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04/26/2011

Assamese break!

2 years ago I went for work to Guwahati, in Assam. I had strictly no idea where Assam was but since there was work there, why not go?

I realised fast enough that I was far, far away from Mumbai. No internet (except in private houses) even with the datacard, constant electricity cut-offs. An incredible number of insects. I was there for work remember, so all this was quite unexpected!!

Then I saw on a map where I was and I thought that it was the first time and the last time...

Inde,Assam,Kaziranga,parc naturel,rhinocéros,nature

Till the moment my distributor said 2 magic words. Rhinoceros and Brahmaputra. Done, one day I'll go back to Assam...

 

It took me two years but I did it!!

No need to say, Assam is a difficult place to reach but maybe it is part of what makes it so unique. Probably the most beautiful place I have seen in India!

About 5 hours by plane to reach Guwahati then 6 hours by car to get to the natural park of Kaziranga.

 

This is the place with the most number of uni-corn rhinoceros in the world. And Indians did a fantastic job: there were only a dozen rhinos left 50 years ago and now there are more than 2,000!!

And they are so confident they won't be disturbed that they don't mind the elephants (carrying the tourists), nor domesticated cows - a good companion to chew grasse...

2,000 is even a greater number when you know that gestation lasts 15 months for a rhino and that they reproduce only once in 8 years (they have to wait for the baby to be grown-up and independant before starting again!).

 

It is SO peaceful there. Just needed to tell one (Indian) family jabbering on an elephant to please be silent. They got so surprised!! Maybe no one told them that on a wildlife safari it is better to remain quiet?? Minor incident anyway... 

 

Photos speak for themselves...

 

 

Kaziranga, Assam - April 2011

 

03/01/2011

India outside India - Part 2

And then, Nepal!! 

The first day, in Kathmandu, under heavy rain, I felt like in India.

And then, I realised people were quite different. The Indian doctor accompanying it understood different as “backward” (seriously!). But I meant it like more “relaxed”, more comfortable with tourists. Well that is just how I felt after 4 days! 

Anyways, the reserve we visited, the Chitwan, is really different from any reserve I visited in India.

“At the foot of the Himalayas, Chitwan is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the 'Terai' region, which formerly extended over the foothills of India and Nepal. It has a particularly rich flora and fauna. One of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros lives in the park, which is also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger.” (dixit Unesco) 

The only “vehicles” you meet there are elephants… A royal peace!

Well, the vegetation prevents you from spotting tigers but what a peace… 

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02/27/2011

India outside India - Part 1

Not many posts this month: I was travelling!!

Two countries, the antipodes of each other but with a common points: the population (of the Indian subcontinent). Yes, you know me by now… 

So first, Dubai, with its Indian workers:

1.9 millions people in 2011 and 30% of Indians (about 570,000 Indians) and 60% of people from the subcontinent (including Bangladeshis and Pakistanis). In 2008, “for India, financial transfers of the migrating workers represented 45 billions dollars, 3.7% of its GDP (according to the United Nations”.

And with its Indian tourists also : more than 35% of the 357,000 Indian visitors (estimated) in the UAE in 2005 have stayed in 4 or 5 star hotels and 40% would be business travellers. This figure (357,000 Indian visitors) excludes Indians working in the UAE and just visiting India for holidays or going to the UAE to look for a job.

I felt really weird during the last part of our dune safari. We were having dinner in the desert when a belly dancer came in. She was Russian (Russian in India generally means, however sad it is, prostitutes). Among the 200 Indians, a good part of it just rushed to the stage (literally running) to stare at her and throw notes like if she was a bar dancer. And drunk on top of it. I know the image of the French tourist is pretty bad but the beat us flat!! 

Well, there is one guy who really made me laugh: 

Indien à Dubai.JPG

He absolutely wanted to be photographed in front of my car, holding a lollypop. How weird???!!

Sources : http://www.lesechos.fr/economie-politique/presse-etrangere/020244987260-dubai-le-cauchemar-des-travailleurs-indiens.htm ; http://www.hindustantimes.com/Dubai-targets-Indian-leisure-tourists/Article1-88362.aspx ; http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5444.htm ; http://www.dsc.gov.ae/Publication/Dubai_Population_09_eng...