Elephants and Magic shows
Today is our last full day In the colourful chaotic city of Jaipur. We are going to visit the beautiful and overwhelming Amber Palace, the journey to get up to the palace is made on the back of Elephants, which is quite a highlight for many on this tour. We alighted from the bus and stood for a couple of minutes just staring up at the stunning backdrop before us. I took this as a photo opportunity and started to snap away ....I heard the strange music of a wind instrument but really didn't take any notice as India throws a lot of unusual sounds at you which you do find yourself switching off to, it wasn't until I caught the movement out of the corner of my eye that I realised I was being targeted by a snake Charmer....and the Cobra was starting to sprout swaying to the tune from the basket .......now we don't get many Snake charming Cobra's In King's Lynn.....I don't think I've moved so fast in all my life !
The palace is set up on the top of what can only be described as a steep cliff , which it lines the top of and spreads down to streets below with its many terraces. The entrance however is right up the top of a steep twisting slope wide enough for 2 Elephants to pass, this slope is scalloped walled either side well over 6ft, which when you standing next to it is fine but once atop the back of a swaying Elephant is a slightly different matter. So there we were in pairs , sitting precariously on the wooden framed seat with a pull down metal bar for protection on top of a seemingly rather grumpy Elephant, which swayed and plodded, and sneezed its way to the top . The Elephant's Name as we were reliably informed by his Mahout is Chumba, Chumba didn't want to walk in the middle of the path up to the gates of the Palace ...Chumba wanted to walk as near to the scalloped edged wall as possible and dangled us over the edge, which found us clutching on for dear life, I am sure the views were wonderful as we neared the top but I cant tell you as my eyes were slammed shut as I am terrified of Heights..much to the delight of my Elephant ride partner Michael who found this journey highly amusing as was his commentary .
We spent a good few hours at the Amber Palace, it is really beautiful I think we must have picked the hottest day of the year ( or it felt like it) and It was relief to meet the cool air-conditioning of the Bus finally as we made our descent in the back of jeeps with joy riding hawkers clutched onto the back trying to sell us their wares at break neck speed. The plan after this was to make a photo stop of the River Palace Jawal Mahal, this is exactly as it sounds the Palace in the middle of the Lake, this has been the first year in many that there has finally been enough rainfall to fill the lake. I Know every time I have seen it its been the Palace in the middle of a dry lake bed....so it was a good opportunity to actually witness it in the surroundings it was meant for.
It was here, that Rafeeq advised the group that once we were on the bus, we were going to get a short Magic show..... Now this is hard to describe but there were a small group of street boys 3/4 in number no more who instead of begging could and would perform magic tricks for food money ..trust me if you could have seen these kids then it makes it hard to resist giving them anything.... Rafeeq asked the group if would be ok we all agreed instantly and Low and behold 1 of the group (this barefoot lad was no more than 7 or 8 yrs) came aboard our bus to present his magic show. He was brilliant ...his makeshift implements which had clearly been handmade and had seen better days made no hardship for this young mans ability to use his well worn contraption to turn blank paper into Rupees...or for a coin to appear in someone's ear....He was given much applause and a mitfull of Rupees for his efforts on the promise that he buy food and share it with his little group of fellow barefoot magicians whose age ranged from about 4yrs to 9yrs. With many smiles and enthusiastic waving and promises of food he disappeared back to the streets. So, our last night in Jaipur and the last full night for the group as it stood. Tomorrow we would lose 4 members as they were going on to another tour which started in Jaipur and it was at this juncture I realised that Rafeeq, my trusty sidekick was staying with them and that I was going to have take the group on the 6hr train journey back To Delhi !!! with only a caretaker to assist me .... !!
Step up to the plate Chachi...could or would Explore ! 1st adventure Apprentice make it with all remaining members of the group and their luggage in one piece using the most Chaotic Rail service in the world to Delhi ... now that is the question !
All my Love Christine Christine is currently on the Moghul Highlights tour after winning the ‘Adventure Apprentice’ challenge.