No tigers – world’s best masala chai instead

No tigers – world’s best masala chai instead

Next stop was Ranthambore National Park which is the best place for spotting Bengal tigers. It was once the private hunting ground for the kings of Jaipur but since 1957 has been a safe place for them to thrive. We stayed in a very cool fort hotel with paintings and photos of the royal family, complete with beautiful courtyards and little nooks for reading or Facebooking. It made me feel like I was in the true Rajasthan. In the evening we sat around an open fire and had gin and tonics. The one thing that bothered me that there was a tiger skin and taxidermied growling tiger heads on the walls of the restaurant. I was glad to hear that hunting has been banned in India since 1972 when they realized that no, tigers are not in infinite supply. There are currently about 2,500 tigers in India today thanks to a conservation effort called Project Tiger. Did you know their numbers are actually increasing? Some good news for once. Jes and I dressed the part for our safari with earthy toned clothes and aviator sunglesses. We looked very cool. Mariel the American I think wore camouflage pants, or at least was threatening to wear her camo pants. We were picked up by a huge open jeep type vehicle. Our tour guide had bad red teeth due to chewing betel nut, a stimulant that is similar in effect to coffee. It’s hard not to stare at those stained red teeth sometimes. When we were driving to the park, we passed a pimped out tractor blasting music and driving really fast. Everyone was startled by this, but...
Jaipur the “pink city” in which Western things happened

Jaipur the “pink city” in which Western things happened

Okay so #1. Jaipur isn’t really pink. It’s called the the Pink City because in 1876, the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria visited India on a tour. Since pink denotes the colour of hospitality, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the whole city pink to welcome the guests. #2. I didn’t really see much of the city. Jes and I needed a break from the touristy things so instead we did Western things. (I love how “Western” means “stuff white people like” in India, but from a West Coast perspective, it means “cowboy”). First, of course, though, was the Fort. There are many forts in India. Jes got sick of the forts. But this one at least had elephants. I think they have a pretty boring life though because they just walk up and down this steep road from the bottom of the hill to the courtyard. They work half a day. I hope they are treated okay.  The coolest part of the fort was the hall of mirrors, apparently created in honour of womens’ vanity? Is what I figured from what the guide said. Who then took my photo. We were told not to pay attention to the snake charmers. OMG I thought, there are snake charmers? But they are bad people who take the poison from the snakes and are mean to them? So of course we saw a snake charmer and I tried so hard not to look but I was so fascinated. I snuck a peek out of the corner of my eye and the snake was so SHINY. The next day we went shopping at...