The phone beebed as Sumudu reached over and said he’s customary ‘Kiyanna!’ (translated loosely as What’s up). Looking back at us with a terse ‘Allagane’ we sped up as he drove through the dusty tracks to where a leopard had been sighted taking a snooze in a tree. A breathless ride later we came to a hurried halt in front off not a snoozing leopard, but a traffic jam in the jungle.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Yala from the bottom of my heart, but sometimes the crowds can get on my nerves. The engines revving, the fumes and the loudness of the pissed off drivers all can be a bit much. I don’t really care if the leopard in question is doing a tango, dressed in a pink mini-skirt on a Palu tree, I simply have no patience for this kind of thing.
We stayed in line for what seemed an eternity, Sumudu trying to jostle a look see at a leopard that remained obstinately blocked by a bush in front of us. I made the best of a bad time by settling down for a small nap. Which considering the fact I had woken up at 4am was much welcomed.
Finally getting to the head, or rather the middle, of the line we could see the leopard, through a haze of intervening branches, rather firmly ensconced on a branch showing no sign of getting up. Rather unexpectedly however it suddenly raised its head, resulting in a shudder of excitement through the audience and a crescendo of camera clicks. It nonchalantly licked itself a bit, gave us a stern glare turned around and went straight back to sleep.
Yawn, lick, stare
That was of course, our sign to move on and leave the sleeping, celebrity leopard to its admirers, while we searched on for a more peaceful encounter.