Last week we went to Ranthambhore for our tiger safari, pfffhh, more like bird safari. We actually didn’t see any tigers, only birds and deer. We arrived in Ranthambhore after a hard day of driving from Agra. What was supposed to be a 5 hour drive somehow turned into an 8-hour journey on horrible roads. When we arrived we were all relieved that the hotel wasn’t half bad. Our 6 stayed in a big family room that had a living room and 3 doors, one that led outside, and 2 which led to bedrooms.Our travel partner, Heather stayed in her own, private room. When we all got settled we went to the hotel’s restaurant and had dinner. The food wasn’t great but the TV was.There were 2 TV’s in the kids’ room and one in the parent’s room. All the kids sat together and watched fake wrestling on 10 Sports. It’s so funny, especially since Indians think that wrestling is the US’s main sport. After 2 Episodes of WWE, we all went to sleep expecting to see a tiger the next day.
We had to wake up before it was light to start the safari, but because they didn’t have enough seats on the canters, we had to split up into different vehicles. Kieran, Dax, Dad, and I all went in one, while Mom and Asher went in another, and Heather went alone. Our canter was mostly full, but we still had to pick some people up. We had to drive a few miles out of the way to get to the first hotel. The old Irish people in the back got real mad because after the really long drive out there, the people who were to be picked up weren’t ready yet. One lady in the back kept saying, “This is a waste of time!” and “How are they still not ready!?” (In the end, though, she and the new arrivals were talking like best friends.) After that we had to go to another hotel that was just as far out of the way, and of course the old lady in the back got really frustrated (again).
When the canter was full we went to the gate of the tiger sanctuary where our guide had to fill out some forms. In that time we were infiltrated by salespeople selling tiger sanctuary merchandise. This is where we found out how mean the old lady’s husband was. He got so annoyed by the salespeople that he bought one of the 1500 rupee coats (about $37 dollars–that’s a lot of money in India) and yelled at them, “Now go feed your d*** family!” I wanted to buy a hat for 50 cents but they wouldn’t go any lower $1.75, so I didn’t buy it. I was still trying to get the salesman down lower when we started to drive into the park. We drove about a kilometer to where we picked up some trackers, but they weren’t much use because it had rained the day earlier so the paw prints were all washed away. We drove around an area of about 30 kilometers, of the 1600 square kilometer park.
Our chances of seeing a tiger were slim for the reasons above and a few more: there are only like 35 tigers in the whole park and it wasn’t their liveliest season. Our guide said that our chances of spotting one were about 30%, and because Indians always want to make you happy, our chances were probably only 1 in 10. We drove around one place where the leopards usually were, but of course, they weren’t there. The first animal we saw was a small owlet. Somehow our guide saw him in a tree that was the same color as him.
Then we saw some monkeys, but no one cared because they just walk around the town. We then looked at a blue deer. After that we saw some spotted deer. They’re the most common animal in the park, so we didn’t stop for them either. But we did stop for nothing. The canter ahead of us said someone saw a ‘glimpse’ of a tiger, so we stopped for like 30 minutes and to stare at the trees.
When our guide gave up we drove to a cliff overlooking a lake. There we saw a really cool big owl and some peacocks. When our guide pointed them out to us, the rude Irish guy in the back said, “If I wanted to see birds, I would go to the bird sanctuary!” Then when our guide told us we stopped because this was where one of the tigers liked to drink and swim and maybe the tiger would come drink, the Irish guy said ,”Psssst, wishful thinking”. Then he told us about the tiger, the Queen of the Lake, and how she kills crocodiles to protect her cubs.
When it was obvious she wasn’t coming, we set off to look in other places. We didn’t really see anything until we stopped for a bathroom break. But there was a flaw in the bathroom break: there were no toilets. So our guide just said, “Ladies to the right, and men to the left”. While the ones who were brave enough to go out in the open were doing their thing, I stayed and fed birds out of my hand.
Then we drove around for a bit more, but I don’t know what happened because I fell asleep. When I woke up, the canter was stopped to watch monkeys. It was fun until one peed on me from the tree above.
When that happened we stopped watching and drove to the meeting place of all the guides. There we learned that only one canter had seen a tiger. From there we left to the front gate and then the long drive to the other hotels and finally to ours.
We were the last ones back to the hotel of our group of 7. In the restaurant we met up with Mom, Asher, and Heather, who also didn’t see a tiger. And so is life. You may see a tiger, you may not, I may be McKane, I may not. I may be done with this post, I may not. Wait, you know what, I am done with this post.