Yesterday we got up at 5am to go on a jeep safari through periar tiger preserve. No, we did not see tigers, nobody does – it is 1000squar kms and there are only 43 tigers. However, we saw a ton of other stuff, including monkeys, hornbills, kingfishers, herons, monitor lizards. We took a hike through the jungle where our guide pointed out fresh elephant tracks (alas the elephants were nowhere to be seen) and later a boat ride around periar lake.
We were about to abandon our hopes for elephants by this point, but on our way back our amazing jeep driver spotted something waaaay off in a meadow – an elephant! He stopped the jeep and led us through the underbrush to get a good view, and shortly thereafter two more elephants came into view, a mother and baby. It was an amazing way to end the day…
The state of Kerala has a communist government. There are hammer and sickle posters everywhere, and Che Guevara posters, etc. There are also churches, synagogues (!) Hindu, Jain, Sikh and other temples… People here take religion seriously, and seem to have respect for a wide range of faiths.
Oh yeah, these communists also seem a lot more prosperous than the crazy-capitalist folks in Delhi. We haven’t seen Delhi-style poverty here yet, and generally things seem much saner.