Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bharatpur - Keoladeo Ghana National Park

Our host fed us breakfast, packed us a lunch, and loaned us his binoculars before we walked to Keoladeo Ghana National Park (Bird Sanctuary) and rented a pair of very funky bikes. We ended up turning around after a bit and exchanging one of the bikes that was just too funky for another that seemed better but we'd previously rejected for not having a lock. Mary asked to have the seat adjusted on her bike, but the guys refused. When Josh asked, they agreed. We were hardly into the park when Josh pulled over and threw up. He said he felt fine after, so we continued on and enjoyed the birds through the binoculars, and wished we had a superzoom lens for the camera. A little later we had a picnic lunch, except Josh didn't feel like eating.

After we got back to the hotel, Josh proceeded to spend the afternoon and much of the next day throwing up, having diarrhea, and sleeping. Mary took the opportunity to sleep a lot too, figuring she'd be getting this any time. She also took some time to finish reading “Dracula.”

Post trip note: Bharatpur would top the list of “places we should have skipped.” We don’t know if Josh got sick from something here, or somewhere previously. We do know that Keoladeo Ghana National Park wasn’t worth the stop, let alone a stop the may have made Josh so sick for 3 days. We didn’t understand how Lonely Planet could speak so highly of it, yet seemingly fail to mention that it was evidently seasonal. Well, we finally got our answer in June when Mary’s parents met us in Europe with their May 22nd edition of "The Economist" in tow. There was a special report on water, and in the second paragraph of To the last drop: How to avoid water wars, Bharatpur is mentioned specifically: "One example is the competition for water in Bharatpur, a district of the Indian state of Rajasthan, which has led local farmers to cut off water supplies to the Keoladeo national park. This was, until a few years ago, a wonderful wetland, teeming with waders and wildfowl. Thousands of rare birds would winter there, endangered Siberian cranes among them. Now it is a cattle pasture." It's not the driest cattle pasture you've ever seen, but it certainly didn't seemed like the wetland we were expecting. Apparently with reason.

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