Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sue's Here!! Let's get Busy (aka another trip - to Kabini)

Well... our string of visitors continues. This month it is our wonderful Aunt Sue! She is with us for 3 weeks and the kids are in heaven (again!).

She landed in Dehli on Monday 4/9 and we quickly adjusted her schedule so that she could get a quick, hand guided trip through the Taj Mahal. Then she flew into Bangalore (4/11) and we wisked her away for a weekend at Kabini Jungle Lodge. So in her 1st 6 days here, she was on some sort of sight seeing tour for 5 of those days. We aim to please!

Kabini Jungle Lodge is exactly what it sounds like. An old hunting lodge in the middle of the Indian National Forest, filled with wild elephants, peacocks, boars, buffalo, striped deer, mongoose, birds, birds, birds, crocodiles and even tigers. We were lucky enough to see everything but a tiger.

The basic premise of the camp is ... eat, relax, have tea, go on a safari (6pm), watch a nature film, eat, sleep, go on a safari (6am), eat, relax, sleep, have tea, so on a safari (6pm), etc.

Now, in case this doesnt sound very adventurous, let me assure you, ANY travel with 3 kids under 6 is an adventure.

The 1st safari trip out, it was POURING rain. Not just a nice sprinkle or a cooling mist, but a full on downpour with thunder and lightning and the works. However, we seemed to the only ones that noticed since all the guides continued to get the jeeps packed up and our fellow travelers settled themselves as if it were a perfectly sunny day. Did I mention that these are open air jeeps with no sides and no roof? We also did not have rain coats or umbrellas. Tom and I debated on how many animals would actually be wandering around in the middle of a storm. I mean, I may not hunt, but I have listened to him enough to know that NOTHING comes out in the rain, just stupid humans. Fortunately, the rain lasted just long enough to get us soaking wet and then it cleared up. So... We did get to see tons of elephants, etc. Kay was amazed by the size of elephant poop and pointed it out the rest of the weekend (elephants poop a lot in case you are wondering).

The next day we passed on the 6am safari and opted instead to sleep in. For ONCE in my parenting years, the kids cooperated. They actually slept until 9am. Must be something about the fresh air and rain. It was heaven.

Once we had eased into the day, our good friends/neighbors invited us to swim at their lodge. They were joining us for the adventure, but we were unable to stay at the same lodge. This turned out well as they had a pool and we didnt. It wasnt as great at night when we wanted to relax with a glass of wine on the patio and the kids werent cooperating with bedtime, but not all is always accomodated. Of course the kids LOVED the pool and we had to drag them out by their teeth. Once again, I am sure this was Jimmy's favorite part of the whole weekend.

We did the evening safari and this time, rather than a jeep ride in a thuderstorm, we got to enjoy a boat ride in 110 degree heat with mandatory life preservers. They didnt mention that this weekend was also a spa/sweat lodge experience. I think I dropped 5 pounds on the 2 hour safari alone. But... the highlight was seeing the crocodile. That made it ALL worth it. Billy could hardly stand it, he was so excited. Very cool.

Sunday am we braved the 6 am safari, by this time, I have seen my share of elephants and wild life, but this safari proofs to be "different" as we get to do the jeep trip AND a boat ride during the same safari. The "boat" turns out to be a bamboo donut covered in a blue tarp (noting another use for blue tarps). Each boat seats 3. We are about 1 foot out of the water and I am remembering the crocodile we saw the day before. PLUS, I have both the boys with me, alone. Needless to say, it was not relaxing. The boat "driver" also thought it was fun to spin the boat in circles. I was trying not to hurl as the boys were screaming in joy (no wonder we didnt see a crocodile).

We headed home with 3 exhausted kids and 3 equally exhausted adults.

Another fun Indian adventure.