Monday, March 28, 2011

India part 25c: The Sundarbans


On day two, it was all aboard the boat, which appeared to be named after a blunderbuss-toting red moustache-wearing cartoon character (unless you spoke Spanish, of course).


In summary: no tigers, but plenty of saltwater crocodiles, wild boar, deer, Brahmin kites, Kingfishers, curfews and egrets. I wish we hadn't seen any of the latter, so I could write: "Oh well, no egrets," - but never mind. There were also tons of Indian tourists ignoring the wildlife and instead taking pictures of the three of us, many without asking first, which is rare. Say cheese, guys!

Happy Indians

Ajay, Mowgli's young cousin who was looking after us for the day was very disdainful of them. He turned out to be a delightful raconteur, telling us a good anecdote about being ambushed by his family on Holi, and a more worrying one about a British-Gujurati girl who was, to all intents and purposes, stalking him from afar. He did have occasional moments when he seemed sullen, as if Sarah and I were his parents who he has embarrassed to be seen with, but then this impression would vanish and he'd start on another enthusiastic story. Later in the evening we walked a few kilometres with him to a cafe for chai and sweets, getting another bicycle cart back, with the road flickeringly illuminated by the naked flame the driver was using in lieu if a headlight, and the stars seemed brighter than ever.

The next day we wended our way back, via a number of tea shops, before getting a lift to Calcutta with Mowgli, getting to experience his pimped stereo. It cost a sixth of the price of the car itself, he told us proudly. Unfortunately he had a fondness for substandard house music and skipped over any promising-sounding hip hop, presumably in case P was offended by the language. More irony, since when we arrived back in Calcutta, she made a comment about Jews which made me wonder if my verdict on her - "Daily Mail reader" - had been a bit mild. Oh dear.

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