We told Max that we were calling from the tiger preserve. He wanted to know how they get the tigers in the little glass bottles. We told him that there were very few tigers left to preserve because most of them had been poached. He said, “I guess that’s how they get them in the little glass bottles.”
We had high hopes of spotting one of the remaining 15 tigers left in Rhanthambhore National Park, located about 3 hours east of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Every day jeeploads of expectant tourists are bounced up and down over sandy paths and rock strewn roads that are river beds when the monsoons come. Many spines are realigned and many fillings shaken lose from teeth.
Many tourists did, in fact, see tigers. We could hear them comparing sightings over the buffet table at the fancy hotel where we stayed.
We did, in fact, spot some wildlife:
And remained hopeful through the very last minutes of our third and final outing while we waited for an hour at the spot on the trail were just minutes before a tiger had crossed the road right in front of the jeep traveling in front of us. The final blow came when our trusty driver Laxman arrived and told us that the day before he had gone to the temple just outside the park and there was a tiger sleeping off his last meal in full view of dozens of spectators. He (Laxman, not the tiger) didn’t even have to pay to get into the park or sign up for a rather expensive jeep safari.
This was about as close as we got to seeing a tiger: