Chef from Spice Village a holistic retreat in Southern India, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
A few months ago I received an email from Lt. Marcus D’Silva who is serving our country in Kuwait. He had found a post I had made on my blog in February of 2010 about India and tiger tracking. He asked if I could help him have a similar adventure. Of course I immediately put him in touch with Toby Sinclair, and Suhail Gupta of India Safaris( Now & Beyon India- a Virtuoso company) and Salim Ali our illustrious guide at Ranthambore State Park. I told Toby and Suhail to please do everything they could to make Lt. D’Silva’s experience the best possible. As it turned out, Salim was on assignment with National Geographic, so they found Salim’s younger brother to do the guiding. Salim knows all the best sighting places. After lots of back and forth making arrangements, the trip was finally set. I was nervous because Tiger sightings are really rare, so I held my breath.
This is a portion of the thank you I received from Lt. D’Silva this week:
Catherine, Toby, Suhail, Farooq, Daljeet,
Captain Pritchard and I would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of you for organizing the game drives in Ranthambhore for the two of us. 6 drives and 5 tiger sightings up close and personal. I found myself a little sick the morning we bumped into each other Toby but we drove on with the mission (as we say in the army) and had two sightings that day. Farooq your guidance was truly exceptional. Suhail your services were most appreciated and Daljeet was extremely helpful in coordinating everything. Catherine none of this would have been possible if not for your blog and your initial assistance.
Princes and presidents could not have paid any amount to assure an experience akin to what we experienced on our trip. It was a memorable experience and one of the highlights of our journey through India.
This letter is the ultimate compliment and what we consultants are all about: making a memorable sometimes life changing experience for my client. Re posts of the blog entries and pictures are below.
We departed Cochin and I so sadly separated from my traveling buddies, Meg North, Martha Gaughen, Vicki Upchurch, Yeardley Williams, and Julie Lemish. I had an even better traveling buddy arriving, my husband, Gerry. Our first stop was to the Backwaters of Kerala on a houseboat! It was a delightful experience! The whole houseboat was just for us. We had a crew of 3 men, Shadib, Jacob( a wonderful cook) and Shadeesh. They welcomed us with Jasmine leis and a delicious fruit drink. We just took off our shoes and relaxed. I ordered wine, and they had a great red wine brand, Grover. We stopped along our way at a very old vilage, Champakluam. We visited an amazing Basilica, St. Mary’s and a Mass was going on. Again it was the most amazing experience. All the ladies were on one side in their colorful Saris and the men were on the other. A very moving service. They were all singing when we got there so I’m enclosing a video. The church was built in the 5th century by the Portugese. We then reboarded our houseboat and were served a most delicious dinner of vegetables, fish fillets, fresh, pineapple, Nan, and wine.
I am en route to India with good friends and am thrilled! We will be tiger tracking from January 21 returning February 15 and visiting five star properties throughout India. Please follow along with me – I will update you daily with photos and videos of this wonderful adventure!