Saturday at the Zoo with Rohit
After finishing every other conceivable activity in
To really test my resolve, I chose 11am, one of the hottest points in the day, for the expedition. When we arrived, I found out that we were allowed to drive into the zoo – an interesting development. I was so intrigued by the idea of driving around the zoo in a private car that I paid the 200 rupees to bring the car in (at $5, it was 20 times the entrance fee for walking around the zoo) and it was well worth it. We wouldn’t have made it past the opening monkeys without a car.
The Hyderabad zoo, described by Lonely Planet as ‘less depressing than other Asian zoos’ wasn’t really as bad as I expected. Rohit and I were both intrigued by how little caging separated the animals from the spectators. First off, the monkeys weren’t in cages, they were in areas surrounded by ‘moats,’ which I suppose were meant to keep the monkeys in. Now, I’m not an expert, but the last time I read a children’s book, monkeys don’t tend to walk around the jungle, they climb around the trees instead. And although there was a moat around the monkey areas, there were tall trees hanging overhead, and there were definitely missing monkeys. I wonder how often the people in the tent slums next to the zoo are visited by exotic animals….
The most exciting part of the zoo were the large predatory animals that weren’t in cages. There was a white tiger just walking around, only separated from the audience by a 4 foot deep moat that he was swimming around in (admittedly, the 4 foot deep moat was about 8 feet below where we were standing, but it was also only about 10 feet wide – easily jump-able by a motivated tiger). No cage, no wall, just the moat. He was only 10 feet from us, and if we had been in the jungle, I would have given myself up for dead, but he just stood there, watching us, pacing, and eventually climbing down into the moat to cool off.
The bears were even more scary, because they were visibly aggrivated. There was one bear that was pacing and growling as people stood even closer, not more than 8 feet across the moat. Once again, I’m not an expert, but it doesn’t seem like a long shot that a 6 foot tall angry bear could jump across an 8 foot wide moat if he was really motivated. So, beware if purchasing any discount housing in the zoo area of
We also went on a ‘lion safari’ which definitely needs to be in quotes. I wasn’t expecting anything, especially with the sign next to where they sell the tickets, warning patrons in English, Hindi, and Telugu that ‘Wildlife Sightings Are Not Guaranteed in the Safari.’ We waited for half an hour for a bus with barred windows to come and take us into the “safari.” We had to pass through two levels of gates, a la
Sunday – Golconda Fort (Finally) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golconda_Fort
After many failed attempts, I finally made my way to Golconda Fort on Sunday with Shyam. We went later in the day to avoid the heat (it was only about 103 when we went around 4:30) and the lighting was very nice. The fort is pretty much the only major landmark in