November 14, 1961 – India

Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jaipur, India – Clear

     I hated to get up early today but I did it anyway because we had to get packed up so we could leave the hotel at 7am.  We only had time for a light breakfast before we headed out but I was sorry because the food on the menu looked wonderful.  Today promised to be a long one so there wasn’t time for a full meal.

     Our group first drove in cars to the base of the hill where we took a quick break before we climbed into horudas on top of elephants for a trip up the mountain to see the Amber Palace.  Howdahs were like a basket and sitting in one made me feel a little nervous at first as they sat rather precariously especially when it rolled from side to side as the elephant walked.  Climbing up the hill and rolling side to side almost made me seasick and that made me glad I had had a light meal for breakfast. 

Elephant Ride to Amber City Ruins

Tour to Amber City

     Once we reached the palace I found it was beautiful.  When I looked down below the slope where the palace sat I could see that it was reflected in the lake below.  It looked so mystical in the water.  Amber Palace formerly had many temples but most of them were in ruins sadly.  One of the most interesting areas in the palace I saw was the harem quarters.  I wondered what it must have been like to live there when it teemed with people and if it was like you saw in the movies.  Somehow I didn’t think it had been that easy a life even with the luxury they had.  Amber Palace was built by Man Singh in 1600 and then was finally completed by Jai Singh II.

Elephants at Amber City

Harem Quarters in Amber City

     Once we left the top of the hill I was glad when our elephants finally made it to the bottom again.  I was very happy when I could finally climb down from the back of those huge beasts and get back in a more normal transportation to return to New Delhi.  I resisted the temptation to kneel down and kiss mother earth once I was down from the elephants back. 

     Our drive was a very long one and I found myself napping on the road.  We finally arrived at 3:30pm.  As glad as I was to get back to Ashoka Hotel again it was very crowded and our rooms weren’t ready so we had to wait in the lobby for several hours before we were allowed to check in.  Edith and I were lucky we only had to wait two hours but poor Gertrude had to wait till 7pm alone for her room.  I took my bags to my room but then returned to sit with Gertrude till they finally had hers ready so she wouldn’t be alone.  I felt the people at the front desk had treated her rather shabbily and felt she needed some moral support.  By the time she was able to go to her room it was time for dinner.

     Dinner was good, as usual, but nothing special.  Edith and I returned to our room once our meal was done and we took turns taking a bath before going to bed. 

     It felt good to be clean again and to be able to lie down and think.  Today had made me think a lot about my life and how fortunate I’d been to have found a husband who cared for me and had provided for me despite the depression.  I also felt lucky to have two children who had turned out so healthy.  I’d been fortunate that Stuart had left me well off enough to do things that I wanted to do now and to go see the places I’d wanted to see.  All the poverty, disease and tragedy had made me appreciate my life more now than ever before.

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