilnadu and Kerala, and the place is very much like an international border, with both police forces having huts, and excise inspections, and barriers, and barbed wire and everything!) We eventually found the correct place next door…

‘Next time on the blog’ teaser-trailer…

Children, lice, lice, lice, lice, lice, lice, eating with the Indian middle-classes at Domino’s Pizza, swimming with the international set at the Taj Gateway Hotel, lice, lice, lice. Tune in next time for all that! (May contain some scenes disturbing to insects.)

Time for a competition

This week’s challenge is to comment with suggestions of potential mottos and mission-statements for a tiger reserve. For instance:

  • Raw talent; roar enthusiasm.
  • Paws for thought.
  • We don’t take our jobs lion down.

2 Responses to The Tiger Who Gave Tea a Miss

  1. Isaac says:

    You seem to be having an awesome time! I loved the story about the beer and the baby monkey pictures. I’m really jealous! !

  2. Sandra Webber says:

    My entry forr this weeks’ competition:- “One Stripe And You’re Out”

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