Buffet brownie bonanza
Please someone remind me what I was doing getting up at 4.30am whilst on holiday? Married to a birder, I'm used to early starts but this really takes the biscuit. And...and the darn hotel didn't even make good with the biscuits and cup of tea they'd promised! That is my excuse for spending most of the morning's drive to Corbett asleep or at least, what passes for sleep on India roads.
Whilst I was out for the count, we drove past a particularly bad and very recent crash. CB turned to Mark and said "very good crash", which we hoped he didn't actually mean!
What with the camels trying to take all the fashion limelight, the goats have upped the ante and now have their own line of designer t-shirts. I have seen a particularly fetching tight red and black number on a goat stood on a bucket, very reminiscent of Jean Paul Gaultier.
We got to our next hotel, the aptly named Tiger Camp, just in time for a late breakfast. They made Mark a very happy bunny before he'd even seen any birds, as breakfast included a big tray of chocolate brownies. His only dilemma was how many could he make off with, without making a scene. I was just chuffed I'd got a breakfast at all.
Our original plan was to book an elephant safari whilst we here but fitting one in around our other safaris looked to be just too tricky. The advert for 'elephant washing' was very tempting but sadly as it was only on Tuesdays, so they'd have to go dirty til then.
I felt in need of some 'me time' so took the decision to have a lazy day rather than accompany Mark on his quest for the fabled Ibisbill. I did go and meet Ganesh however - our expert bird guide who would be with us in Corbett and the Himalayan foothills. They always seem so perturbed when I say I'm having a day off though - no I'm not ill, yes I'm okay and no I still don't want to come.
On my return to our room, I spotted another fabled thing - a tray of 'tea & coffee making facilities.' Fans of Bill Bailey will understand my pleasure and awe at this! The experience was made even better when I read the name of the kettle - The Maharaja White Line. Dare I sully this kettle fit for a king and have a cup of tea? The decision was too much so I decided to try the shower out first which I had high hopes for. Hopes were slightly dashed as although it had both pressure and multiple jets, they all pointed at right angles. I found I could stand directly underneath and remain perfectly dry so I made free with the jug and bucket they had supplied, I'm guessing, for just such an eventuality.
As well as being cooler here, the humidity was also markedly less which did mean my hair was fairly presentable - not that I particularly cared anymore but I'm never one to look a gift-horse in the mouth.
Mark returned Ibisbill-less a few hours later so we grabbed a late lunch from the rather lovely outdoor dining room. The macaques were also keen to grab some lunch and hence it took a fair number of stones, hefted by the waiters, to change their minds - I'm not a huge fan of the ugly thieving brutes at the best of times, but when they're after my curry, they get no sympathy from me.
Post-lunch, it turned out I perhaps should have left my lunch to the monkeys, as the dreaded 'Delhi belly' hit me. We made a quick visit to the 'corner shop' to stock up on bottled water (and also purchased a packet of interesting chatpata masala crisps) while I debated on whether to skip dinner or not.
Those of you who know me well, will know there was only ever going to be one answer to that particular question. To make the decision even easier, the restaurant served up a veritable curry feast including some chocolate pudding to keep Mark happy - looked suspiciously like the brownies from breakfast covered in sauce but he wasn't complaining. I wasn't going to over do it though and had a fairly sensible plateful in the hope that it might slip the notice of the belly gods. Unfortunately, it definitely failed to slip the notice of the maitre d' who deemed I did not like the food. I swear he checked on me at every meal from then on and plied me with food. He wasn't happy unless I presented him with a clean plate before I left - it was like having my mother there!
One last titbit - following his mountain of brownies, husband had a beer. It said it was 'super strong' which was worrying, particularly when they hadn't bothered to work out the exact percentage. The label stated it was 'at least 5% but not more than 8%'. Just fills you with confidence, doesn't it?