The Wildlife Park
Sadly having the memory of an ageing goldfish I can't even remember the name of the park, but perhaps it's not important to the long and laborious tale I'm about to tell.
After a sumtuous breakfast from Ajay we headed out on another 'local bus' to a town about 20km away. We then paid our 200 rps to get into the park and 20 rps to hire bikes. The bikes were more like museum pieces than state of the art mountain bikes. I would imagine their design was around 1920. Standard frame, straight handle bars which then curved round at the ends to form the grips. We felt like something out of an Enid Blighton novel (English writer who wrote about a group of children and their adventures).
We cycled around the park for around 2 hours and saw many birds.... just as the guide had said at the gate.. you won't know what any of them are if you don't hire me.. and he was quite correct... but did it really mater. We did see Cranes, Storks, Kingfishers and strange Deer (dont' ask). We then alighted on a bench and amidst the chatter of wild life read in the cool shade as the heat of the day wilted everything in sight.
Lunch followed outside the park, as the only place to purchase food was like Maxime's in Paris compared to our budget.
We then tried to get a bus home... eventually we flagged a (and I mean 20 mins when I say eventually.. but it adds to the drama.. and as anyone who know's Edward Penrose, knows.. it's all about the drama) rather swish bus. Quite chuffed with ourselves we set off.
Now Bangra is a style of music that perhaps doesn't interest many... and indeed supporters didn't number one in our group. Clearly the bus driver thought otherwise and was kind enough to put his ailing tape recorder to full use. Being stood up afforded perfect alignment with the shelf mounted speakers. If you've never heard Bangra.. or what I term Bangra.. it's a screeching woman played at high speed with some semblance of a band trying to keep up on various instruments. Thank goodness the tape deck saw fit to eat the tape and tranquility once more reigned.
We arrived somewhere.. only to be told that our town was 2 kms' away and he wasn't going there.. quite contrary to what we were told on getting on the bus. As our fares amounted to less than a dollar for the 4 of us.. I wasn't in the mood to argue. My travelling companions thought otherwise.. particularly our Irish bargainer.. Roisin (pronounced Row-Sheen)
who demanded money back. And she got it... much to my amazement.
I think that might have already alluded that India is like a roller coaster.. amazing highs and tumultuous lows.... well this was a low.. but no sooner had we jumped off the bus waving our fists or as some did a single digit... a horse driver appeared and offered to take us to our town for the money we got back off the bus driver. So as the sun set we sped along the road in a horse drawn buggy.. a special way to end a special day. The other passengers were tour guides and were nice enough to give us some information as we sped along. So you can see the roller coaster quickly went back up again...
Our evening with Ajay, his father and the locals assembled... was our first foray into being with people who really did just want to talk, or listen. It was quite heart warming. When we left, the girls were each given an Elephant made of stone for luck. We shall Miss Ajay's Palace.
We asked him to accompany us around India... sadly he declined. So with a wave he turned and left us in the morning to catch another horse drawn cart to the bus for Jaipur.