Jaipur, the pink cityMay 29, 2017 in India
So, we finally had a train that was on time and this time not overcrowded. Yey! On this train we met a bunch of students heading to jaipur to do medical school entrance exams. Apparently there are 1000 places a year in India and over a million apply, so chances are very small. They were pleased to meet us and taught us some hindi words. One wanted to go and do medical research in America and the other to work as a doctor in India.
We arrived in the evening to our hotel moonlight palace. I was sad to leave our last relaxing stay but this was a cheaper city break hotel at a mere 8 pounds a night with a balcony and AC. It was decent and the hotel staff very friendly but also quite pushy with booking taxis for us to see the city at inflated prices (even if this is 15 pounds for a day of sightseeing for 2 of us, believe it or not this is inflated! ) we said we would sleep on it, but we booked in the end for a hassle free day as we only had 2 days here and the sights are far spread out. It saves a day of haggling with tuktuks and inhaling fumes with an AC car anyway.
Breakfast was good, they have a great roof terrace overlooking jaipur with iced coffee and Nutella crepes. Yum. Lassi was good too. Turns out the dinners were the best too with the best spring rolls I ever had and all freshly made for us. The man had to go out to buy the ingredients whilst we waited. Talk about fresh!
We then headed out in our AC taxi "no seat belt no probem" was heard again. And "no wing mirror no problem" also present again. We visited 2 hill forts. They were interesting with great views but we were absolutely dying from the heat today. By far the worst day the only day it really stumped us. 47 degrees and blazing sun all day. By 10.30am we were done in. Taking any oportunity for shade and a rest it was a tough day. A shame as some very interesting old sights to be seen.
After the forts we visited amber palace, the most famous in Jaipur on another hill with some killer steps to climb in the sun. It was beautiful. A guard told us the king used the various rooms to hide his 190 wives and girlfriends in. He then of course wanted paying for this bit of information when we offered him a small gesture he mocked us saying it was child's money. Dale promptly told him to shove it then. In India there are 2 kinds of people. Ones who want money for anything eg directions, advice, even if you did not ask for them in the first place. The next just want to chat and find out about you with no bad intentions. They then want your what's app and Facebook. It is very hard to tell the two apart this is the trouble! We start saying no to everything but then you miss out on meeting all the interesting and lovely people we have met.
Next we were taken to the none optional clothes shop...We did not buy of course. The taxi man then decided he no longer wanted to talk to us. We were silently taken to the monkey temple where we climbed 200 steps to the top and there were only 2 monkeys as they decided it was too hot and left for the hills. We agreed...and went back to the hotel at 3, dying a little and frazzled.
Luckily there was a huge storm that night, crazy wind woke us up and a power cut meant a night without a fan or air con but this brought a wonderful cool in the temperature so today was a mere 38. Much more bearable! (Can't believe I said that!)
We declined more pushy sales today and went it alone today to see the old city of jaipur. It is a walled city surrounded by pink walls hence the name pink city. And interesting place we visited the hawa mahal which had some interesting artifacts some from 7000bc! We then walked through the bazaars haggling over bangles and the like but my big hands meant they did not fit. Rubbish.
We then decided to escape the heat and head to the largest cinema raj mandir to watch a bollywood movie. We watched "half girlfriend" which was mainly in hindi but switching between this and English. It was pretty good but very cheesy. Surprisingly despite the language barrier we knew what was going on and followed it even enjoying it! The Indians whistled everytime the characters kissed and it seemed talking on your phone is allowed. The cinema was a lovely old building. Before the show we met a lovely Indian family with a little 1 yr old who we were playing with and then they invited us to their house. We did not have time to go which was a shame. They export clothes to China and the USA for a living. So many interesting people to meet people love talking to us and of course they had to have a selfie and then the whole cinema has to have one too. "One selfie sir" is never one selfie....It is 100.
Now on the train to our next stop. Heading to north India now, out of the heat and to a mere 34 degrees. Spending one night in Haridwar and then Rishikesh next door. Both towns on the ganges at the foothills of the himalayas famous for yoga. Looking forward to chilling out for a few days until our trek starts Saturday.
Unfortunately our train had sold out of AC tickets so now have no air con for 13 hours. Luckily not too packed this time like before but very hot and noisy as all windows have no glass just bars on. Lots of train noise and people selling chai tea etc walking up and down calling "chai chai". This by the way is so nice. A bit like rice pudding flavour tea. Lots of spices. Yum.Read more