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rglongpre’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 26 Jan 2008

Location: Jaipur, India

MapUp before seven this morning and had an early breakfast so that we will make it on time for an elephant ride up to the Amber Fort. We had a flash drive by the City Palace and a brief photo stop at the Hawa Mahal, a wall built so that noble ladies could watch activities on the street without being seen, before the drive to the Amber Fort.

Elephants! A lot of elephants! We got our elephant ride. I did manage to get our guide to take photos with our cameras at the start and at the end of our ride. He wasnít very enthused about it as he was sure we would buy the photos that cameras along the route were taking. As for the elephant ride, I can tell you, it is not a very comfortable ride, unlike a ride on a camel. There is no doubt which I prefer. The Amber Fort was worth the visit as we got to go into the harem quarters which showed just how much of a prison life for the ladies was in the past. We wandered through the apartments of the many wives of the king as well as through the main parts of the palace taking a lot of photos. Once finished with touring the palace we made our way back to the village at the bottom of the hill in order to return to Jaipur.

On the way back, we drove past the water palace which was undergoing a face lift so didn't make for great photographs. We entered into the City Palace grounds in order to look at the Jantar Mantar, an observatory built in 1728. After a very brief stope we drove on and were shown a fleeting glimpse of Albert Hall which housed the central museum for Jaipur. Since we werenít interested in going to the three shopping opportunities, our guide declared our tour over.

Once back to the General's Retreat, the first thing we did was to go in search of an Internet service Ė all the cyber cafes have no café service at all. Itís funny actually. We found a good place with fast connections and so had an opportunity to connect again with our kids and a few others. On our walk we discovered a Mega Mart, a small shopping centre with a bit of food and other stuff, a tiny version of Mega Mart in Changzhou. We bought some juice and a few packages of Indian snacks.

After returning to the General's Retreat and downloading our photos we again headed out. We headed to Central Park for a long walk around the golf course in order to find the Polo grounds. We then settled in to watch our first live Polo match, a championship game for the Simur Cup. The game was part of a tour competition. With the game still in progress but the final result basically decided (no, we donít know which team was which thought the score was 7-1 when we left) we continued to walk through the park taking some interesting photos including a neat one of two small owls on a branch.

When we got to the main entrance of Central Park a music performance was to take place later in the evening, we were lucky to see the musicians already practising. I got the photos I wanted of Anoushka Shankar and enjoyed a good blend of western music along with Sitar music. I will definitely buy her CD in the future! It was getting late and the sun had just set, so we decided to head back to the hotel for supper and some relaxation before heading out to Agra and the Taj Mahal the next morning.