India – March 25, 2000

Alex’s Essay on India

We went on a really fancy plane from Bangkok to Delhi. It was Thai Airways, which is said to be the best airline in the world. My Dad said they even give massages in economy class. It was a very fun flight. We watched Tarzan. When we got into the airport in Delhi, it was not as fun as the flight. We got in at midnight and we had to go through an hour line of immigration. When we finally go through immigration, we got our bags and were told to go to the ‘Ashoka Palace’, which is supposedly a nice place. The people were nice except when they woke my Dad up at 5 in the morning to say that they were leaving and asked for a tip. The rooms were very dirty and you had to leave the water running for 20 minutes for hot water. My dad did not know this and took a freezing cold shower. The next morning we supposedly were to go to Jaisalmer to see a supposedly great camel fair but the night before we realized our flights were not confirmed so we got bumped along with 30 other people who had confirmed reservations. We went to a travel agent who helped us a lot to book the next 2 weeks in India.

After that we met our driver who was quiet but nice and he drove us to Agra – the home of the Taj Mahal. Our hotel was a new marble big convention center. There was a lot of traffic but not all cars· a lot of bicycles, people, camels, cows, horses, and motorcycles. The Taj Mahal was really amazing but there were a lot of people. Agra was not my favorite place because it was kind of like Delhi· very big and crowded. The next day we took a very long ride to Sariska National Park. The roadside was interesting with dancing sloth bears and camels would block your path. Sariska Palace was very nice and we were upset that we could not stay there longer. It had big grounds and wild turkeys would walk along the walkways. The one thing that was not good about it was that they had stuffed tigers and leopards there. The maharajahs had built a tower that they used for hunting tigers. It was not very amazing. All they would do would get an ox and tie a rope around the ox’s neck to the tower and then wait until a tiger came and than they would shoot the tiger. We went on a jeep safari the next morning and saw a jackal, a lot of monkeys, antelope, deer and peacocks. When we saw the jackal it was hunting and all the animals and there were monkeys in the trees and they would scream like crazy. My mom and Dad also went on a trek there and brought back a carcass of a deer.

After that we went to a place called Samode. It was probably the best place I went to in India. It was a very tiny town with a very fancy palace. Every night, they would have a party for a group staying in another city and the group would come in on camelback. They would walk on a red carpet and they would give necklaces that were flowers and then they would go into a really fancy dining room. At the end they would have fireworks. Every night there was a puppet show and dancing and they had really good food. A few days later we took a camel cart through the desert to Samode Bagh, which was the garden of the rajah that lived in the palace. We stayed in really fancy tents that even had a bathroom and there were bunnies that we fed. At night they would give you hot water bottles to put on your feet in bed to stay warm. The last day of the visit we went to Jaipur where a lot of the groups stayed. It was a big city like Delhi. It was way too overpopulated and it was so busy we just stayed there to have lunch. We had lunch at Rambagh Palace and they had really good shish kabobs. I liked Samode Palace more.

The next day we drove to Jaipur and got on a plane to Jaisalmer. It is a desert city next to Pakistan. There are tons of military bases there. There is a fort. We stayed at a really great hotel that had a pool that was really freezing. We went on a really fun camel trek there. My camel driver did not talk much but my camel would not stop burping. The camel was very awkward. It was about the same height as an elephant and when it got up you felt like you would fall off because his hind legs came up first. On the ride we saw all desert and some deer that were really far away. We went to some temples too that were Hindu. The temples had a lot of shapes carved into the stone. And they had mice living in them. We finally got to the place we camped and it was really good food but my sister got the liver of the chicken. The setting was amazing. There were no houses for miles· just our tents and the camels. The next day we took the camels back and we rested at the hotel and ate at a really good restaurant. My favorite food was the nan, which is pita -like bread.

