Walking to the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekkady. This was the first day that I was 100% by myself so this sign hit me like a ton of bricks. I ended up doing a short morning trek with a couple from California (who hooked me up with a lonely planet book because mine arrived from amazon.com 2 days after I left). If you plan on going to India for less than 2 months, be prepared to feel foolish when you meet other travelers because it seems that everyone traveling in India is out for 2 months, 3 months, 5 months, or more.
After trekking the perimeter of the reserve I headed towards the Periyar Lake. Here I met up with an Israeli couple from London who design furniture (check out their awesome super modern stuff – http://www.raw-edges.com/ ). We crossed the lake on a simple raft made of logs by pulling ourselves across with a rope anchored on both banks. Such a simple yet effective system. It’s probably been in place for hundreds of years…why change it? Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do any real boating on the lake. One of the problems with India’s “get it done” philosophy is that it often supersedes safety. A few months prior to my arrival, a wildlife watching boat was apparently over capacity and capsized when an elephant was spotted to one side of the boat. Approximately 50 people died.
Monkey knife fight! Ok so they didn’t have knives, but it was a monkey fight. On my way out of the Periyar Tiger Resreve, I had my first of many encounters with these mischievous little guys. Funny thing is that in addition to NOT seeing any tigers at the Periyar Tiger Reserve, nor elephants nor anything giant and exciting/scary, I actually saw more on the way in and out of the reserve. Monkeys, giant squirrels (its a real thing, not just a fat squirrel – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_giant_squirrel), wild boar, etc.
By: Will Noon