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Ethnic Entertainment

March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick’s Day!!  Helen – Holidays just don’t seem to be the same here!!  In fact, they are non-existent!!  After breakfast Tom and Traci went to the first session while Charya (Traci and Mano’s 10 year old daughter) and I explored the complex, went for a swim in the lovely pool, and played cards before lunch. Being tired from yesterday and the heat gave us a good excuse for a nap after lunch.

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Tonight was the reception dinner which began with a colorful, musical performance by local artists on the outdoor stage located on the lawn area by the pool.  The show represented the various ethnic areas of this state called Rajasthan.  Thank heavens they first sprayed for mosquitoes because they were hungry as well.  We arrived on time which meant we were about the first ones there and so took one of the front tables for a better view. 

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We got the view and also the effects of the loud speakers which were blaring on either side of the stage.  The music was a little strange for us, especially the singing, but the dancing was great with elaborate costumes.  One of the unusual instruments was an accordion which was placed on the floor; the left hand played the keys while the right hand moved the bellows.  Another was the cassinette style clackers which one man played with much body movement.  

 The first group of dancers sat on the floor as they did intricate hand and arm movements while swaying their bodies with knives gripped in their mouths and bowls of flowers on their heads (pretty good trick!).  The second dancers dressed in glittery black dresses, did lots of foot stamping and twirling and then invited the audience to dance with them (no, Tom and I did not volunteer to participate!).  The third group was dressed as peacocks in colorful dresses and huge feathered tails.  This group also had a male dressed in silver glitter and they danced around him.  Seems this group was a little unorganized, and when one dancer began ordering some of the others around with glaring looks, one dancer left the stage before their act was over.  During the performance, we were served non-alcoholic drinks and tasty snacks of grilled chicken and fish with various sauces. 

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Dinner was buffet style, either standing or sitting at the tables, with dal soup, salads, grilled chicken, fish curries, vegetables and vegetable curries, rice, and desserts of cake and ice cream. We finished after 9:30 so decided to walk over to the village complex which is part of the hotel establishment.  This is a reincarnation of village festivals from this state and offers nightly entertainment of animal (elephant, camel, and ox cart) rides, dancers, puppet shows, magicians, game stalls, gift and souvenir shops, hand propelled ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds, and food stalls/restaurants.  This village is open to the public and many tour buses come nightly from the local cities.

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