WOW where do I begin?
Well after the Taj Mahal I travelled to Bharatpur. Bharatpur is famous for its bird and wildlife sanctuary. The Monsoons have not come to this part of India for three years and so neither have the birds, and consequently it has been taken off the World Heritage listings. The park was still wonderful and very peaceful. The journey there was by local bus which was fun.
From there my friends and I travelled to a very rural and remote village in Rajasthan where we stayed in a fort. How cool is that?! We walked about the village in the afternoon, meet some of the families and saw the work they are doing there - many small trades that have been practiced for centuries, such as carpet weaving, bangle making, gem production, carpentry, and others. Also, all those redoing their kitchen's with marble or granite counter tops....well the stone mostly likely comes from Rajasthan India, and I have met the people who do the back-breaking work and seen the tones that rely on it, so keep renovating!
At the fort (name of fort will be added later) we dressed up in Rajasthani traditional clothing and had a dance party. I was unfortunately too ill to partake but I did dress up even if I didn't dance. (I have not be near as ill as some so no one needs worry).
Then we were off to Jaipur. WOW! Loved it! The Amber fort was amazing, the Palace of Winds was cool. The City Palace was alright but not amazing. The shopping.... oh the shopping! We went to a government sponsored emporium for cottage industries in Rajasthan and I bought.....wait for it....
Topaz earrings, a navy blue sari with bronze beading (most beautiful sari ever!), a black silk duvet cover with pillow cases, and a very beautiful birthday present for a very special niece who is turning 8! Yes all these gifts were for myself, well expect Theo's, you will all just have to come to India to get yours! no, no I joke, but seriously, India is a must!
Shopping in another bazaar I was paid the highest complement. I walked into a dress shop with my friend Phillipa as she wanted wanted to get an India suit like mine. I had previously been suit shopping of cousre and I had asked our friend Puja tones of questioned about material and price. So we are in the store and I am advising Philly on the cotten top she has selected and the shop keeper asked me where I was from. I told him Canada. He then stated (did not asked) that I lived in India, "but you live in India." I told him no, I do not. His reply: "but you come every year to visit." Again I had to tell him no, this was my first time. He was shocked. I was thrilled!! I AM thrilled! I may not be able to blend in with the locals, but passing for a knowledgeable expat is as good as it gets folks! I am still walking on air from that.
I CAN live anywhere. India and I are two peas in a pod!
Today I arrived in Ranthambore. Ranthambore was the home of Maharaja kings up until about 40 years ago and is now a national park. It is a Tiger park! The park is about 4000 kilometers in size and has about 30 tigers. The park drivers are given lottery drawn routes that they must stick too. Our route was said to be home to four tigers. Puja has been coming here for two years, she has been to the park countless times on tours and she has seen a tiger only once. None of us had our hopes up. Tigers were so low in my expectations that I did not bother to change my memory card in my camera.
How many tigers did we see you ask? Well that is an interesting questions because we saw FOUR!!!!!!!!!!
That's right folks! Four Tigers!
First we saw just one. A previous jeep had seen one cross the road so we lay in wait, then after some time we heard the warning call of the monkeys, we moved closer to their call and waited, and then from behind the dry bushes we saw her. She came slowly and I was sure she would turn around and walk away from us. Did she? No. She took her time but she decided she wanted to cross the road again and we just happened to be in her path so she crossed right in front of our jeep. How cool is that! We were running out of time in the park so we could not stay too long and stare at this magnificent animal. After leaving here our driver put the peddle to the metal and headed for the exit. And what happened about 3km from the exit? we came across another jeep which was stopped on the road. On the right hand side of the road we saw three tigers hanging out. One got right up and left. The one closest to the road walked over to her girlfriend and there they stayed for a good while rolling around and looking cute as we clicked our camera and I cursed myself for not having more space on my memory card. Some pictures from Malaysia were deleted, but that is okay, Malaysia was not so impressive.
I have so many photos to show you all. Lions, Tigers, and Bears! oh my! Well actually it will be more like villagers, tigers, and forts! oh my!
I am sorry to say I can't upload them today. I will try to as soon as I can.
Right now I must run off and join the tiger celebration party. Tiger face paint and wine is involved so I delay.
Still absolutely in love with India.
Still having an amazing time.
Still laughing into the night.
Still "healthy" for Indian standers.
Still adjusting to the dry heat (it gets so cold with no sun!).
Love to all.