Hello Family, Friends and Followers!

We left off last time getting an emergency ticket out of Varanassi to Jaipur.  That 22-hour train ride to Jaipur was complete bliss since we knew things couldn't be any worse than what we had just experienced.

Jaipur, known as "The Pink City" is absolutely lovely and part of the Golden Triangle circuit (along with Delhi and Agra).  It is known for its textiles and silver, neither of which were purchased by us but it was still fun to look at.  Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan so it was fitting that this is where we would begin the next few weeks touring through the state.

The streets were alive with the movement of rickshaws, motorbikes, camels, buses, you name it!

Our first stop was a visit to Jantar Mantar.  Jantar Mantar is a world heritage sight and is most famous for its sun clock.  There were so many instruments there that were used for calculating times, stars, and seasons.  This place was a nerd's paradise.  After a little while we just decided to take as many pictures as we could rather than try to figure it all out.

What's this?  No clue, this is cool but let's go grab a chai.

After checking out some of the city we found a local bus that ran out to Amber Fort which was a little  outside of town.  We spent hours walking around the fort and exploring every inch of this place.

It was the first time we had seen a fort like this so we really enjoyed ourselves.

This guy caught us taking a picture and  flashed us a peace sign.

Making sure to live up to our name of exploring. GoExplore365!

Josh dreaming of days gone by.  Ahh...forts in the desert, sure beats the ones he used to make in the cushions of the couch.  Well, it's stronger at least.

You know a place is good when Indian tour groups are everywhere!

What's next? Peeking around the corner.

There were vibrantly colored elephants giving tourists lifts to the top of the hill.

Later on that night, we made our way to one of the most famous Bollywood theaters in India, The Raj Mandir.  The Raj Mandir seats 1,200 people and the crowd is known to get into the movie.  There were no subtitles but we figured as long as we stick to action movies we'd be able to figure it out.  Yeah, we were right.  Good guy he doesn't!  Good guy really dies this he doesn't!  Good guy really, really dies this time...this went on like this for about 10 twists and turns until the movie ended.  The audience was screaming and ooohing and ahhhing at every twist.  There's no way they didn't know this was how the movie was going to end.  It was so absurdly cliche, they just didn't care.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and headed home for the evening.

The next day we headed to Nhargarh Fort which is another old fort that sits on the hilltop over looking Jaipur.  We could only imagine what it must have been like carrying all those rocks up that hill while they were building this thing.

Look!  There's Jaipur!!

The walls of the fort were in complete disrepair but there were almost no tourists so we had the place to ourselves.  We stayed there for hours listening to the sounds and daydreaming.  Josh had his binoculars so we sat overlooking the city.  We loved watching the rickshaws race around the camels.  Not sure why we liked it so much but it was good entertainment

Big jump!

The inner courtyard of the fort made for some beautiful self shots with our XShot!

The only bad thing about going to this fort was that there was no way back.  We cut our rickshaw loose because he wanted us to pay him to wait for us.  We were able to catch a rickshaw that was waiting for his clients to visit the fort.  We felt like he was cheating on them by sneaking a quick fare out of us but we saw our opportunity and took it.  We got a ride a about 7 km (4.5 miles) down the road to another fort and then walked the remaining 5 km (3 miles) to the bus station to get back into town.  We had to walk through Jaigarh Fort which supposedly has the biggest cannon in the world or Asia or something like that but everybody we asked made it sound grander and grander.  We saw the cannon and it was like the end of the Wizard of Oz.  We just moved along and let them live with their supposedly big cannon.

See these monkeys?  Pretty cute, huh?  NO! These little bastards are so aggressive and Josh is becoming all too good at fighting these rascals off.  One skill he never thought he would acquire at the beginning of the trip was "Monkey fighter."  Evolve or get left behind.

After we headed back to town we stopped by Hawa Mahal.  This is the postcard photo that everybody takes when visiting Rajasthan so why would we be any different?

We bet no one has ever taken a picture from the outside in?

It's Leanne sized.

We made a stop at the Central Museum of Jaipur to round out the "Things to do" in Jaipur.  There was nothing left to see so we moved along.

The next morning we hopped on a train heading to Ranthambhore National Park.  Ranthambhore is supposedly the place where your chances are the best to see a tiger in the wild.  This was a big, big risk for us because we were running out of time and monetarily it was a big investment for these two budget travelers.  Also, seeing tigers in the wild is a very difficult thing to do because they're near extinction.  Josh's parents sent us some money for Christmas that we were waiting for a good time to use.  Now would be a good time so we pulled the trigger and headed down.  We planned on doing three safaris and hoped for the best.  Everybody who knows Josh knows how crazy he is about tigers.  The huge tiger oil painting that he grew up with?  Yeah, some of you have seen that beauty.  When we arrived we heard that no tigers had been spotted for eight days so that made us a little nervous.  Still, we both put on our tiger shirts and hit the park at 4:30 in the morning.

We channeled our inner nerd by wearing our tiger shirts in hopes of increasing our chances of seeing one. 

Our first day we headed out with high hopes but were nervous about being able to see a tiger.  We just relaxed and enjoyed the beauty around us.

Blue antelope

Our guide was hell bent on finding a tiger and he knew what he was doing.  One sound from a creature off in the distance and he knew it was the warning call of a buck.  We sped off and guess what was through the trees?!?

We saw one and then in the reflection of the pond we saw another!  It was a mother and her cub!  It was a BIG male cub but a cub nonetheless.

Yes, we went a little crazy with the photos.

Our jeep was fired up!

One more of the fired-up jeep.

With the viewing of the tiger behind us we decided to scratch our afternoon safari and hit another fort in the middle of the park.  Two owls were there to greet us.

