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# Oh oobee do, I wanna be like you hoo hoo #

overcast 2 °C

No. of squatters on the banks of the Ganges = 77 and counting
No. of pizzas eaten = 3
No. of times Pauline would like to have eaten pizza or has talked about pizza = 20
No. of hours on longest journey door to door = 23

Hello fans! Yes this is my first official blog entry but I'm sure I don't need to reiterate that all witty bits of previous entries were my creations. Richard is the brains behind the stats though, he's obsessed.

Since our last entry we have continued North and East a bit from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh National Park and we are now in Varanasi. Quite a few hours spent on trains, drinking chai in train stations and watching cows negotiate (moving) trains while wandering down the tracks. It is really cold here so you can all stop being jealous of the sunshine.

Our safari experiences were incredible. Bandhavgarh was rumoured to be the inspiration for Rudyard Kippling's Jungle Book (hence the blog title in case you thought I was going mad) and although I think this has been dispelled, it's a beautiful place for sure. After only 3 hours sleep, having arrived in the middle of the night to our guest house on the outskirts of the national park, we met up with Kaspar the friendly German and bundled in our open top jeep. At 5am Northern India is chilly to say the least and our million layers weren't quite enough to keep us warm. We set out hoping the tigers wouldn't be too shy and cold to show their pretty faces, they were! There were plenty of spotted deer, various cheeky monkeys, a jungle cat (apparently quite rare), wild boar, owls and eagles so we weren't too disappointed. Nevertheless, we had set out to see a tiger so we embarked on another safari with Kaspar in tow and two Americans we practically kidnapped to keep the cost of the jeep down. Sure we would spot one we set out in the afternoon with high spirits and a spot of sunshine. With only half an hour left before the park closed it wasn't looking hopeful, but some excitable exchanges between our guide and a neighbouring jeep suggested the king of the jungle was near. A commotion ensued ,we all nearly fell out of the jeep as we sped off into the distance, we were flagged down by another jeep and came to a screeching halt. At this point I thought we'd surely scare off whatever was there but no, there she was, the Queen of the jungle right in front of us, an adult female. It was very special. I don't think I breathed for a good 5 minutes as we watched her mark her territory and calmly pass us by. 3 words for you AH-MAY-ZING! Loads of good pictures thanks to Richard's steady hand, the video I took is hilarious as I'm clearly not as calm as the tigress. DSC_0044.jpg

So, Varanasi is quite something else. It's clearly a very sacred place but some people show their respects in a funny way. This is what Richard is referring to by 'squatters' in the stats. Lets just say we wont be taking a dip in the river Ganga anytime soon. In fact its difficult to avoid accidentally snapping the squatters when taking in the view, they are everywhere. It doesn't smell too bad though surprisingly and a dusk boat trip last night was really peaceful if a bit eerie due to the mist rolling in. DSC_0213.jpgYesterday was a strange day. It isn't difficult to find yourself immersed in this place. When we got a little lost down the side streets off the ghats, several funeral processions passed us very closely. That spooked me no end but I guess it's an experience. Nothing spooks Richard though and he calmly navigated his was between a few dead bodies and some of the biggest cows I've ever seen. Richard was yet again unfazed today when we crossed a really long, very unstable, very poor excuse for a bridge across the river. I need to toughen up for China as even this scared the ganga out of me!

We can't believe how quickly our adventure in India is unfolding and plan to make the most of our last week here. Looking forward to the Taj Mahal in a few days when we head to Agra, apparently the fort is good there too. We are still loving the food, I think Richard will have to write another entry just on food before we leave, he discovers a new favourite thing everyday. We have both eaten our body weight in peanut caramel brittle today. tasty good!

Posted by Po Gallon 19:57 Archived in India

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Hey there you two! Happy New Year from us in Wales, where the temp. is just a tiny bit colder than 2C.
Really enjoying reading your tales of travel - so glad you saw that tiger. After all, we have seen those documentaries on the tiger trail eg. in Bhutan, and you really wonder how many hours/days/months it takes to see one.
Neil says he hopes Richard has found people there to celebrate the Ashes victory.
x from S and N

by Susan & Neil

Fantastic photos Richard not sure which I liked best - the Tiger, kingfisher, stag ....mmmmm no has to be Pauline's new beau !
brilliant first blog Pauline ...I have a new stat for Richard..No of times Ma Baker checks out this site before starting work...too many!! Love to you both xx

by ma baker

in case you didn't get my e.mail,we're now on skype !
Val x

by val

Keep em' coming great work!

by RichieB

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