Monday, October 31, 2011

Arrival in India...

Arrival in Delhi

Well all the flights went perfectly. I didn’t even have so much as a layover where I had to sit down to wait. On paper it looked like the flights were spaced out well, but when you factor in the time that it takes to get through security and time changes, there was just enough time to get from one flight to the next. This flight plan could have been a disaster if any of my flights were delayed, but thankfully they weren’t.

The Turkish airlines that go over seas are still my favourite carriers. Their planes are awesome.

On my flight from Istanbul to Delhi we were about 30 minutes outside Delhi so I decided to use the bathroom one last time. I hope this isn’t an omen for things to come, but an Indian woman in her 50’s was coming out of the bathroom before I went in. There was urine all over the seat, she didn’t flush and there was water every where and the sink was plugged. ! I couldn’t believe someone of that age would behave like a pre-teenager. Actually that's not fair. Most children aren't nearly that inconsiderate or disgusting! Oh I hope she is the exception. I don’t know that I would want to deal with that kind of behaviour on a daily basis!

Arrival in Delhi- The first thing I noticed in Delhi is the smog. We got in at 4a.m. and the smog is just brutal. It is even bad in the airport and hotel. I’ve only been here two and a half hours now and already my throat is bothering me. The driving wasn’t a shock to me. The landscape, the traffic and pollution reminded me a lot of Kenya (except the pollution is worse and they have lots of these three wheel green motorized carts called tuk tuks).
Okay, so the travel wasn’t exciting…I’m glad it wasn’t! My only entertainment was the Indian checking my passport and declaration card on the way in. He must have had a long shift because he would flip through my passport, then fall asleep briefly, then he'd wake up and start flipping through it again. He did this about three or four times. I think it took him about ten minutes just to find the page in my passport that had my Indian visa.
Well, I should check out. I need to get a shower and some clean clothes before heading on to Agra.

Friday, October 28, 2011

India here we come...

It is "India eve" for me. Tomorrow I start on my journey to India. I will be leaving Saturday night and arriving in Delhi at 4a.m. on Monday morning. At 11a.m., four of us get in a van and head south six hours to Agra; home of the Taj Mahal. From there, we go south to two national parks to photograph Bengal tigers for the remainder of the trip.

I have never been to India before, so this will be new to me. At this point all I know is our main photo subjects on this trip are the Taj Mahal and Bengal tigers. I have my shots, took my dukorol, I have my antibiotics, diarrhea medication, malaria pills and two rolls of toilet paper. I have been here and there around the world but the last time I was asked to bring my own toilet paper was our trip to Tajikistan. At a rest stop, I walked into a bathroom, (witnessed what I don't think I will ever be able towipe from my memory), then went around behind the restroom and relieved myself in the bushes. You know you are going somewhere outside your comfort zone when you are told to bring your own toilet paper!

And so for good or bad, another adventure begins. I will blog from India every day that I have access to the internet. On the days that we don't have internet access, I will keep a diary and blog when I am online again. Sign up to my blog if you like and email posts and a few pictures from the day will go automatically to your inbox. I don't blog a lot, mostly just when I am on safari, but check it out. 

I hope this trip will go smoothly, but inevitably there is always some catch somewhere whether it is the France security guards questioning an "animal paparazzi", having visa "issues" in Russia or spending two days in a South African hospital because a cheetah attacked my step daughter, there is always something. Equally entertaining to Gaye was last year when I suffered the effects of food poisoning in a hot, bush plane ten minutes before landing in Tanzania. Seriously, does this stuff only happen to me?? (Well the cheetah thing didn't happen to me, but I have never heard of anyone else ever being attacked by a cheetah.) :)

In the land where bribes will be a necessity for us and toilet paper isn't taken for granted, I expect there will be a story or two. 

Pictures from previous safaris can be found on my website gallery