Saturday Oct 8, 2005 - day 9 - Ranthambore - Kathy: 157 photos, Bob: 96 photos

††††††††††† We heard about a huge earthquake in Pakistan today near the India border.They say it was a huge 7.6 on the Richter scale and more than a thousand people were killed.They say it was near Islamabad and Kashmir was hit hard.It was felt as far away as Delhi, but we certainly didnít feel anything, and we are now in Northern India. [According to the last estimate I heard, the death toll was over 73,000 people.]

††††††††††† Today we went into the Ranthambore wildlife refuge early in the morning.Our goal was to see a tiger or leopard in the wild.Unfortunately, they say the Indian tiger is very nearly extinct, and so our chances of seeing one was only twenty percent.We didnít see any, but we saw other wildlife.

We saw lots of deer,

spotted deer, ††sambar, ††antelope,

gazelle, cayman,

a weird creature they called a blue bull, monkeys,

crocodiles,

and other creatures.

††††††††††† There were lots of birds too.We saw egrets,

eagles, parrots, ††and kingfishers.

There was lovely lake

and a great view of the fort Kathy visited yesterday.

As we were leaving the park, we spotted a large herd of school children.

The problem with the morning drive was that the driver was going too fast.It seemed like when we werenít going forty miles-per-hour, then we were going fifty.

††††††††††† After the morning game drive, Kathy and I walked into the village by ourselves, which was a lot of fun.We stopped at a little shop and bought a large cloth that could either be used as a table cloth or a bedspread.It had hundreds of decorative cutouts that were hand-stitched with another cloth.Obviously, a lot of work went into this cloth and it was beautiful without being gaudy.We got it for a fair price of forty dollars after talking them down from their original asking price of sixty-five dollars.

††††††††††† Walking into the village, we started talking to some children,

but their English wasnít very good, and of course, I donít know any Hindi except for the few words Sujay taught us and various food items.We walked around the village and took several photos of the cows,

the children, and some of the adults.They really loved getting their photo taken, and with the digital camera, I could show them the results immediately.They giggled in delight and spoke very fast among themselves as they pointed at the displays on our cameras.It was a very good time.

††††††††††† The kids pointed to the North and beaconed us to follow.At the risk of getting lost in a strange city, we did.We soon found ourselves in a maze of walls and small buildings, and eventually they pointed us to the railway station.They had assumed we had gotten off the train and were lost, and needed to find our way back to the train.

††††††††††† We managed to find our way back to the main road and back to the hotel, but it was a slight challenge, and lots of people stared at us like we were Martians.

††††††††††† For the most part, these were very poor people, but very happy, compared to Americans who have a lot of money, but are mostly unhappy.Itís cool to see the ďrealĒ people in a situation where you know it is not artificially set up by a guide where you canít be sure the situation is not scripted.

††††††††††† When we got back to the hotel, we took some more photos.

It was just so pretty.

††††††††††† In the afternoon, we went on our second game drive.This time, they promised to go slower so we could enjoy it.It was much slower and much more enjoyable, however, we still didnít see any tigers or leopards.At one break, we spoke briefly with a couple from England and I asked them my burning question: when would the fifth season of ďCouplingĒ be available on DVD?I love that show.They only laughed.

††††††††††† So we saw lots and lots of other animals, and all this time, I was thinking about famous rock and roll bands from the 1960s and 1970s.On just this day, I can truthfully say that I have seen The Animals, The Beetles, The Monkeys, The Birds, The Village People, A Flock of Seagulls, The Partridge Family, The Rolling Stones, The Cars, The Doors, The Eagles, and The Mamas and the Papas.You get the picture.