13 November 2009

Cyclones and Tigers

Since Paul and Sarah arrived in India the weather has been slowly deteriorating, getting cloudier, grayer, colder and on Thursday, very wet. We originally thought that they had brought the bad weather with them from England. However; yesterday we discovered from the front page of a local newspaper that we were in fact feeling the effects from cyclone Phyan which was causing chaos out in the Arabian Sea.

We'd come to Ranthambore to visit the national park in order to try and spot some tigers in the wild. Up until the 1970's the park was the Maharajas' hunting ground but now serves as a wildlife reserve for the last few remaining tigers in Rajasthan (41 at the time of our visit).

Safaris into the park are conducted in what the locals call a "canter". This turned out to be an open sided 20 seat van with a sheet metal roof. We discovered quite early on that this probably isn't the best sort of vehicle to go out in a cyclone in. To say we got a bit cold and wet would be something of an understatement.

It was all worth while in the end though when we managed to see some wild tigers, one of which at fairly close quarters. However; the cyclone conditions with black skys and driving rain made getting any decent pictures somewhat challenging!

The park also contains lots of other animals including leopards, sloth bears, monkeys, antelope and dear too.

Although the bad weather was a little annoying it was nowhere near as annoying as the staff at Hotel Anurag Resort where we stayed. Apart from the appaling service they were possibly the most incompetent staff we've encountered since the lovely folks at Sepilok Jungle Resort. They tried to overcharge our hotel bill by over 50% for food that we didn't have and they overcharged Paul and Sarah by 25% for a superior room when they put them in a standard one.

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