The early start meant being bundled up in a blanket and needing to buy a wooly hat – it was COLD! The safari was in a canter, a type of bus with no roof and it was comfortable enough, being high up was nice and the big wheels meant the rocky terrain was a bit easier to get over. Unfortunately the most we saw was birds and deers.
After lunch and a brief break, we headed out for our last safari with fingers and toes crossed. A slow start with more birds and more deers got interesting when we saw some crocodiles and were told there had been a sighting a few hours ago and the tiger was expected to come back out for a walk. Along with several other vehicles we chose a spot and waited while our guide listened out for warning calls – animals warning each other that the tiger was around.
Suddenly we heard it, urgent high-pithed cries and hooves running on hard floor. We turned around to catch sight of deers running away, my heart raced and I grabbed Ethan as the driver made a quick turn to head towards the action. We joined the party a little late, there were already several jeeps positioned across a bank from a tiger sitting down minding its own business while dozens of cameras fixated on it, clicking away.
We managed to manoeuvre to a spot where we could see it, but after the action of the warning calls and deers running, to arrive at a spot overrun by tourists staring at this killing machine that had it’s back to us it was a bit of an anti-climax. Still, I’m over the moon that we actually saw a tiger in the wild and it was great for Ethan to have experienced it – especially since he was fast asleep until 10 mins before the chase.
Safari adventures over, it was time to say goodbye to the beautiful hotel room and head to Jaipur, a place I was excited about seeing. We had 3 days there and I couldn’t wait to see all the pink and the grand palaces and forts.
The nice thing about the car journeys was seeing how the people changed from area to area, especially their clothes. Heading to Rajasthan the colours of the saris were so vibrant, the kind of bright colours that make your heart smile. Now that I was feeling better, I was able to look out of the window more and watch the world go by.
In short, Jaipur was a disappointment, it was a crowded, polluted city with the pink buildings confined in a very small area – I’m grateful Ethan was too young for a hot air balloon ride over the city, I think it would have been a waste of money. There were a handful of places to visit, all of which could have been managed in a day but we spread out to avoid getting bored.
Ethan found the first palace hard, I can understand why, we had to walk uphill around narrow windy streets for around half an hour in the intense heat to get up to Amer Fort and then it was just an old building to walk around. His face lit up when he saw the garden and then grew sad when we saw it had been cordoned off. A quick game of hide and seek soon had him giggling again though.
We next went to Nahargarh fort which we’d heard had a food court. Our taxi driver was trying to convince us to go elsewhere – no doubt somewhere for him to get commission from – we held firm and redirected him when he accidently missed the turning…..
For us the fort was not worth a trip, you had to pay to enter and there wasn’t much to see if you weren’t going to walk around the walls. There were random attractions squeezed in like a waxwork museum and an animatronic tiger in a cage. The food court looked dubious to us, lots of little food shacks out in the open, especially after my bout of food poisoning. So, we decided to eat at the fine dining restaurant instead – Once Upon A Time – a former palace. It was stunning, a beautiful room, plush chairs and views overlooking the city. But best of all, the food was delicious! I was so grateful to be able to eat again.
That evening we headed to the Taj hotel – also a former palace – which had a restaurant built into and around an old steam train! Seeing the look on Ethan’s face was priceless! It was hard work keeping him at the table to eat, all he wanted to do was go out and “drive” the train.
The next day we saw a couple of palaces from the outside, took some pics and headed to a small mall to kill some time. That evening we went to Chokhi Dhani for dinner. Around 45 mins out of the city, it is a replica traditional Rajasthani village set in 10 acres of land, with restaurants, entertainment, parks, a boating lake, shopping villages and more. It was good fun and Ethan was reluctant to leave.
The next day it was back to Delhi for our last night in India before getting on the plane to Thailand. Our drive back became a chore when we received a phone call halfway through the 5 hour journey telling us we’d left our passports and credit cards in the hotel safe! The hotel arranged for a car to drive towards us while we turned back and met them halfway. All part of the adventures of travelling I guess!
Next stop – Bangkok!