Saturday, December 26, 2009

spaced out world

well, it finally happened.
in spite of the denials by the Indian arm, worldspace will shut down the india operations on 31 december.

as a radio enthusiast - from school days, as a short wave listener, and one of the early subscribers of the then free service, it is sad to hear of a radio station folding up..

the initial doubts on the sustainability of this service were somewhat addressed when worldspace went paid. at least there was a revenue stream.
when i saw that they were also promoting events, felt that this could be a route to exclusive content, that could be monetized.

not sure what went wrong. maybe there were too many channels started too quickly.
maybe the costs of sourcing music was high.
maybe the subscriber base was not growing. it was interesting to note that the tie up with airtel got them more subscribers recently than direct subscriptions.

i hope that someone else would be able to revive this wonderful service and enhance the USPs.

this adds to my list of new things to do in the new year.
maybe internet radio.

do you know of any good internet radio guides?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Night trek in the forest

this may also be called, thekkady, part 2!

i had the opportunity to take a night trek in the thekkady forest. it was a 3 hour trek in the jungle at night, with escorts.

with two escorts, one as the guide and the other with a rifle, it felt quite secure.
till we were deeper into the forest and almost cut off from the road and human sounds.

 
video

you can hear our footsteps also, if you listen closely.

we were asked to sign some declarations that we are doing this with full awareness of the dangers of the jungle and that we are solely responsible for anything that might happen to us etc etc etc - that increased the excitement.
While we were probably never too far from the roads, but the fact that the guards did not carry any radios made me feel a little insecure.
when asked,the guide said that they can always use the cell phone!
that was reassuring that were were not really out in the wilderness, but a region with cell tower visibility!

anyway, we saw mouse deer, barking deer, sambar deer, a fruit bat that was comfortable inside a hollow, a porcupine in a hurry etc.

the overall experience was very good, as every member of the trekking party - that was limited to 5 -  also had very powerful torches, with a warning that we shoudl be very careful and watch out for snakes etc.

the kerala tourism department with the foirest departmetn has set up many eco-tourism initiatives.
if you are interested in the activities in and around thekkady, you can visit their site.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thekkady



Just back from a three day visit to thekkady, this post is mostly about the eco-tourism in kerala.
it was good to see that this sector, even within the government department [of forests], is getting organized.

we had taken a train to madurai and then traveled by road to thekkady. we had taken the day leisurely in madurai and by the time we got near thekkady, it was sunset time - a glimpse below..

this time, i wanted to capture most of the visit in a video, so do not have many pictures to share here,
this is a period after the monsoons, so the landscape was lush and green - with some traces of rain in places.
good period for trekking.
among the places we visited were - the chellarkoil, with views of tamilnadu and kerala and a steep waterfall. while on the cliff, one can see the vertical drop and the flat land below.
ramakalmedu, another spot with windmills, a huge statue of a couple as well as view points.

a day long safari-trek-boating in Gavi kept us busy.
a couple of waterfalls, with one at Kullar,  where one could go near the water and the thick forests provided good relief from the reasonably hot sun.

or the noisy rush of water along the road:


With all these lovely places, it was a pity that we could not go for the boat rides on periyar lake that have been stopped after the recent tragedy. we could only see the anchored boats.


but one very interesting experience, was a night trek along with the 'jungle patrol' - three hours long, in the jungle gave an opportunity to see more wildlife than during the treks and the jeep safari.
more on that the next time..