India: Neyyar Dam

Another place I visited twice, just for the freaking lions. The first time around, we missed the lion safari. Yes, for a long-ass 2-hour trip from Trivandrum to Neyyar Dam, we made the long trek for the wild lions.

Neyyar Dam is obviously, a dam. The irrigation project set up there distributes water to the nearby villages for farming and agriculture. People also get naked and bathe in the waters. Hey, it’s a backyard bathroom with no utilities, why not? I also saw some bathing cattles and children. Oh, how clean the water must be…

Otherwise, Neyyar Dam was a beautiful scene. Serene and green, I felt comfortable and relaxed. Like I’ve mentioned previously, my natural element is water. As I stood on the dam and looked out to the giant lake, I was at peace. As I cruised on the boat ride and tried not to think too much about lurking crocodiles, I absorbed the immense picturesque scene before me: mountains, clouds, water, blue skies, and plant life. Oh so soothing…

Just like Shotgun Falls at Splish Splash

 

Looks like I just climbed Mt. Everest or something...

Neyyar Dam Runway

Top of the Dam

Spicy Masala Mango... I like the juicy sweet one better. I was on fire after this bag.

Love My Mangoes... just not spicy!

The second weekend trip to Neyyar Dam: Lion Safari, Crocodile Park, Deer Park, and Elephants!

Really, this was the Lion Safari Bus? I was envisioning the African savannah rides!

 

... with barred up windows?

 

Awkward...

Lazy Lions... Not the WILD Lion Safari I Imagined...

 

Cool ripples

 

Lazy Crocodiles

 

Look at this beautiful Lake Placid!

I got startled when I saw this... thought it was lurking crocodiles, but really, just logs

 

That's our boat ride.

A truck load of Bambis

Oh, Sunset...

And finally, the highlight of my trip in India. When you think of India, you think of the mighty giants known as elephants. Elephants are sacred creatures in Indian history and lore. One of their most prized gods in India is Ganesh, epitomized with the body of a human and the head of an elephant. I watched a television show about elephants in Ganesh and the essence of elephants. The story goes that the young boy of the gods was killed and decapitated. His goddess of a mother had the chance to bring him back to life and choose an animal’s head as a replacement. And Ganesh was reborn into a prized Majesty. Now all of India (or at least the Hinduists) worships Ganesh as the “Remover of Obstacles.” Even though elephants are prized animals in India, they are poached for their valuable ivory tusks. They are left to die in the wild for two measly tusks because people are money-grabbing bastards. On the same television special, I watched men find and clean after an unfortunate elephant. They enlisted the help of another elephant to pull the dead elephant out of the waters and burn away the carcass. Imagine how that elephant felt to tow his dead friend and see it burn to pieces… Sad indeed.

Well, I didn’t meet the god or worship his doings. I met the real, trudging thing at the Kottoor Elephant Rehabilitation Centre. Say hello to Dumbo…

Oh Hello

This one was whacking itself with leaves, probably to shoo away pesky bugs trying to get some elephant juice

It's waving Hello with its trunk!

I rode an elephant for 100 Rs!!! It felt weird feeling the elephant's bones move beneath you... I wonder how people fought and won battles atop elephants!?

Thanks to our rickshaw driver, he took us around to see the elephants. He was going to make some major dough off two foreigners, so he felt inclined to show us around the backdoor gates.

Oh, and did I mention how India tries to rip off foreigners? One look at me and I’m clearly not a brown girl. You look at my friend and he can pass off as an ‘Indian national.’ At all the parks and places I visited, the fees for foreigners were TWICE that of ‘Indian nationals.’ For me that was 50 Rs for motor boat ride at Neyyar, 200 Rs for elephant riding, 300 Rs for safari, doubled rickshaw fares, etc… amidst admissions fee at Veli Lake, Trivandrum Zoo, Napier Museum, Kovalem Beach Lighthouse, etc… It. Was. Ridiculous! The only foreign place I visited all my life was Asia, and there, I easily blended in with the crowd. I never found out if there was a foreigner price or a ‘Chinese national’ price, since I am Chinese and I got the right deal. But in India, I definitely felt cheated at times because of the language barrier and how I looked. It was not anything I could control. I simply had to be extra careful when I traveled about. Otherwise, these Indians were really looking to make some major profit off a lone Chinese girl. Luckily, my friend helped out and performed most of the transactions: asking for rickshaw rides, buying tickets, etc… Since he could pass off as Indian, he’d just buy two tickets for the reduced, ‘right’ price and then I’d pay him back my share. This way, I was less likely to be jipped.

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