India (6) – Bharatpur and Keoladeo National Park

This morning we visited the Keoladeo nature reserve.  The original schedule included a rickshaw ride, but we decided that we preferred to travel with a little more independence, all the better for photography, and rented 3 bikes.  After some consideration we also hired a guide, which turned out to be a great decision, as he pointed out plenty of birds to us that we surely would have missed.
It was fun to be by bike, but definitely a challenge.  Not only because of the 40 degree heat, but also because, like conference t-shirts, the bikes came in one size only – men’s extra large!  Fortunately I was just about able to get on and off, and pedal, though at time it was a bit precarious, particularly when I forgot about the crossbar.

This isn’t the best time to visit the park as all the migratory birds have left for their next destinations.  Still, there is plenty of resident wildlife, and we saw quite a broad variety, including Rhesus monkey, jackal, a couple types of owl, herons, egrets, storks and cranes.  The park also has quite a python population, but we didn’t see any.  Or at least, i saw a snake making a speedy exit, but I’ve no idea if it was a python or not.
We spent about 3 hours in the park, and were totally exhausted on our return to the hotel.  The first task we had was to try and upload our blog entries from yesterday, which turned out to be a challenge.  This hotel is certainly the most impressive looking, and has the nicest rooms and pool, but it has two things stopping it from being the all-round favourite on the trip so far – the disappointing food (no real improvement there today, nearly everything at lunch was western food) and the lack of wi-fi.  After a lot of fiddling around by one of the staff members (a continuation from about 1hr spent last night), we finally managed to achieve both internet connection on their pc, and get the usb working so that we could copy over our epic works from the laptop.

After lunch we recharged our batteries… I managed all of 13 pages of my new book before falling asleep.  Later, after some photo editing, we had a refreshing swim in the pool – dusk was falling, the pool was lit, and we were kept company by bats and birds flitting around us and drinking from the pool.
Tomorrow marks the halfway point of our trip, and we’ll be heading off in the morning for Agra and the Taj Mahal.

Links to my fellow travellers’ posts of the day: Arie (1), Arie (2), Marcel.

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