Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sweet India

Namaste, everybody sorry I didn't send out a newsletter on Tuesday, I was traveling across the countryside and if you've ever travelled through India it can be one hell of a ride. I'm back in Delhi now, ready to go to the mountains and hopefully meet the Dalai Lama. It would be another dream of mine if i were to meet his holiness.

Now for another story, Its hard to get down in word's, they will never justify the experience, I and six other men had a week ago. Here go's, I'd arrived on Diu Island as I said I was going to do. The promise of white sand, palm tree's and the main reason, going surfing. But unfortunately, the sand was dark, not to bad, but when you come from Australia, if the sand isn't pure white and the water isn't aqua green or deep blue it's just not the same. The moment I'd realized what the island was about I thought to my self that I would stay for about two to three days tops, how wrong I was.

On the First day after unpacking, I hired a moped(my brother-in-law would not be happy, he's a biker and if you ride anything else other then a Harley Davidson, Triumpth or B.S.A, your a girl and a sissy, so I wont tell him or his mates of the shame I brought to his club, lol). Oh yeah that reminds me of a joke, What does sleeping with a big woman and a moped have in common? They're both fun to ride till your mates find out. Hope that's not to rude for some of you. Back to the story, I went all around the island, wind flowing through what hair I have left, sun on my back, what a great feeling. I was guided to go to a beach and walk around the headland, and there to my great delight were waves, not big but still waves.

I ran back to my bike, and headed straight for what i thought was the place to hirer or by a surfboard. How wrong was I, they didn't have a clue what I was talking about, I had to draw it in the sand and still no luck, arrrrrrr. I forgot to tell you, Gujarat state is way behind the rest of India, not many tourists go there, which I thought would be nice, but no tourists means hundreds of Indians gathering around asking a thousand questions in bad English. No ego here, but I could imagine what it would be like to be a celebrity, believe me you wouldn't be one for quids(oh unless you have a huge ego, oh that's right most of them do).

Well at the end of the afternoon I finally scummed to the fact i was not going to get a surf in. So I thought I'd make the most of my stay and enjoy what the island had to offer. The last stop was at a hotel complex right on the beach, I was thinking of moving to it, because of the location, as I pulled up and peered at the beach I heard a familiar voice,' Domonique'? Yes it was my good friend Erez, ah a friend I thought, things a looking up. He introduced me to his friends, who made me feel very welcomed. I stayed at the other hotel that night and moved over the next morning.

Sorry better get on with the story, so after a couple of days, while I was having breakfast, a young Indian guy asked me to join him and his companions. I agreed, he brought me lunch, which is very unusual for an Indian, i realized after talking for a while Piyu was a wealthy Indian and I know when Indians are rich they have money to burn. During the conversation he asked me if would be interested in going to the wildlife sanctuary to get up close to a lion. He didn't need to ask me twice, one of his friends was the king of the lions. Malick was his name, he was about 5ft nothing, but he certainly had a presence about him, so I asked could I bring some friends, 'for sure', Piyu said. I asked a few more questions on what was going to take place, they said,'we go into the jungle, late at night and look for lions'. 'Oh of coarse', I said,'um what about a gun just in case'?, 'no we have Malik, he has been with the lions since he was a kid, they respect him, there's no problem', 'of coarse' I said.

They went on to explain what a lion's characteristics are when you come across one. 'They give you three warning's before they come and kill you','oh thank god', i said 'i was a bit worried for a while there'. 'The first warning, the lion will get up and turn it's back on you then turn its head around and look you straight in the eye and growl once'. 'The next time, if your still hanging around, they'll get up again do the same thing, but this time they'll growl twice'. 'The third and most important, they'll get up turn they're back and lift they're tail vertically, that's when you know they're really angry','so then you run right', I said,'no when the lion is charging at you, you stand still', 'yeah right', i thought, I'm going to stand still while a three hundred kilo lion or two are running at me. I nodded my head, 'I understand'.

A few of Erez's friends, turned up we told them the plan, they agreed straight away. Erez turned up last I explained what we were up to, he was in for sure. So we all got ready, and left for the jungle. The name of the sanctuary is Sasan Gir, other things happened on the way out there to test us, but I wont go into them because the story is dragging on a bit. For hours we travelled, I thought we'd be there in and hour or two. Malik got a call from a friend to say that there were two male lion's feeding in a certain area and we'd better hurry up if we wanted to catch them. so off we headed to a little village in the middle of no where.

We finally arrived at our destination, it was about two o'clock in the morning, everyone was pretty tired. Malik said we had to go on foot, to see the lion's so into the forest we went, armed with two torches and one major rule as so called protection,'don't run if the lion is coming to kill you. (oh, I forgot to tell you all, lions don't eat you, they'll just slap you out with their paw, you usually die from a heart attack before the lion kills you, few that makes me fill even better again. They told me there's nothing to worry about, lions don't eat you only leopards do, oh I'm feeling better all the time, not), back to the story, we left the village and headed for the hills in the dark.

I'm so glad there was a half moon out so you could see a bit. We all followed Malik and Piyu in single file. We weren't aloud to talk, so I guess it created even more excitement, or was that tension, anyway, about three kilometre's into the forest we heard a strange noise, yes it was a roar of a lion in the distance. I've never heard any sound like it, it wasn't what I was expecting. So on we went maybe for another kilometer, then Malik stopped and turned on his torch, he told us to stay back, while he looked for the lion. Next minute he calls us over, as we approached you could smell a dead animal so we knew we were close. Malik then smiled and said 'look' and there not twenty, maybe thirty feet away was a huge male lion, devouring a buffalo.

We stood in awe, even though it was a young lion he was still huge. The adrenaline was certainly pumping through our bodies now. Next thing after maybe five minutes( not sure on time, it all stood still), the lion gave us a warning to go. The thing that made me even more nervous was the fact that somewhere in the dark was another huge male lion looking at us, Malik told us its time to go, he didn't need to tell me twice. So we headed back to the cars, feeling like you've just experienced one of the most profound things any human can experience.
I cant describe the feeling, standing in the dark, in the middle of nowhere face to face with a huge wild lion. I've jumped out of planes, and tried just about everything else that will scare you, but I think this tops the list. As all of us said its a story for the grandchildren. I certainly realize more and more whilst on this trip how blessed I truly am.

We didn't get a photo of the lion as you could imagine, I even forgot to take one of Malik and Piyu. I did manage to get one of each of the my friends who I got to share such a profound experience with.

Yuav and Noan, (forgot to get correct spelling of their names will do that when I get to Goa).
These two are the best of friends, both are great guys, ( We all think Noan should be a Bollywood movie star, lol)

This is Magen and you all know Erez, If there's one guy you want to be in the middle of the jungle face to face with a lion its Magen. I don't think anything would scare him, he's a very calm and centred man, his name actually means shield in Hebrew, so the boys were all saying if the lion charges can we hide behind you, lol.

Here's some more pictures of Udaipur.

View from a Restaurant, Udaipur.

Old man, Udaipur temple.

Kings Palace, Udaipur.

Sunset, Udaipur.


At 8:07 AM, Dr Anshu said...

may visit blog


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