Safari

Anna, Angie, Kitty and I decided to visit Bandipur National Park. It’s a couple of hours south of Mysore, and our hope was to see a tiger.

There are all kinds of resorts around the national park — so I spent a little time researching and then asked for referrals on Facebook, and we ended up deciding to stay at Bandipur Safari Lodge.

Here’s the itinerary:

Day 1
12.00 Noon Check-in
01.30 pm Lunch
04.00 pm Safari briefing with tea / coffee
04.30 pm Drive into Bandipur National park
07.30 pm Wildlife film
08.30 pm Bonfire
09.30 pm Dinner

Day 2
06.00 am Wake-up call, tea / coffee
06.30 am Trekking / Drive into park
09.30 am Breakfast
11.00 am Check out

We planned the trip so that we could do led practice at the shala on Sunday morning, then head out for the park. Monday was a moon day (day off from practice) — so we didn’t have to miss any yoga in order to go looking for tigers.

The drive to Bandipur. Honestly, I don’t know how to explain Indian driving. I actually understand how it works, after watching for a month — but I don’t know that I can really explain it without a chalkboard and video clips.

I guess the important part to understand is that lanes are very fluid. And a two lane road can accommodate four or five lanes of traffic, provided some of them are small enough (pedestrians, animals, motorcycles). Basically, you can pass any vehicle ahead of you however you want (driving the wrong way down the opposite lane is fine) provided you are back on your side of the highway before the oncoming vehicle(s) collide with you.

So: ahead of you is a truck passing an oxen cart. Coming toward you in the opposite lane is a motorcycle that is passing a pedestrian and a herd of goats on the other side of the road. Should you gun it and pass the truck that is passing the cart, by swerving into the oncoming motorcyle’s lane?

Heck, yeah! This is an easy one: those are all pretty small obstacles — you can totally maneuver to miss all of them and be back in your lane before there’s more oncoming traffic. Just don’t forget to beep so everyone knows you’re going for it!

Okay: there are two buses ahead of you that you want to pass. Coming at you is a huge truck, which is passing a car. Should you swerve in front of the oncoming truck even if you can’t make it past both buses and will need to beep like crazy and then swerve in to wedge yourself between the two buses?

Why not? The other drivers will accommodate your vehicle!

Don’t be afraid. There are seatbelts in the front seat of the car. And the passengers in the back are probably going to be just fine. They knew there were no seat belts when they agreed to get in the car!

Anna at the resort.

The scene between Anna and my hut (Red Munia) and Angie and Kitty’s hut (King Fisher).

Cute, right?

Again, Anna reads and I invade her privacy.

View from the porch.

Angie and Kitty on the huge cross-between-a-Jeep-and-a-bus vehicle. Sorry about the poor lighting — I am using the iPhone for pictures. The iPhone was highly suspect — we were not supposed to have cell phones (bad to get a call when stalking tigers, I imagine) but I had it turned to airplane mode, so it wasn’t going to ring. I had to keep holding it up and saying, “No phone! No phone! Camera! Camera!” when the guides pointed at it and said, accusatorily, “Phone! Phone!”

We saw SO many deer. I love this picture because the deer in the middle looks like just his head is sticking out of the ground.

And elephants! This was our first outing, on Sunday afternoon. Three hours in the big vehicle over CRAZY bumpy dirt roads. Beautiful land, though — and tons of peacocks, sambar deer (which are ginormous, muscular deer), monkeys, and two kinds of mongooses.

We heard some distress calls out in the jungle, which made the guide think there might be a tiger close by. We stopped and waited for a while, but no luck. Regardless, it was beautiful to sit and listen to the birds and other animals.

The next morning, we went out bright and early for another drive. This time we were in a smaller Jeep. We drove out into an area that was covered in tiger poop, then stopped by a few watering holes.

At one spot we heard a tiger roar. We sat and waited for a while, scanning the brush and kind of holding our breaths. But in the end, the tigers of Bandipur were elusive. We didn’t see any.

On the way back, though, we came upon this fellow, who was remarkably close to the truck, and not at all disturbed by it.

It was a terrific trip, despite not seeing any tigers. Better luck next time!

And then it was time for another drive on the Indian highway. Buckle up! Oh, wait — never mind…

I took these two pictures because we’d been hurtling along for an hour, when suddenly we were slowed to a crawl in a little village along the highway.

This is looking out the front window of the car. What’s going on up there? Hard to tell…

People gathered on the side of the road and everyone was looking at something up ahead of us.

“What’s this?” we asked our driver. “What’s going on?”

“Celebration,” he said.

Well, there you go. e” alt=”” width=”275″ height=”206″>

Anna at the resort.

The scene between Anna and my hut (Red Munia) and Angie and Kitty’s hut (King Fisher).

Cute, right?

Again, Anna reads and I invade her privacy.

View from the porch.

Angie and Kitty on the huge cross-between-a-Jeep-and-a-bus vehicle. Sorry about the poor lighting — I am using the iPhone for pictures. The iPhone was highly suspect — we were not supposed to have cell phones (bad to get a call when stalking tigers, I imagine) but I had it turned to airplane mode, so it wasn’t going to ring. I had to keep holding it up and saying, “No phone! No phone! Camera! Camera!” when the guides pointed at it and said, accusatorily, “Phone! Phone!”

We saw SO many deer. I love this picture because the deer in the middle looks like just his head is sticking out of the ground.

And elephants! This was our first outing, on Sunday afternoon. Three hours in the big vehicle over CRAZY bumpy dirt roads. Beautiful land, though — and tons of peacocks, sambar deer (which are ginormous, muscular deer), monkeys, and two kinds of mongooses.

We heard some distress calls out in the jungle, which made the guide think there might be a tiger close by. We stopped and waited for a while, but no luck. Regardless, it was beautiful to sit and listen to the birds and other animals.

The next morning, we went out bright and early for another drive. This time we were in a smaller Jeep. We drove out into an area that was covered in tiger poop, then stopped by a few watering holes.

At one spot we heard a tiger roar. We sat and waited for a while, scanning the brush and kind of holding our breaths. But in the end, the tigers of Bandipur were elusive. We didn’t see any.

On the way back, though, we came upon this fellow, who was remarkably close to the truck, and not at all disturbed by it.

It was a terrific trip, despite not seeing any tigers. Better luck next time!

And then it was time for another drive on the Indian highway. Buckle up! Oh, wait — never mind…

I took these two pictures because we’d been hurtling along for an hour, when suddenly we were slowed to a crawl in a little village along the highway.

This is looking out the front window of the car. What’s going on up there? Hard to tell…

People gathered on the side of the road and everyone was looking at something up ahead of us.

“What’s this?” we asked our driver. “What’s going on?”

“Celebration,” he said.

Well, there you go.

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