I have come to an awareness in my life that you can experience just about anything ... for the right price. For example, in Alaska next year, I have the opportunity to fly in a helicopter to the top of a glacier and mush a dog sled. Now, I’m a mom who lives in Southern California (not exactly dog-mushing material) but, for the right price ... I can mush a dog sled, if I choose to. This shows you the mindset I am in while at the Port of Ensenada when I spot this lovely creature ... an energetic three-month old tiger named Lola.
Lola sits in a playpen of sorts, not really a cage but she is pretty
well contained. Now, for the right price (a donation to help care for
endangered and wild animals) I can hold Lola and have my photo taken
with her. We are also able to take photos ourselves once their
‘official’ photo has been taken. Am I game for this? Absolutely I am!
excitement level started rising within me the moment I realized this
once-in-a-lifetime possibility was in fact a reality. All I could think
of was, “I’m about to hold a tiger.”
Which soon turned to, “I am holding a tiger.”
This became my mantra.
I sat down on the bench in their portrait area, one handler grabbed her
camera (a small point-n-shoot) while the other handler went to retrieve
little Lola. I say “little” loosely because afterall, she was just
three-months old and not quite as large as her parents, I’m sure. But,
she was by no means miniature as she was roughly the size of a
full-grown Basset Hound ... and just about as weighty. He brought Lola
over to me, enticing her with a bottle of liquid she very obviously
loved to drink.
I’m a cat person. I have two cats myself and I can’t really remember a
time when I didn’t have a cat in my life. Obviously, Lola is not a
domesticated cat ... she’s a tiger. But, they are of the same ‘family’
so to speak. So, I do understand there are a few behaviors and moods a
cat can be in. One is the “I’m tired and lazy and I think I’ll just curl up here and rest for a bit, all the while being cute and cuddly.” Another is “I’m awake and wired and I just want to play and act crazy and show you how cute my teeth and claws are.”
I got the latter Lola.
was instructed to hold Lola securely under her arms with her face away
from mine (which proved to be the most challenging!) and she was placed
in my lap. Her low, guttural growling (you know, like a real tiger) is
what hit me first. I couldn’t believe how ‘wildlife’ it really was!
Next, was her feel. Her fur was coarser than I thought it would be. She
was very clean, she just wasn’t as soft as I expected. And she was
strong. I have often heard people describe some animals as being all
muscle and up until now I only had an imagined knowledge of what that
meant. Now I know. And it’s not only in my imagination that at just
three months ... Lola could probably do some damage if she wanted to.
the moment lovely Lola was placed in my lap the squirming and
excitement never stopped. Handler #1 kept getting her attention with the
bottle while Handler #2 tried to get both me and Lola to look at the
camera at the same time for our photo. That in itself was comical. I
wasn’t so concerned about this photo as I had my wonderful hubby, Rod,
in the background rapid firing the whole experience with his camera. I
was more interested in Handler #1 as he really tried to get Lola to
cooperate. I had a firm grip on Lola, but by now she somehow spun around
and was literally facing me ... not so good with those teeth biting
down on anything and everything within her reach. At one point she had
two paws with claws wrapped around my right arm and her mouth was going
everywhere ... oh, and don’t forget that guttural growling to enhance
“I am holding a tiger.”
did Lola bite me? Well, of course she did. Not bad though (she didn’t
even break the skin) but I do have a mark to prove it. She also
scratched me with her claws. It was awesome! I was mauled by a tiger!
then it was over. It was time to say goodbye to lovely Lola. Would I do
it again? Absolutely. Although I don’t think the opportunity will
present itself often. Here in the states we just don’t have wild animals
in a booth waiting to be held (and I’m sure for good reason). But, I
did experience holding a tiger ... lovely Lola ... and that has to be on
the list of coolest things I have ever done.
Lunch and a Two-Hour Nap
picked up all our packages from the excursion and went to board the
ship. Bringing wine back onto the ship was easy. We simply had to go to
the Security table and trade our five bottles of wine for two slips of
paper. Seemed like a good deal. We immediately headed up to the Lido for
our fill of food ... at this point we were pretty hungry. We then
decided to go back to the cabin and relax a bit. Rod put a movie on and
then looked shocked as I changed into an oversized T-shirt, pulled the
blankets down and got under the covers on the bed. “What are you doing?”
“I’m taking a nap.”
guess all that excitement ... tours, scandals, wine tasting, bargaining
and Lola ... really wore me out. It was a great day for sure and even
though it was only 2 p.m. I was spent. So, with thoughts of margaritas
and tigers I powered down to sleep.
I will always relish that blissful two hours in our cabin.