The Holy Cow! Tour
So we board the train for Rajasthan. We have read and we have heard but we still are not anywhere prepared for the ambrosia of travel that is The Palace on Wheels. We pull into the train station and are quickly escorted to a special entrance. We turn the corner into a long red silk carpet that stretches along a walkway strewn with pink rose petals. The air is heavy with the scent of sandalwood. The walkway opens onto the platform where musicians play the hauntingly beautiful discordant and cacophonous music of the gurus and gorgeous men and women in turbans and saris greet us. We bow our head for the red mark of the herb that gives us energy. The air is heavy, yet light, with the thick smoke of the incense. The music swirls about and around and then floats to the heavens and evaporates. They drape us with marigold garlands and wrap beautiful gauzy head coverings about our neck and face. They smile, oh those smiles, and we turn into the arms of two beautiful men who will see to our any and every need in the next week. They take us by the arm and we walk the few steps to the door of the train. We climb aboard a by-gone era, where we are completely isolated for days and days from any discomfort or unpleasantness. We have boarded the private train of maharajis themselves, The Palace on Wheels.
Our Beautiful Men take us to our cunning little compartment--fit with double beds, dresser, cabinets, closets and an adorable little bathroom with the most delicious smelling oils and lotions. They quickly bring ice cold Kingfisher beer and pour it into a deeply-cut crystal tumbler and as the train pulls out, we lounge on our bed, sipping beer, watching that abyss of life, the Indian train station, slip slowly away. We are on our way to FantasyLand, only there is no Disney around for miles and miles and miles....
The Maharani Jabel