Ever since I first saw it on the cover of my high school biology textbook, I've been in love with the white tiger. This fact was so well known by my friends and family that, even before our very first date, my husband bought me a plush, white tiger puppet. Fifteen years later, Arbez still guards the living room.
I planned every inch of our trip to Argentina, from ice trekking in Calafate to hiking the Macuco Trail at Iguazu Falls. However, our friends in Buenos Aires suggested we visit the Lujan Zoo, a little over an hour's drive from the capital. They were excited to take us to a zoo where you can ride a camel or an elephant and pet a lion. While the idea of petting a lion sounded intriguing, I practically scoffed at the offer because we had ridden an elephant down a river in Chiang Mai as well as a camel through the Sahara Desert. I'll never be such a snob again.
Our hosts didn't give up. A few days into the trip, the wife pulls out her tablet and shows me a picture of her feeding milk to a full grown lion. "How is this possible?!" I asked. "The cubs are raised alongside puppies," she replied. That did it.
At the zoo, my heart skipped a beat. I couldn't believe what was in front of me. Two beautiful white tigers. We approached the cage and the trainer let us in. I then leaned in to pet one of the creatures. The moment was surreal. Both fear and thrill overwhelmed me. If my husband hadn't taken pictures, I wouldn't have believed it. My dream come true.