Jungle jaunt

When Mood Music
2006-05-21 10:29:00

EDIT: now with pix


"" local political grafitti
"" I won’t get treated by these people!


So yesterday I booked myself a guided tour of the forest around here in the hope of getting close to wild big animals: there’s elephants, big cats, bears and buffalo here. No sign of them (plenty of elephant tracks around though) but I can report another Bruce-first: I’ve had my blood sucked by a leech.

They’re funny creatures: they stand on leaves in paths, waving their ends around. They look like animated nails on prozac at a trance rave: jerking and waving away in the air. I was wearing long thick socks and long trousers so most of them didn’t get anywhere. My guide helped me brush a lot off and dislodged the rest with tobacco powder.

However one sod was clever – it hid in my trouser leg so when I changed my socks back in Kumily, it got a chance to latch onto my ankle and start sucking. I noticed a damp patch on my sandal strap and saw red juice leaking out. The little sod had gorged so much he was around 5mm thick (they start about 2mm thick) and leaking. My guide pulled him off and put tobacco on the cut to stop the bleeding.

I think we walked around 6 miles through dense forest – grasses taller than my head and beautiful trees with macaques and howler(?) monkeys occasionally letting us know we were trespassing. It’s quite beautiful: I hope the photos do it justice.

"" ‘tribal’ Ganesha temple in the jungle
"" view towards Periyar (looking east)
"" view of Kumily (looking north)
"" view into Tamil Nadu (looking east)
"" rice(?) fields to the east
"" flying ants’ nest
"" banyan – I’m told it slowly surrounds and kills its host
"" dunno but they’re pretty!
"" mimosa flowers

The walk has aggravated my left knee (injured when I was training to run a marathon ages ago) and I’m now hobbling like an arthritic wheelchair with triangular wheels.


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