Food court, Varanasi
I’ve never ridden on an elephant before, and was therefore very excited when our guide told us we were signed up for a ride up to the beautiful Amber palace. I imagined me that we rode under tall trees. It was quiet, you could hear a small river flowing and birds singing. The elephant was thirsty and drank some water from the river. And of course the elephant sprayed me, just as I’ve seen on film… In reality it all reminded of a giant carousel.
As little children, we stood in line and waited until it was our turn. And even though all were grown ups some of tourist had bought funny hats of the merchants…We climbed the ramp where the elephants were waiting in line to pick us up.
Slowly the elephants walked up the hill to the Amber castle. As we were sitting sideways, we swayed quite a bit. I had planned to take a lot of photos, but ended up having a clear focus on not falling off and pushing the elephant off the wall with my feet.
So as I was clinging to my elephant and camera, feeling really uncomfortable and awkward, I kept repeating to myself: “I shall never ride an elephant again”. And I promised myself that, the owner of elephant riding-idea would have no wine for dinner tonight!
To make the embarrassment complete, “pro” photographers, calls for your attentions, just like parents do to their children riding on a merry-go-round, and want you to smile and wave! I didn’t dare to wave and the smile I put on was so fake that even the elephant felt sorry for me. Well, the photographer got his shot. I shouted to him that I would not buy his photos. He just smiled back, as if he knew that my friends would buy the photos, which they did.
Inside the palace walls the ride was over, and I was happy to get off. The elephant coachman, claimed his tip and we got ready to run a gauntlet between merchant selling knick-knacks.
Ethically I cannot forgive myself that I actually did this.
Ethically I am not sure if it was right of me to take this picture, thus this snake has a better life in the wilderness. Still India has got quite of lot of these charmers, vying for your attention! On top of that India has got so many problems with poverty that I am not sure whats worst in this case.