The fort dates back 2,065 years ago.

Now would be a good time to talk about two of our new friends, Marcela and Yash.  Yash and Josh sound really similar so both guys were confused as to who we were speaking to throughout the day. Marcela is from Brazil and Yash is from India.  We met this great couple while we were waiting in line for the safari at 4:30 am.  Yash was such a help to us because he did all of the talking to get our jeep booked. We can't thank you enough, Yash!  He taught us the ropes so we could return the favor and help out other tourists when we booked our second safari the following day.  Paying it forward!

A fun tip about Yash is that he has never even taken a sip of Chai tea and he has grown up his entire life in India!  That must be some sort of record.  We tried hard to get him to break that life streak but we were not successful.  Marcela is such a sweetie and has been working in India for the past 6 months.  It was as if Leanne and Marcela had been friends for life.   We instantly clicked with these two and wound up spending all day together and grabbing dinner before they headed off on an overnight train.  We look forward to seeing you both again in Brazil!

Tiger jeep safari take two!

Since Yash taught us how to book the jeep, we helped out two Hungarian guys and two French girls book their jeep safaris too. This is a picture of the calm before the storm.  Shortly after this picture was taken, a crowd of over 50 people swarmed the gates to begin the booking process.  If you're reading this to do research on the park, we would suggest going straight to the ticket window.  You can save a lot of money and will be on the same tour as if you booked it through your hotel...without the fees.

Would the tiger call a second time?

One of the great things about the second safari is that we weren't stressed at all about seeing the elusive tiger.  We just relaxed and enjoyed our surroundings.

Tiger chocolate

Hey!  A mongoose.

We saw lots of birds

This time around we were sharing our jeep with two older couples that were bird lovers.  They were so excited when they saw this eagle that they screamed.  We thought it was a tiger but it was this guy instead.  It was cool to see the eagle but we don't think the eagle was as excited to see us.  It leaned over, took a big poop, and flew away.  Somehow, this was also thrilling for the bird watchers.  They were so overjoyed that they actually captured this beautiful moment on their gigantic cameras.  Oh well, to each their own.

We had a wonderful time in Ranthambhore and felt extremely fortunate but it was time to move on.  The clock was ticking!  Our next stop was Pushkar.  Despite that there are some of the worst types of scammers in all of India there it was still a gorgeous town.

Bathing ghats (staircases) around the holy lake.

Shoes off!

Would you like some trash with your fruit?

Wedding foreshadowing?

For those of you that are RC cola fans like Josh you will be happy to know that it is now available in India.

One of our highlights of Pushkar was hiking to the temple at the top of the mountain.  It was a lot harder than we expected.

This family latched onto us on the way down.

Since we were planning on being at our friend's wedding in a week and a half in Mumbai we had to motor along.  Next stop...Jaisalmer!  This was our cheap little hotel room with a sitting window.  This is a very common amenity of the rooms here.

Our favorite fort in India was here.  There are over 3,000 residents that live inside the old fort.  This is Tony, he grew up inside the old fort.  For some reason he wants to be Italian so he was really fond of Leanne.  Don't let the tough face fool you he smiled every other second except this one.

Such a cool fort.  This is what you envision when you think of a classic desert fort.

It wouldn't be a trip to Rajasthan without a camel safari.

Before our camel safari began we stopped in a small village for a photo bomb opportunity.

Cowboy up, too weird.  Cowboy up!!

Fist pump?

Our guide, we can't pronounce or spell his name, helped Leanne get her authentic camel safari headwear in order.

We went on our tour with two lovely ladies from China, Vicki and Janice.  It was actually the Chinese New Year's Eve that night so we were lucky to spend it with them. 

Hey goat, say hello to your mother for me. (Saturday Night Live skit).  This baby was only 3 days old!

Can you believe we were only 30 miles away from the Pakistan border!?  It was the perfect setting for some amazing photo opportunities. 

Our guides in training.

Goodbye sun, hello moon!

There it is again, the jumpy pic.  This time Leanne had some company.

We were pressed for time so were weren't able to camp the full night under the stars.  Instead, we had dinner and hung out for a few hours after the sun went down. 

Happy Chinese New Year!  Cheers to the year of the dragon!

Yummm...sort of...let's not kid ourselves, it wasn't that great but the company made up for it.

Udaipur is known as the city of lakes.  It has the nickname "The Venice of India".  On the surface it looks very pretty and the James Bond film, Octopussy, was actually filmed here.  Underneath all the beauty lies a seedy city filled with scammers looking to get one over on you.  Josh thinks the entire town should be flushed down the toilet.  Is that too harsh?  Go write your own blog, this place was terrible.  Worst place of our entire trip so far.  Congratulations citizens of Udaipur, keep trying to rip off every tourist that steps foot in your little trap and see how that works out in the long run.  We're bitter because we got caught in the trap but don't want to go into it any further.  It wasn't a big deal but it was really wrong what they did to us.  It was funny how everybody leaving felt the same way as us.  Despite our bitterness we'll include some pretty pictures of the town.

Thanks for following!  The next post will include our trip down to Mumbai for Pashmina and Guv's wedding.  We miss you all!!

Leanne & Josh


  1. Yeyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!

    I just read it!!
    You guys are so Cute! Miss you.. can you believe??!!

    Wierdo, I know.

    I keep following the posts.. I little bit late due to incredible internet!

    We also wait for you in brazil!! Mean while I'm taking all of the tips on Tailand,Cambodia and Laos from you guys!

    ENJOY every bit!!!


    Marcela and Yash

  2. And please tell what happened in Udaipur!