Monday, February 22, 2010

India and Sri Lanka


Sitting at the computer in Heathrow Airport, waiting for the flight home. We've had an interesting trip. Lots of photos to share, but no way of posting them from here. Among them, an amazing golden temple in India, said to be 3 or 4 times the size of the famous one at Amritsar, several of Indian elephants, both domesticated and wild, blue whales close up, and some bird encounters. The last of these was in Yalle National park in Sri Lanka where we watched a medley of birds fishing vigorously in a small pool that had been cut off as flood waters receded. Painted storks, two species of egret and a solitary gey heron were pulling up fish at a furious rate. And the winner was.. a greater egret that caught a fish about as long as its bill and had a hard time swallowing it.

We drove through thousands of acres of tea estates and it struck me that they, just like golf courses, are really an environmental wasteland. Not quite a monoculture, but awfully close to it, they stand in stark contrast to the remnant tropical forests that border them. At least they employ a lot of people.

Friday, February 5, 2010

India & Sri Lanka trip


I've been trying to get a posting on to this blog for almost 2 weeks, but from
grungy Internet cafes in India it seems to be impossible. The worst one was
not only grungy, but had no lights and a keyboard that was so worn most of the
keys were illegible!

We are now a friend's house in Mysore & he has broadband, so here's trying

I wrote this a week ago.
We have left the cold north for a trip to India. The main reason was to visit
my wife's old medical school - Vellore Christian Medical College - for a class
reunion. I won't mention the number of years since she graduated, but it is
more than a few. For some reason all her classmates have grey hair, but of
course we have not changed a bit. The fact is, the goal posts have shifted.
After a week in UK, where we had to do battle with the fact that the Brits know
almost nothing about snow, we arrived in Bangalore and went straight away to
the city of Tirupathi. The 300 km taxi ride cost about $60!!
The best thing about the city was the food in our hotel. All vegetarian, but
wonderfully delicious, with various forms of Dosa being the star attractions.
We are now in the alumni hostel at the medical school and I can finally get out
my camera and see what interesting birds there may be among the wonderful array
of trees in the compound.

Since then we have seen the most amazing golden temple at Vellore. It is said
to be about 4 times as large as the more famous one at Amritsar, and to have
between 7 and 8 tonnes of gold on the roof, pillars, ceiling & walls! There's
no way I can attach a picture but I will endeavour to do so once we get home.

From there we headed to the Kerala coast and had avery interesting time
relaxing, swimming and eating delicious food. My hair cut cost 35 rupees,
about 70 cents.

Tuesday early we head to Sri Lanka and more exploring.

Let's hope this blog effort reaches its destination