It’s been a while since I’d joined a group on a photo-shoot, so in January when some friends were out exploring the ‘wilderness’ in Kuwait I tagged along. Apparently there are a lot of bird species in places like Wafra and Abdali and several other places like the nature reserve. The group I was with, Q8Clicks, has a bunch of avid birders and they manage to get some great shots of birds on most outings.
Here’s some from my trip with them.
One word of advise though, if you’re gonna spend time in the desert, be sure to clean up after yourself. It’s disgusting to see the amount of garbage left behind by campers and visitors.
One of the things I had my heart set on doing was going for a nature walk or a trek in the Munnar hills. Eravikulam was one of my options to do this. Other places in Munnar which offer good trekking trails are Anaimudi and Top Station.
One of the things I noticed this time around was a large number of ‘Spice Gardens’ on the way to Munnar and also on the way to Thekkady. These privately owned properties host a variety of plants and spices and they offer a guided tour within the property.
We stopped at a place called Deepa Spice World and bought tickets for a guided tour in Malayalam. You can choose between Malayalam, Hindi and English. Our guide took us through the narrow garden path where she pointed out the spices and explained how each one was harvested and which part of the plant was used to make the spices that we’re familiar with. The plants are all marked with signboards that display both the English name and the scientific /botanical name.
I’d never seen a cardamom tree and many other spices in their natural state before so it was a good learning experience.
One interesting aspect was they also collected and preserved nests of birds and insects. One such display was this huge hornets nest that was the size of a child.
At the end of the tour there’s a shop where all the locally grown spices are available in different sized packages. I bought some nutmeg, vanilla pods, star anise and raw bitter chocolate to use for desserts. The locally made chocolate was really good and I recommend you give it a try. I broke open one of the vanilla pods and took a whiff of the beans inside and I can tell you that the essence you get in bottles can’t hold a candle to this stuff.