Elephants are awesome

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
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33
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Trip End Jul 22, 2014


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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Arrived In Jaipur at about 5.30 in the morning and found decent hotel. This one actually includes breakfast and the bathroom had a bath. This is the first bath I have seen as all the other places just have showers. The tablets are working as Im feeling a lot better so after a long soak with complimentary bubble bath I headed off to breakfast. Full buffet including Indian an western food. What a treat - fresh fruit salad, Coco Pops!!!! with ice cold milk, omelettes, toast and guess who took full advantage. It is amazing how something like this lifts your spirits and makes you feel better. 

Took a walk into town and met a young guy who invited me to his house which is literally just a room with a small annexe for a kitchen. As it is Diwali everyone is on holiday and very friendly. Sat and had tea and all the sweet desserts and cakes with him and his Mum. His friend turned up who was a musician and asked me to come to his house so we hopped in a Tuk Tuk and drove half way across town. He teaches young kids traditional music and they all came round and entertained for a few hours. It was really a great experience. 

So often in India one is approached by locals but in most cases they are trying to scam you or just trying to get you into their shops. It becomes annoying as you never know who to trust. Most of the time you just greet them and smile and keep walking. It is a pity that they have this attitude because I am sure one misses out on a lot of interaction. I'm generally trusting and just go with my gut feeling but have had some unpleasant experiences.

Later he dropped me off at the Palace but I have had enough of monuments for the time. A Tuk Tuk driver approached me and said he would show me around for a reasonable rate so I agreed. I just liked the fact that he had named his 'helicopter' the Chapati Express. Salim was a brilliant guide and didn't stop chatting and kept mimicking different accents. The highlight of the trip was when he took me to where the elephants spend the afternoon after transporting tourists. I don't condone animals being exploited for money and they have very strict controls with these elephants. They only work til 11 am and then sent home where they are washed and feed. They work on a strict rotation basis of 5 days on and 2 days off. If they show any signs off illness or sores they have sick leave and once year they are taken to a special sanctuary for a months holiday in a jungle type environment. Where they spend the night is not a tourist site but Salim knew the main guy and he let me in and it was awesome to interact with this amazing animals. I couldn't believe how spongy they felt and how gentle they were. What impressed me most was the way they looked at you. The intelligence in the eyes was something I have never seen before. A very special day so I have arranged for Salim to take me to Amber Fort tomorrow.

17/11/2012
After another hearty breakfast and feeling less pain was ready for the Chapati express. Unfortunately Salim couldn't make it so he sent his brother instead. The Fort is about 10 km out of town and once again a huge impressive structure. At the base of the Fort we stopped so that I could take a photo and the next minute this snake charmer squats down and pulls a little basket out of his bag. Inside is a very lethargic Cobra that he began to prod until it lifted its head and half  slithered out of the basket. The only problem was the snake was facing me and about 60 cm from my ankle. He started playing his flute and the cobra just stared at my foot. When I told him I didn't want a photo he stuffed the snake back in the basket and went looking for another tourist.

The big thing when visiting the fort is to get a ride up on an elephant. Firstly I don't like the idea of exploiting animals, secondly it is ridiculously expensive and thirdly it looks bloody uncomfortable. I have really enjoyed Jaipur and will leave with good memories tomorrow as I head off to Agra

 
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Comments

Simon on

Glad to hear you're feeling better...I won't mention it again..

anngreen45@gmail.com on

take good care of yourself..... sounds like u are really getting into the spirit of India

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