The next day we went to the airport but our flight was cancelled. So we went back to a tour company’s building and they told us there was a train that would leave Jodhpur at midnight. So we drove for 4 hours with a crazy driver who went at least a hundred miles an hour. At 10 o’clock at night we arrived in Jodhpur. We went to a fancy hotel that we wished we could have checked into but we had to make the train. So we ate dinner and got on the train. It was comfortable but I could not sleep until 2 AM because these boys kept their music on all night. And we only had 3 beds for 5 people and had to share. Well, finally the next day, we got to Delhi and we went to our travel agent and they said there was a flight at midnight to Kathmandu, Nepal that we might be able to get because Kathmandu was the next place we were going. We checked into a hotel where we ate and watched 2 movies. At 9 PM, we went to the airport. For the next 4 hours, we thought we would not get a flight so we came up with all kinds of ideas of how to get to Nepal. Finally, the agent that came to the airport with us said that we got the seats. Every time we would sit down at the boarding area, we would fall asleep but we eventually got to Kathmandu at 3:30 AM. It was cold and I was tired but we got there.

My most favorite thing in India was Samode.

Katie’s Journal of India

When we got to Sariska Palace, we got our rooms and Alex, me and Ben played. I drew in the rose garden. I drew a tree with lots of monkeys on it. Then Alex and me made a fort in the back courtyard. Then we saw lots of monkeys and we went away. Then we ate dinner. After dinner we saw a bonfire and heard Indian music. Then we walked through a huge courtyard back to our room. Then we went to sleep. Then at about 6:30 in the morning, we went on a jeep safari. It was really cold. We saw lots of peacocks and lots of antelopes and deer too. We saw wild boar. At the end a jackal chased the monkeys and antelopes away. I liked the safari a lot.

I went to Samode next. We stayed at Samode Palace. Every night we saw lots of fireworks and we also saw camels and music and one night we even got a flower necklace and my mom got a red dot painted on her forehead. Our room was right over the gate. The swimming pool was white marble and when you looked down in it there were lots of flowers. The food there was good. We saw somebody make bracelets that were made out of clay and sometimes they put rhinestones on them to make them pretty. We bought a lot of them. We saw 2 people make them. There was also a place where they carved out stones. My favorite was the moonstone. It looks like the moon. I also took a camel cart ride to a different hotel called ‘Samode Bagh – it means garden and it was the garden where the rajah used to go in the summer. They had bunnies that I petted and fed wildflowers. There were fountains and a worker man would run ahead of us and turn on each fountain.

We flew from Jaipur to Jaisalmer. I got sick on the airplane. When we drove to our hotel, I saw a fort where 3000 people still live. In Jaisalmer we went on a camel trek. My camel’s name was Hilton. The camel had 2 mouths. It chews up his food in his first mouth and then he chews it up in his second mouth and then if it is still not chewed up, the food goes back to the second mouth. He was really wobbly. You get up on the camels knee and then you get on and the camel puts his back legs up first. You are very tilted and then the camel puts his front legs up. I love to trot on a camel. My guide helped me stand on the camel and ride his neck and I touched my toes sideways on the camel. My guide was very nice and funny. When we got to our destination about 6 hours later, we got off the camel and we had tea on blankets that had been on the camels. The tents had a place to wash yourself and then there was the mattress with 3 blankets, sheets and pillows. I saw the sunset. The food was really good and we saw lots of stars. There were cactus there and a purple and white flower. I got a bad sunburn on my leg There was a man in Jaisalmer that sold perfumes and rat poison under the gate of the old city. My mom and me bought lots of perfume in little bottles. We got to smell each kind he sold. They smelled rich.

I liked Samode in India the best and Jaisalmer second.

Ben’s Essay on India

Huipil was my driver in India. It has a lot of desert. It has camels. When I drove in the car, I would count camels everyday. I counted 12 one day. Sometimes I was asleep so I missed the camel train once. When we went Sariska National Park, I saw a jackal. I saw one peacock. I remember the fancy dining room in Samode Palace. I saw a big statue of a horse in Delhi. My favorite food was nan and yogurt. I would dip the bread in the yogurt. I also liked puffy bread. I was the leader on the camel safari. My camel was shorter then the other ones. The camel sitted and it was too tall to get on so we needed a ladder or an elevator. It was fun to get on the camel. I remember the perfume man. He sitted in the middle of the gate by the cows. He sold perfume and my mommy bought it from him. I saw a school in Samode. They sitted on the floor. I remember the Taj Mahal. It was all white. Bill Clinton visited the Taj Majal.

My favorite thing about India was the camel.