Beware of Elephants Crossing

Hi everybody!

I have been spending the last couple of days in Varkala, on a very nice beach in South-India. I plan to stay here for a couple days more and then move on to Kanya-kumari – the end of the Indian sub-continent (the shpitz).

Prior to Varkala I was in Cochin. It is a very nice place, but the weather was a bit unbearable. I went to the Fort Cochin synagogue on Friday night and it was a sad scene:
only 4 local Jews were there. Apparently there are now 14 (fourteen) Jews left in Cochin. All the others immigrated to Israel.
Thank God there were 30 more Israeli travelers so we had a Minyan and could pray.

Me, and two Israeli friends, Ziv and Oren, went from Cochin to a 3 days safari tour near Munnar, east of Cochin. It was an amazing experience.
We visited a rain forest, then we saw vast tea plantations, and so many other things. The state of Kerala is so different from others I have visited.
I think I went a little bit overboard, because I used up 9 rolls of camera film.

Attached are three pictures:

The first is of me and Oren in a small hut in some distant village in the state of Kerala. The family is making brown sugar out of sugar canes.

The second is of me in the jeep we rented when we visited the Chennar wild life sanctuary. We had a very experienced guide with us, called Benny. He was fair
enough to warn us that there is no guarantee on seeing any wild animals, because it is not a zoo – but the real animal habitat.
In spite of the warning, we saw so many types of animals: wild elephants, deers, wild boars and many kinds of birds. Benny would just tell the jeep driver to stop, and would stretch his hand out the window, point and say:
"See this branch, a small elephant just passed here a couple of minutes ago, we will wait here" – or
"See this elephant dung, see how fresh it is? We will wait here, because the entire family must have cross here ten minutes ago to take a sip of water from the river".
So we just waited each time, and BAM! Elephants! Wild elephants, the kind you should be scared of.

The third is just a picture of two monkeys.

Love you all and miss you much,
Shahar.

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