Today we visited Ranthambore National Park on a mission to spot a tiger. Some of the people we met on the safari had waited 3 days to see the big cats, thankfully we’d been there little more than 30 minutes before one was spotted. Admittedly the animal was about a kilometre away and at that distance resembled an orange Smartie more than a majestic tiger.
The day started at 7 am. Our first stop on the 4-hour drive to the park was Smriti’s house (Smriti is the brilliant woman behind the Faith care home). We were there to collect our guide for the day, Ambika, who is Smriti’s daughter. Before we left we chatted to Smriti’s husband who showed us pictures of his family and fortress who used to be Raj’s before the Indian independence.
We sat and had a cup of tea, whilst being eyeballed by half a leopard that was on the wall in front. I wondered if the stuffed leopard had a button you could press to make it dance and play music, like the ones you get with those trophy trouts, but unfortunately, it didn’t.
Once Ambika was ready we set off for safari. It was great to have a chance to pick Ambika’s brain about Rajasthan, which is the Indian State we are in, and India in general. Rajasthan is the desert state and rains only 4 days a year with peaks of 48 degrees in late June! It’s friggin hot!
When we arrived we rested at a local hotel for a few hours before jumping on a gypsy (not a person but an open jeep type thing). The park was a 20-minute drive away which we mainly spent getting an unexpected meal of flies and bugs.
Ranthambore was a lot of fun, we saw some monkeys, lots of deer, birds, crocodiles, boar and a tiger! She was beautiful. As I mentioned earlier, we first spotted her off in the distance.
Lots of jeeps and trucks full of the visitors were on the bank when we arrived. We decided to tour the park for an hour as the guide said the tiger will take a while to come closer. So we drove off and left the other tourists to it. When we came back the tiger had disappeared into the long grass which was a few hundred meters away.
One lone deer was wondering around by the edge of the lake near the long grass asking for trouble. Suddenly the tiger appeared, slowly creeping up on the deer.
The deer turned round and both animals stood frozen still.
As the two animals stood frozen a few circles began to appear in the water. It was only a friggin croc!
We thought we were in for the most epic safari experience ever – Tiger vs Crocodile!
Unfortunately, it all ended without any bloodshed, the croc startled the deer, which ran off and the tiger couldn’t catch it. The tiger then lay down and fell asleep. Lazy cat.
Ranthambore was ace and we got some good footage for the adventure film which was the aim. Tomorrow is our last whole day with the kids. It felt weird not seeing them today, but we’ll have an awesome time tomorrow.
Thank you Faith!
What a rollercoaster of a day! We’ve just arrived back from the Faith care home having shot the final few scenes of the adventure film with the kids. There were lots of tears, we knew after the first day it would be hard saying goodbye, we just didn’t think it would be this hard.
We barely said a word on the drive back to the hotel which summed up how attached we have all gotten with the kids and everyone at Faith. We arrived at around 11am and got straight into shooting some final jungle and classroom scenes. The film was a wrap by mid afternoon which meant it was dance time!
All week the kids have been practising their dancing and we spent a few hours mucking about, playing games, learning dance moves and all sorts.
We sat the kids down in the evening and handed out the bracelets that Hope had made, which the kids absolutely loved! We also showed them the postcards from Hope and the Faith kids all designed their own to give to the young people of Hope.
It was great to bring these two charities together and has been a real privilege to spend time with these incredible groups of people. It’s fair to say Griff and I have had the most amazing experience in these last 8 days.
I won’t get too ‘blubby’ just yet as we’ve a couple more days to go. Tomorrow we head back to Delhi via a few temples and forts on the outskirts of Jaipur. And on Friday we fly back to the UK. I’d love a bit of rain right now! 🙂
Thursday 9th May and our last day in India. Booo! Today we spent some time checking out the local palaces and forts of Jaipur with Naren, one of the brilliant employees of Arms Around the Child, who guided us around the pink city.
We saw some cool old places, including locations from the movie –The Fall. We also watched a snake charmer, who ironically wasn’t very charming and chased us for money. It was a good day but we were all missing the kids and home.
I think knowing that we won’t see them again on this trip just had us on a bit of a downer, plus it was so hot my £2 cowboy hat was beginning to melt. The thought of the 6-hour drive back to Delhi was also not going down well either.
We said our goodbyes to Naren and the city of Jaipur at about 5pm and began the road trip to the capital. A few classic games of eye-spy and “would you rather” lasted all of 20 minutes after Andy crossed the weirdness line 🙂
We’ve arrived here in Delhi tired and hungry, and just polished off a McDonalds, battling with power cuts in the hotel at the moment. Tomorrow we head home to the UK.
It’s been a short trip but one that will no doubt stay with us forever.
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