In just 52 hours i'll be jetting off on what will hopefully be my best foreign trip yet. I'm going to be backpacking around India and Nepal with my old college mate Joe parkes for 2 months, yes 2 months. This isn't going to be one of those namby-pamby hire a driver and guide to take you everywhere, show you everything and pick the peppercorns out of your curry for you trips that seem to be so popular these days.
Basically we have absolutely nothing booked and once we arrive we'll just go where we fancy, when we fancy. Of course, we have a rough idea of the sites we want to visit, in order to see certain specialties of the region. Hopefuly we'll manage to make it to a few of these legendary places:
Thak Khola/ Jomsom trek in Nepal, for rare pheasants, Ibisbill, rosefinches and other high altitude stuff, hopefully getting as far as the Thorung La pass at 5000+metres (weather depending)
Chitwan NP in Nepal, for tigers, indian rhino, sloth bear and jungle birds
Corbett NP and Nainital, Northern India, if we fail to score in Chitwan
Harike wetlands in North-western India
Bikaner, and other desert sites in North-western India, for camel rides and desert rares
Sasan Gir NP, south Gujuarat for Asiatic lion
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, more desert rares (including Grey hypocolious) and Asiatic Wild Ass/Onager
Goa, for Western Ghats Endemics and trance mash-ups on the beach
And if we have time at the end, maybe a brief visit to Keoladeo Ghana NP, better known as Bharatpur. Sadly bone dry once again this year, but may be worth a visit if we haven't managed to catch up with some dry country birds like nightjars, Sociable Plover and Tickell's Thrush.
Actually, reading back through that it looks like i've got it planned out pretty well, though, as a wise man once said "the devil fools with the best laid plans", so we'll probably get stranded in Chitwan by freak flooding for the whole trip, still, i can think of worse palces to spend 2 months (Portland being just one example).
Apparently India has a quite impressive array of Internet Cafes so ishould be able to provide plenty ofupdates along the way, if you don't hear from me for a few weeks, then assume i've copped it David Hunt stylee.