Bea goes to India 2006

A place to house periodic comments from Bea while she backpacks her way through India and Nepal.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

change and change... remaining flexible

Once again, the group is changing... this time in a more significant way.............

4 people are currently in Amritsar [I didn't go since two of us went a couple of months ago] -- they will come back through Delhi and spend 4 hours here before continuing on train to Mumbai/Goa coast... I will see two of them on the return flight to London, the other two will continue down the coast and return to the UK in mid-June]
one person left last night for Thailand; will return to Delhi in about 3 1/2 weeks and return to London with the group.
2 people just left for Nepal. One will do the Everest Base Camp [EBC] Trek on his own -- the other has tentatively planned a trek to the Annapurna base camp outside of Pokhara, along with other sightseeing in Nepal

and then there was me:
  • I am uncomfortably hot -- didn't fancy going to the coast to be hotter... and not that interested in the beach scene...
  • I didn't want to go to Thailand again [and besides wasn't invited! ]
  • I didn't believe that I was a good match for either of the Nepal itenaries [the person doing the EBC trek wants to do it as fast as possible; he is fit enough he can probably shave a couple of days off the trek -- the other one has said he is looking forward to being able to set his own schedule rather than being in a group... he probably would have been gracious if I had joined him, but given how he is talking, I think he would be happier solo...]
  • I didn't fancy traveling alone. been there, done that, have that t-shirt -- will probably do again, but not in the mood to do it now...
  • I didn't particularly want to home early. could have, but don't have anything pressing so leaving early seems like a waste of my effort to get here!

so I asked if could continue with just me; they said yes, so our leader Andy has the pleasure of my company for another 3 1/2 weeks. I've agreed to try to not be too high-maintenance! We watch the FCO web sight often, hoping the travel restriction is lifted [life in Nepal is dramatically more peaceful, and the hope of a new cabinet and assembly to rewrite the constitution has improved the mood of most everyone... the UK often waits a while to see if the change is just a lull or if it feels like it is more permanent ]

we are here in Delhi until the 5th -- will then travel back to the Darjeeling area, since it is so much cooler there -- may do an easy walk near the border area with Nepal... and then plan to enter Nepal and do a limited itenary based on the time available to us; I have a yen to see small village life, rhinos, some day hikes, the world heritage sites, and take a plane ride over Everest... I teased Dave before he left this morning that I would wave to him out of the plane.... I'm sure I will be far enough away he won't even notice, and depending on when I do it, he could already be off the mountain.

financially, those that signed off earlier were given too much money; the seven that signed off this week got a more realistic amount, but dramatically less than they expected. Most will be budgetting carefully or spending/borrowing additional funds to support their alternate plans. All of us are trying to let go -- the three people that signed off first annoyed us on several levels, so perhaps it was nice to have a break from their company for a couple of weeks before the group completely disbanded...

for the two of us, things will be different as well -- it will be less cost-effective to hire a jeep [since the cost split 9 ways often ended up being less than it would be for us all to catch a public bus!!!] I have more responsibilities and more say in what we do, but I respect Andy enough that I want to make sure he isn't climbing the walls either... because Nepal is his home, I think he will be happy to be there, and I'm sure that I can entertain myself for part of the time if he needs a break.

Did I write about Corbett? I don't think so, and so I'll end with a happier note -- pretty stories and such...

We traveled overland from Nainital to Corbett in a very crowded jeep -- and then contracted three jeeps on a by-day basis to support us while we were in the park. It was much less crowded than the last park we were in [Bandhavgarh], but less likely that we would see a tiger, so I think they couldn't swap the two in the official itenary. We stayed in a dormatory setting and ate at a canteen [reasonable food and very cost-effective] went out on jeep safari one morning, elephant ride in the evening, jeep safari the second morning, then traveled back to the city outside of the park for the train trip to Delhi.

the first jeep safari was much more successful than the second, but they were both nice. we saw a tiger that was properly wild [frightened by our presence] -- roared at us and ran... it was a wonderful addition to my memories of the big cats, and MUCH better for the gentleman who had only seen one lazily crossing the road in Bandhavgarh.

there were also wild elephants, crocidiles [two types -- the cool fishing crocks with skinny noses were my favorite -- the muggers look more like american species, but a little more compact], huge fish, otters, jackals, wild boar, deer [4 types], python [young adult just outside of the electric fence where we stayed, the track of a much larger one while we were on safari], monkeys, lots of birds

the elephant ride was two hours long -- had a fabulous time wandering through the cannibas patches looking for sleeping/hunting tigers and seeing the deer, elephants away from the road -- it was nice to be able to experience where the animals live without the artifical nature of the road and the sounds of our jeep and others that we passed...

we were aware that our plans involved separating, so there were also some very nice conversations among the group, reminiscing and making plans to get together later in the year [the UK group expects that since I was willing to go to the build-up weekend, I would surely do a rafting weekend in Wales... I keep telling them I need to have a proper job so I can afford that kind of play!!!! ]

time's up, on a power supply since electricity out [rolling blackouts throughout Delhi, and water shortages -- the record heat and lack of generating capacity have severely impacted the system...]

anyhow, off to buy some washing powder and do laundry, then shuffle some stuff to storage before our next segment.

hope you are all well and happy, and know that I keep you in mind... even though I'm very far away.
grins, b