Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
Trip End Aug 29, 2006

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Today we wanted to book a bus ticket to Chennai for Sunday. During weekends the buses are often crowded and this Sunday there is a Ganesh festival and that will draw the crowds. We wanted to board the bus close to Neerja's place, but it's impossible and we have to take a 10 o'clock bus that leaves from the main bus station. But at least we have our ticket and we headed to the other side of the bus station to board a local bus to Bannerghatta National Park for some wildlife safari hunting.

We knew which bus we had to take, but it never came...and then it was there and it drove by without stopping, just slowing down. So we decided to stop waiting and take another bus that would drop us about 2 km from the National Park.

We started walking but everytime we asked people how far it was, they said 'only 500 metres'. After several 500 metres we came to the entrance, bought our tickets (about 100 Rs including Safari, Zoo and a permission for of our camera) and entered the minibus that would take us on the safari. A year ago a baby had been dragged from the minibus by a tiger, so now all the windows were secured by steel gates which made the trip safer but not so nice for photographers. We drove about one hour through the different parts of the park and encountered lions, tigers (also white tigers), waterbuffaloes, bears, monkeys and peacocks. Especially the lions and tigers were awesome, you could really feel that they wouldn't hesitate to jump on you if they had the chance.

Afterwards we had some food (vegetable rice) and went through the zoo. Although it was interesting (especially the snakes and monkeys) we felt a bit sad for these animals in their cages. But then again, the safari was also like a zoo, only the cages are much bigger. Still, we took lots of pictures and I can't wait to see the ones we took of the monkeys with their little babies.

Getting back to Bangalore was much easier and after escaping from some very persistent beggars we boarded the bus. It seems that these beggars are professional people who come from as far as Bangladesh to make money. In a country where some people only make 50 Rs a day, a good beggar can make up to 500 Rs.

We got off in Wilson Garden, on the outskirts of Bangalore and visited a new shopping mall that had a lot of security and who first refused to let me in with my bag. But I was not going to leave my bag with some lady behind a wooden table (I carry more than 2000 euro worth of photomaterial) so after some argueing I was allowed to enter. Indian security will push you around a lot, but if you object they will just let you through. It seems they don't want to be bothered too much.

In the supermarket they had lots of European food like Nutella, Ferrero Rocher etc. but always at very high prices (often higher than in Belgium or Germany). We got some Tropicana and water and headed to the nearest fast food chain that had just opened its doors that day. So no menu, not much choice but at least they had masala dosas (stuffed with potatoes) and idlys and vadai.

When we left the restaurant it started raining but we managed to get an auto before it really poured down. When we got to Neerja's place we first went to a supermarket for some icecream and Indian crisps and went to bed.
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