India Part 3: Bathing with the Beast

[Preface] It was no more than one minute on our long distance bus ride when I heard “STOP THE BUS!”   Lisa and I quickly realized it was Melissa who had spotted the glossy eyed, drunken man who had been following us at the bus terminal for the past thirty minutes.  “HE’S A BAD MAN!”  Melissa screamed fiercely,  pointing to him as he entered the front of the bus. We darted off the bus, our nerves a bit shaken, along with the rest of the travelers and hid behind a rickshaw until we caught our breath.  We broke out in laughter when the seriousness faded away, but non the less grateful for Melissa’s keen eye and assertiveness in the situation.  We hopped on the next bus and were off on our 7 hour journey to Thekkady safe and sound, and stalker-free.

The Coffee Inn Hut

We arrived and checked into a hut at the Lonely Planet’s top pick called the Coffee Inn.  There was nothing number one 
about this place besides the zen like vibe and semi friendly staff.  We left our slug filled room, now bundled up with sweaters and pants due to the chilly climate, and entered a bug swarmed restaurant across the street called the New Periyar Cafe.  Lisa mentioned she saw this in the top pick in the guide book, and at this point, after our bus journey on an empty stomach, we were all ready to eat each other.  Where were the white people?  Seemed a bit strange, but we continued in.  When small, white bugs were fleeing from our servers scalp, Melissa immediately insisted on sneaking into the kitchen to  check out the condition.  Impeccably, squeaky clean, she reported and even snapped a couple pictures to visually confirm with Lisa and I.  So we ordered naan, parantha, two types of curry and basmati rice.   We forcefully finished each bite and asked the server if we had anything else on the way just to be sure, as we were distracted when we first sat down by the invasion of insects.  A simple nod, and ten minutes later, we had another order of what we had just barely finished!  We all looked at each other a bit disoriented as to what had just happened, but in any event, expanded our tummies a bit more in order to avoid waste, of course, and ate a complete second serving of each dish!  Gluttony at its finest!  After our dining adventure, we had to re evaluate and recheck the description in the guidebook and to our knowledge found out we were at the New Periyar Cafe, not to be confused with the guidebooks suggested Cafe Periyar.  However in spite of the mistake, we rolled out with full bellies and a true local experience! [End of Preface]

Trekking through Periyar Nat'l Park

Unfortunately, all of the jeep safaris to Periyar National Park were booked, which was the reason why we traveled to this town.   So, instead we settled on a trek through the park with a guide, but first we had to fulfill our long waited dream of riding an elephant.  The ride was a bit disappointing, but what to expect from a tourist attraction.  After feeding it, then sadly watching it carry logs and listen to commands from his owner, and snapping an innumerable amount of pictures, I paid a couple hundred rupees extra to bathe with the beast.  This was by far one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had with wildlife, although I wouldn’t say he was all that wild!  Sitting on his neck with his ginormous, thick ear resting over my legs, catching his glassy eye staring up at me, while he lazily sipped on water through his trunk.  I climbed up his wrinkled, rough body and posted up for my shower.  After I was drenched, I sat on his front leg and showed him my gratitude by scrubbing the skin under his ear, although he did not react the way a dog does when you itch the right spot to get his hind leg spinning like a wheel.

I have a new love for this magnificent, marvelous mammal and now when anyone asks “What’s your favorite animal?”, I will say with utter and complete confidence, “An elephant of course!” and remember my experience of bathing with the beast!

         

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Your Dad
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 04:18:14

    You blew your grandmother’s minds with the washing with elephants

    Reply

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