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Special Features:
Kirsten writes about exploring the Middle East

Kirsten's dispatch about her Indian adventure

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Current Status:
Back home in Seattle as of 1 August 2001

London Bombay Cebu

Adventures in India
by Kirsten Laurel

Kirsten's Journal #2: India
June 2001
When we first got into India it was very strange to see cows everywhere wandering the streets, and all the women were colorfully dressed.

In India, we went to the jungle. We went to Ranthambore and Corbet national parks. In Ranthambore it got up to 116 degrees. There were tiger cubs in Ranthambore but we didn’t see them. But we did see Peacocks and lots of beautiful birds in both of the parks. In all we saw tigers very close and one by elephant back. We got about four yards away from a tiger, but I wasn’t afraid because tigers won’t attack like lions do. I rode elephants three times. Sometimes I would even be the first to spot a herd of wild elephants. We even saw a rare leopard lounging on a branch.

My favorite kind of bird in India is the Rose Ringed Parakeet and the Paradise Flycatcher. The Paradise Flycatcher has tail feathers three times the size of its body! The Rose Ringed Parakeet is not like the parakeets at pet shops. They are more the size of parrots, and have lots of color even on their beaks. In the jungles and the foothills of the Himalayas we saw big green parakeets everywhere.

Once we rode an elephant that had been ridden all the way around India! Her name was Tara. And we got to swim with her! At a different area we rode a different elephant to a different river and scrubbed it with stones. That’s how you are supposed to wash them, and they really like it! It was a little scary to be driving along a jungle track and suddenly see suck huge elephants pop out of nowhere. The elephants with the tusks are the scariest because they could really do some damage with those tusks.

In the Thar Desert, we rode camels through a sandstorm. And saw monitor lizards and lots of deer. The people in the Thar Desert live in houses made out of mud and cow poop. On the houses are paintings and designs of animals like peacocks. And closer to the Himalayas, sloth bears live in the wild. In the Himalayas, we went trekking 30km both ways. After trekking we went to our campsite at a lake. We saw some yaks. They are like bulls with lots of hair. At the campsite we could find many good luck horseshoes. Also if you look hard enough you can find fossils of seashells and other sea things. Up there it was a lot colder than when we were in the jungles. Some mornings there was even frost on the ground.

Our guide's name was Christy Verghes. He really worked hard to help us and he brought along his dog Charlie. Christy loves Land Rovers so much he has eight of them. In the jungles we met Christy’s niece and nephew, Natasha and Vivek. Natasha is seven and Vivek is eight.

My favorite parts of the trip are trekking in the Himalayas, seeing all the wildlife in the jungles, and camping in the Thar Desert.

All those things are wonderful but not everything was perfect. The driving was terrible and there was too much pollution in the cities. Even though I was there for 3months and the driving is bad, I think I would like to go back someday!

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