Sunday, April 4, 2010

A leopard in front of me a tusker behind me!

No this is not like being caught between a rock and a hard place or being between the devil and the deep blue sea. But a wonderful heavenly moment I enjoyed when I was in Yala over the weekend. This time we were stayin out side the park in the wild life and nature protection society bungalow. It is situated in a faraway corner of the Palatupana salt erns. Infact you would not be wrong if you woke up and thought you were inside the park. The facilities are basic but if you are used to what's available in the wild life bungalows it is more or less the same and helps you make believe that you are actually in the park.

One of the things which were a turn off is that the upstair section is walled up with concrete blocks with little holes in them. And therefore it is warm and claustrphobic. The moment we got out of the vehicle we were embraced by a heatwave and believe me it is no fun. Even though its by the beach the bungalow is surrounded by sand dunes and trees and thus prevents the wind from blowing through it. And to add to it the evenings were still and hot as there was absolutely no wind. Guess if you come to the dryzone you should not be complaining about its dryness. And after a shower you learn to accept the heat and the constant dribble of sweat trickling down your spine and under arms and the charm of the place grows on you. Being in the society bungalow is the next best thing to being inside the park. There are many places where you can stay around Yala but the park authorities give special privileges to those who stay in this location and you are considered as kindred spirits by the staff of the park. Of course the park was packed because of it being a long weekend and we consider ourselves lucky to have seen so many leopard sightings as well a bear.

The final evening we decided to go to the Bundala sanctuary instead of the Yala national park. It was a wise choice. Bundala is a park which lives in the shadow of Yala and has not been discovered as yet. It has no leopard or bear and therefore is not in the radar of most wildlife enthusiasts. But it is one of the most scenic parks one can be in and is a paradise for bird watchers.

At four in the evening we were the only party in the park and it was wonderful to have an entire park to yourself. Especially after experiencing the traffic in Yala. Bundala also has some beautiful sand dunes which we drove through though sadly we did not see any elephants.

Well despite the heat everyone had a good time and KC who planned the meals did a brilliant job. We had the most delicious meals which were nice and spicey. Sonething you would not be able to enjoy at a hotel. The most amazing thing was after all this the total cost came to roughly a thousand bucks per person per day. Life is good.