Once in a while we head to Big Bazaar to do our monthly shopping. This time it was madness. I like to park my car as close the the Big Bazaar exit gate as possible so that its easier to load everything into the car. This weekend every single parking space was full to my surprise.
Entering the mall we saw why. The picture above is of fans trying to catch a glimpse of Salman Khan. Salman had come to promote his film production – Hero.
We also excitedly tried to catch a glimpse of the star. People we hanging out of very vantage point possible and anything move able be it the dusbin, chairs or ladders had been commandeered by fans.
This seems to be an odd picture to start my updates about our recent trip to Europe… But with such an exciting end to the journey I just can’t help myself…
It all started with our return flight with #Austrian airlines from Zagreb. We had a early morning flight which means you hardly get time to sleep the previous night. The morning was misty which is usually the case this time of the year as informed by Mathia who was driving us to the airport. Reaching the airport and after finishing security check we grabbed any vacant spots available in the waiting lounge. People kept piling inside a space which was smaller than many of our domestic airports. Soon I realized all the flights were getting delayed because of the fog which seemed nothing to us. New Delhi sees much worse foggy conditions between December and January and flights still take off albeit delayed. I wonder what foreigners traveling to India crib about when traveling during these two months. The fog was so bad apparently that the Austrian flight which was coming from Vienna couldn’t land. Rather than delaying the flight, Austrian thought better to cancel the flight all together throwing all our plans into turmoil. While all this was happening ( I mean flight cancellation) we were sitting nonchalantly unaware. Not our fault I tell you. The announcement system was so great that we didn’t here anything. Finally exiting the departure area and collecting our luggage’s again from the baggage belt we stood patiently in the line to see how we would fly out. ” There are no flights available out of Europe. We can offer you a connection on Aeroflot” says the lady at the counter in a business like fashion. With no other option in hand, we take what’s offeredagain going through the tedious process of check-in, the mandatory strip down at security check and waiting in the lounge.
Fortunately this time Aeroflot flies on-time. The lady at the Aeroflot counter seemed sympathetic of our ordeal since early morning and helped get us excellent seats.
The layover at Moscow was a tight one- 1hr15mins only… After landing we huffed and puffed our way to the new gates having just enough time to see the dazzle of the countless duty-free shops from outside.
The flight back was very comfortable. Aeroflot was a pleasant surprise. No frills but nice. Landing in Delhi we had another surprised waiting for us. Apparently the 1hr layover was not enough to get our bags transferred. So our trip officially ended a day later when our bags got delivered home.
Have you been ‘Leopard Spotting’ on your trip to Jodhpur ? Surprised, don’t be. On my recent visit to Jodhpur RIFF which by the way was awesome, I was whisked away by a close friend to Bagheera’s Camp. A comfortable three and a half hours drive from Jodhpur, passing the famous Bullet Baba’s Temple (look it up on Google if you don’t know about it); it’s a serene place in the rural heartland of Rajasthan.
We drove through semi-arid terrain and closer to the camp the panorama included unusual rock formations which are the Aravallis, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. If you are lucky enough to be driving down on a moonlit night, the entire scene is bathed in soft light reflecting off these granite mountains.
The campsite is spread over a vast area which includes two lakes, few villages and of course interesting wind eroded hills. I was promised leopard sighting when we went on our early morning safari. Being unlucky with games throughout my life I was pessimistic. We woke up before dawn, fitted our vehicle with a spot light and within twenty minutes reached a hill where there were supposedly leopard with cubs. We passed another vehicle coming from the opposite direction and its passengers, by the look on their faces had been just as unlucky as I was with all my previous game drives. Suddenly we stopped. My tracker standing with me at the back of the pick-up truck was pointing somewhere near the top of the hill. For the love of god I couldn’t figure out what he had got so excited about. Then after thirty-second of staring into black space, I saw a head move. There were not one but three leopards sitting on the rocky precipitate. These beautiful animals were gracious enough to sit in plain sight for nearly half an hour before getting bored with us and moving on. I unfortunately don’t have a telephoto wildlife lens, so my capture wasn’t world-class. On the rest of the drive we passed through villages and villagers going about their daily lives. The villagers are friendly, know your host, and welcome you into their homes. Saw the dam, which supplies water to most parts Western Rajasthan and at the lake spotted birds and crocodiles basking in the early morning sun.
I would be lying if I said that leopard spotting isn’t going to be the biggest draw for the camp. But the camp is so much more. The permanent structures on the camp site are the typical olden day’s hunter’s lodge. Right in front is the smaller of the two lakes, a protected breeding ground for birds as well as crocodiles. The tented camps (Shikari Tents- not pitched on my sudden whirlwind trip) are on the other side of this water body. Water is life and scares in this part of the world. The two lakes make sure that this region is an annual stop for migratory birds, the first flock of which I saw on my return back to Jodhpur. Don’t expect a swimming pool or a Jacuzzi, it’s not possible here. But expect complete relaxation, good food (vegetable are grown either on the campsite or nearby village farmland), wildlife spotting and great hospitality. I would suggest spending at least two nights here to enjoy the tranquility of the place.
So why not put a little adventure in your next trip to Jodhpur…
Website : http://bagheeracamp.com