I got up bright an early for the Tiger safari. This is why I came to Ramtambore, they have a national park where some of the last tigers live in the wild. As this was India and IndiIa is hot I just put on a t-shirt, trousers and took a light jacket. This was fine when we were standing around but not when we were driving along in the open top truck. I was freezing. A rookie mistake I'll not repeat. There were 16 of us in total in the truck, all very quiet as people generally are when waking up. When we arrived at the gates of the park there were another 3 trucks and about 4 jeeps. I started to wonder how we were going to see a tiger with so many people.
The park is divided into 5 sections and our truck went to section 5. Off we trundled hunched down and freezing. Very soon we saw lots of peacocks, monkeys and deer. We even saw a couple of crocodile basking in the morning sun by a small lake. As for the tigers, they were being shy. A couple of times we heard signs of them, like monkeys warning each other and We would reverse or drive forward to a better view point but the tiger still failed to show. Typical p**** cat only turning up when they want to, so selfish. So slightly disappointed we left the park but not before we found our they had seen tigers in the other sections, something I could have done without knowing. On our truck there was an English couple who had been to the park 5 times trying to see a tiger, which shows how difficult it can be.
After a breakfast of an omelette toast & plastic jam that reminded me of wine gums we headed off to Jaipur.
It is on this journey I could observe more about India, well Rajasthan at least. I think a word that sums up India is chaos, or maybe organized chaos. The villages and towns never looked finished you have a brand new house next to a shack, the workshop is the street and you always see bright, the men with their turbans and the women with their saris. That is something that I like because it gives you an impression of life. In fact that is India for me it is alive there is always action, always something going on. It is strange to me how there is such obvious divergence between the rich and poor and so close to each other. In Europe we seem to have separated it more the poor and rich neighborhoods are far from each other. In India it is there and in your face, in some ways more honest. I am sure I will revise these impressions as I stay longer and see more.
We stopped again to have lunch by he road. A nice meal of Dahl, raiter and chapatti. It was going well until I saw some of the restaurant residents scuttling about. Though I have to say as rats go they looked cleaner than the ones I have seen in he cities. It is amazing how I have become more relaxed about these things, where back home I'd be freaking out. I think this comes down to "When in Rome...," the other thing that has helped Me is that my stomach is like a cement mixer and seems to manage the food. I have only had a slight upset stomach once.
We arrived to Jaipur where we visited the monkey temple. I didn't see too many monkeys, though temple was impressive, it is situated in a small closed valley with the buildings to the side and frescos on the walls. As i entered I was taken to Hanuman's, the monkey god, temple and blessed by the priest, didn't understand word he said but I'm sure it was all good. At the end of the valley you climb stairs to the holy pools, one for women and another four men. The men's pool being above the women's sovyou could look down on the women's pool. Not sure that id right. The water anyway was green so I would not bathe in them anyway and some of the little children had the same idea, crying and complaining as they were forced to dip their feet by their parents.
Arriving in Jaipur, SP took me to a laundry do I could wash my clothes, which was desperately needed, I was down to my last set of undies and had already turned them inside out. (only joking I hadn't even done that). Doing it there of course was cheaper than the hotel.
Next door was a hairdresser,so as I was bored of my bufón hairstyle which in India was becoming increasingly difficult to manage, I went for a haircut. The guy Manoj was very friendly, he said I was very handsome and did not look 36, wonderful customers service. My ego was soaring. He did a great job with my hair, I was stylish again:-). He then convinced me to have a shave, the first barber shave in my life. It was also the closest and no missed bits 10/10. Finally he convinced me to have a face massage strange experience. Boy was i beautiful when I came out. It was great experience one which I could get used to.
After my style make over I was dropped off at the hotel. Having been in 3 hotels so far I've started to notice a pattern in the decor, it's the late 70's. Very retro, but not my style. Also this has made me look at how the Indians dress and to me it seems the style is geeky 80's, tank-tops, nylon shirts and straight trousers not to mention the white socks. Cool in it's way. I'd like to come back in a few years and see how it has changed.
Being hungary I went out to look for a bite to eat. I found a bar not far away which looked more like a gambling den. The lights were very dark, dirty stained table-cloths and just men sitting watching, wait for it and guess...,,, yes cricket. This is a place where the men come to escape their wives!! I just had a naan, as my stomach was a delicate and a beer. I left after and went back to my hotel room yet another quiet night.