Have you heard the one about an English Doctor, a Swedish Nurse a Norwegian Pharmacist and an American Student? They all went to Bangalore and saw a tiger. OK so it's not funny, but it is true.
This weekend the four of us, as previously seen starring in "A Loaded Rickshaw", went to Bangalore, which is a three hour train ride up into the cooler Nilgiri hills. It was bliss, too cold for mozzies and I didn't need a fan.
We took the train on friday night and arrived at our Hotel at midnight. It was a nice hotel, the concierge was about 14 and when we asked if we should pay for the rooms, he said no, just a deposit. The deposit turned out to be 50% more than the total room cost for the whole weekend. Which caused a minor uproar. When we asked an Indian friend if this was normal practice, he looked sheepish and said yes because often his fellow country men leave a mild trail of devastation in Hotel rooms. We behaved ourselves very well, apart from a brief spat about the need to pay more than the rooms.
The two main highlights of the trip were having sushi and seeing a tiger. The sushi was truly delicious and, having been slightly protein starved, I could feel my muscles expanding as I ate. The only disappointment was when I ordered a traditional Japanese dessert which turned out to be baked beans and ice cream. Well, not literally the Heinz variety, but certainly some kind of bean topping was on it. It took some serious adjustments of my tastebuds to allow me to eat it uneventfully.
On Sunday morning we got up early to go to a reserve which treats tigers and other endangered species, keeps them in a safari type enviroment, rather than cages and then returns them to their original habitat. Consequently, they take bus loads tourists through the park where there are large free-roaming carnivores. It was amazing.