Fighting and vomiting in Jaipur
Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
273Trip End Oct 08, 2008
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But we weren't going to fall for any of that crap. Oh no, we had picked out a hotel that was within walking distance of the bus station and were simply going to walk around the corner.
Now before I talk about this let me mention that throughout Central and South America I managed to navigate almost every city with no problem. India doesn't work that way. As we soon found out, the distances and roads so boldly sketched out in Lonely Planet have almost no correlation with the actual city
I came back unsuccessful to find that I had left them just as an angry mob developed and started smashing bottles. I missed the details but they were well taken care of and sheparded out of harm's way by helpful Indians. At this point Erin claimed she had actually seen the sign for our hotel, but now it was down a road that seemed rather unsafe at this point. It was pretty strange to see all the shops on the street suddenly shut their metal shopfronts. Needless to say, we got a tuk tuk out of there.
Our new choice was the lovely Evergreen Guesthouse. After checking in, we went downstairs to try out their RESTAURENT (their spelling, not mine), mostly so we wouldn't have to go outside again. It had a rather entertaining menu (spegiti anyone?) and we wrote our order down on a pad of paper. Emily was writing. She wanted a couple 2L bottles of water, not the little ones. The water listing was either regular water or special water. Logically, for any other place perhaps, she assumed that special water was the big bottle. So she ordered two. She even confirmed it with the waiter (So, we get the 2L bottle, right?).
Ten or fifteen minutes later the waiter emerged and set a 2L bottle of water down on the table in front of us. It was a neon, sewage green.
The expression on our faces was probably priceless. We all stared at it for maybe ten seconds with our mouths open. Then we asked the waiter what he had done to our water. He claimed it had mint and lemon and was very good. We decided to go for it.
Thinking back, its pretty easy to see how this came about. One serving of special water is a liter. We wanted two liters, as Emily insisted upon. So he took two servings of special water and put it in the 2L bottle, just like we asked for. It actually was pretty good.
I was the first one to throw up at around 3 in the morning. I had an encore performance early in the morning. Erin followed me in the morning. Emily later still. To be fair, it didn't have to be the special water. It could have been the other food we had that evening. I guess we'll never know.
Erin got the worst of it
We made our way into the old city and finally found our way up the lamdmark minaret to get the lay of the confusing land. We had a great view from up here. The pink city doesn't really live up to it's name, but some of the buildings in the center are a dusty pink. We could see the Tiger Fort looming over the city, the Palace nearby, and the very cool astronomical observatory, Jantar Mantar, below.
Our first stop was the palace. They have a pretty cool habit of giving you an entry ticket with an included postcard here. We started in the main courtyard with a textile museum. The highlight here is the robe worn by a ruler here reputed to be almost 2 meters... across. Needless to say, its a big robe.
From here we passed into another red courtyard. Two giant silver urns live here. It is said that when the ruler was invited to London, he filled these with dirty Ganges water and brought them along. He didn't want to drink anything else. My favorite place was the armoury, which had an amazing collection of various weapons of destruction.
The final attraction was a series of painted gateways for the four seasons and a nice view of the palace.
We wanted to make a quick stop at the Mawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, before hitting Jantar Mantar. We were one block up from the main road and decided we could easily make our way the three or four blocks to the intersecting street.
Of course that didn't happen. We found ourselves wandering into a part of Jaipur that tourists rarely see. The lane became small and winding. There were cloth shops here. The walls were blue and the streets ran red with dye. We pass an alley with four dead dogs surrounded by flies. A bored onlooker throws rocks at them
The Hawa Mahal is a giant facade of pink windows that was used by royal women to spy on the activity below. It was a lot more interesting on the outside then on the inside.
From here we again got lost on our way back to my personal favorite, Jantar Mantar (say it a couple times out loud). We got a guide to briefly explain the fantastical looking sculptures, which actually turned out to be instruments. We started out with the "little" sundial, which was actually quite big. It showed Jaipur local time, which was 19 minutes off from Indian time
Emily wasn't feeling very well so we caught a cycle rickshaw back to our hotel. After a little while it became obvious that he had absolutely no idea where he was going, so we directed him with taps on the shoulder.
Erin greeted us by throwing up and we all fell asleep around 6.
In the morning we had some great honey lemon ginger tea (about a pound of ginger in a tiny tea pot), and then caught an autorickshaw out to Amber Fort.
Our driver was the friendliest (and most annoying), autorickshaw driver in history. His cute line was: "Pay what you like, I just like to practice English with tourists because I like you." Don't worry, I made him spit out a price. It wasn't cheap. He didn't stop talking for the entire 11km. He asssured us that he could take us on a city tour for only 600 rupees (no thank you), stop at every sight along the way to take pictures (no thanks we're kind of in a hurry), and then stopped to get some food for all of us (please just take us to the fort!)
The gimmick at Amber Fort is that you can hire a big painted elephant to carry you up the hill. The only other option is a jeep. We wanted the free and unmentioned choice...walking for five minutes. Tourists still have the right to walk for free!
It was fun to see the elephants trundling up the hill and through the gate and to wander around this massive yellow palace on a hill. The interior contained a glittering hall covered in silver glass and inlay. It was quite impressive. Another fort loomed even farther up the hill and walls snaked over the surrounding hills.
Our friendly rickshaw driver drove us back, and of course we had to go with him to the bus station as well (pay what you like). He didn't trust us to make our own decision and insisted that the government bus was terrible and forced us (in a friendly way) to go to a tourist agent. They didn't have a bus going that day, and I wouldn't have taken it anyway. I was ready to strangle him.
The bus to Pushkar was just fine. At one stop, we had sellers banging on our windows to get our attention. One guy yelled in the door as it closed:
"100% Indian water! No side effects!"