Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13th: Elephants, Birds, and Snakes

A very Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there. Especially my mama - I love you to the moon and back. I can't wait to see you in twenty-seven days. I was missing my family hard this weekend, let me tell you that.

We left our hotel at 7 AM. We walked a little bit to the highway to hail a tuk tuk. We got one and six more followed right away. Madan got us a deal and off we went to the Amber Palace! It was the most beautiful drive, past a huge lake and through mountains of red and yellow sands. About fifteen minutes in, we started seeing elephants walking up the street! We also saw a parade; it was people protesting having more girls attend school! So awesome.

The Amber Palace is incredible. It's huge. I'm embarrassed because my description is going to be lame and will never do it justice. It was built by six thousand workers in one hundred and thirty-seven years. Crazy.

I am just quickly going to say my piece on the elephant rides. I don't want to offend anyone who chose to go on one, but I had to refuse. All day the animals just climb up to the palace in the heat carrying tourists. Men sit on their heads and beat them with bull hooks. The conditions were disgusting. I know what you are probably thinking: so what if you didn't go on one? If there was no demand for elephant rides, there would be no such thing. Which should be the case. While Roni, Jerry, Melissa, and I were climbing up to the palace, in place of getting taken by an elephant, we noticed we were the only white people. What I am saying is that the only people who take elephant rides are Westerners. Just something to think about :). Anyway, the elephants were very, very beautiful and it's the closest I have ever been to one. They fling snot at the tourists. Hilarious.

When we were waiting for the elephant riders in the courtyard, I got some henna on my hands.

All my friends know how scared I am of birds. Especially the ones at UVic because they are massive. Anyway, right before this picture was taken a bird crapped on me and I was so hot and sweaty and tired I didn't even care. No one else cared either haha... Just a day in the life.

There was no room for Jaipur to expand so the king created New Jaipur (where we were visiting yesterday) on the right of the palace. There were these secret passageways that the king used to visit certain wives, so the others would not get jealous. One king had twelve wives... Since the royal women were under strict observation, they would have to use a small window in a darkened room to watch everything going on in the courtyard. They had the most beautiful mirror rooms. Dancers in colourful saris would put on performances for the royal families and it would create a disco ball effect. Too cool. The Queen also had these sun rooms where she would get massages or have company over. Everything is made of sandstone and marble. All the paint is, again, made of different vegetables and gets a coat of oil every couple years.

We saw snake charmers. Classic.

We drove back into town for lunch. After, we went to Hawa Mahal, the Wind Palace. It is part of the City Palace we visited yesterday. It was built in 1799. It has almost a thousand windows. The royal family would go here "to get wind" when it was really hot out. Also, the women would watch the proceedings of the market from above because they weren't allowed to go outside.

After we saw the Wind Palace we did a little more shopping in the markets. There was a monkey sitting there, just chillin'.

We took the 3:30 bus home and got to Sikar at about 6:45. We took a tuk tuk from town and got to Youth Touch at about 7. We saw a wild peacock on the way home :). We ate dinner at 7:30 and had chai. Obsessed. We then all went to bed!

Hope you had a fab Mother's Day! :) 

Torry Harris
DWC Student Team Leader
Sikar, India: May 2012

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