Trip Start May 04, 2009
13Trip End Jul 30, 2009
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Where I stayed
A few hours into the trip, Saki - my female travel companion showed me a passport photo and signaled that it was her, two years previously. I smiled encouragingly and nodded an enthusiastic "OK".
She began to giggle. I laughed, in turn. Kazuma then explained that, alas, the photo was not of Saki, but indeed of her friend back home in Tokyo. I bit my tongue short of cracking out the classic "Gee I don't know - you folks all look the same to me" and was suddenly glad that I would be once again traveling alone once we reached Jaipur - Rajathan's Capital City
Suffice to say my spirits did not survive the 12 hour journey, and once we reached Jaipur I no longer resembled the happy-hippy-traveler-type, much more the disgruntled figure of a middle-aged man. I bid Kazuma and Saki farewell, happy travels, etc. and set off into the 5.00am madness of Jaipur. I had no idea that any place could be so busy at such an early hour, but once again, India has pulled another fast one on me.
The word I would use to describe Jaipur is tenacious. The hassle-factor has reached and all-time high, which as a result, has made the most simple of tasks (i.e. walking to the shop to purchase a bottle of water) a marathon that strains body and mind. Wading through the loud, tenacious, in-your-face public of Jaipur's railway station car park, I decided that my time spent here would be short.
I located my hotel - the Atithi Guesthouse and walked inside, much to the disgust and bewilderment of the touts that had followed me from the railway station. Again, due to the season, I got a very nice room cheap, and was relieved to find a functioning shower that actually rivals mine back home!
Rested and restored, I ventured out to explore my surroundings. I was more than eager to sample the delights of the Pink City until, no more than 100 yards down the road from my hotel, I found myself once again swamped and being hounded by locals
I soldiered on, however, ultimately relying on petulant techniques such as answering in Welsh and stating in my thickest North-Walian accent "No Engleesh". This seems to be effective, albeit very childish - I am not proud.
I visited the Old City - its bustling bazaars and winding side-streets make for nice walks, though the heat is close to unbearable at times and again, tenacious locals are a pain. The City Palace, erected in the 1700s, was an interesting visit - here I saw the halls of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh who, according to the audio guide - was something of a hero - insisting on cleaning his own laundry, wrapping his own turban and on occassions, cooking his own meals; the founder of Jaipur is held in high regard. I also saw the largest Silver object in the world - enormous water jugs used for the Maharaja's visit to the UK. Which was nice.
My third day in Jaipur, and I decided to visit to Amber fort. Although the Mughal era forts do tend to be very similar, I was still hugely impressed with this one. Towering on a sheer cliff-edged mountain, the Amber palace stood proudly - the surrounding fort walls snaking up impossibly steep cliff faces
My friendly rickshaw-wallah took me back to the city and to the stunning temples of Gatore Ki Chhatriyan. Here I had an opportunity to take off my sandals, walk on the cool marble and sit in absolute peace. I decided to leave when a local boy spotted me and demand that I give him
"Ok. Your watch"
More than ready to leave Jaipur, I made my way to the railway station, where I booked a ticket for Agra - departure 6.10am tomorrow.
And so ends my short yet already-too-long stay at Jaipur.
I am now more than ready to reach the cool, laid-back areas of the North. I just sincerely hope that I can survive Agra and Delhi without having either a mental breakdown or a massive heart attack.
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