Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Random Thoughts

Recently I had an occasion to visit the Wild Life Sanctuary at Muthanga, in Wynad district of Kerala. It is about 30 kms. from Sultan's Battery and we reached there by about 10:45 A.M. However, we were not allowed to enter as entry was not allowed after 10:30 A.M. till 3 P.M.So we had to go back and return at 2 P.M.

The formalities like buying tickets for entry, arranging transportation to the interior of the forest where only Jeeps can travel on the rough forest roads etc. took a lot more time than one would normally/reasonably expect. There was no official transportation but rows of private jeeps were parked outside and they took their turns on payment at the counter like prepaid taxi service.A lot of ad hocism was seen but none felt like complaining as there was no option. No facilities were availabe for the hundreds of waiting tourists; not even a few standard concrete benches to sit!!! Can't we manage all this better?

After all the hassles, we set our journey into the forest. It took about 45 minutes on the rough forest roads. We could not see any wild animals except a herd of four elephants including two baby elephants and one or two deers! Where were all the others?Well, after all, which wild beast will come out when jeep after jeep carrying 'yahoos' slowly roared along the forest road endlessly? I realised that I should not have been one of those 'Yahoos'!

We also noticed a curious board at the entrance of the sanctuary ,showing the entrance fee for various categories of people and vehicles etc. The rates of fee was Rs. .20/- for adults, Rs. 10/-for children, Rs.10/- for students etc. But for foreigners the fee was shown as Rs. 100/-!!! For light vehicles it was Rs.50/- and for heavy vehicles Rs.150/-.For camera it was Rs.25/- and for video camera Rs.150/- Probably the authorities thought it fit to categorise foreigners along with objects like camera, vehicles etc or vice versa!! Of course, objects like vehicles will not complain and foreigners do not appear to have any option. We too have no option in similar situations abroad.
Please click on the photo to zoom it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dubai Tennis Again

It was with great expectation that I made a brief visit to Dubai this year as I wanted to see Roger Federer and other top players in action Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships once more. But as ill luck would have it, Federer withdrew at the last moment with a lung infection and Nadal did not even enter the draw. Other top players like Andy Roddick, Llewton Hewitt, Soderling, Verdasco etc. did not participate. Nicholai Davydenko, Andy Murray, Tsonga etc., did not survive early rounds. To cap it, the final between Djokovic and Youshney on the 27th February was washed away by rain when Djokovic was leading by a set. The Championship was finally won by Djokovic in three sets the next afternoon. What an uninspiring end to a usually outstanding Tour event!!