Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The train journey was short so we were in the hostel in Jaipur in no time. It's one of the better hostels with free WiFi, a big room, warm shower and satellite tv (which unfortunately is needed as there's so little to do in the evenings)!

We ventured out to go to the Pink City which is the old walled part of the city and is what Jaipur is famous for. It is also on the popular tourist route of the 'Golden Triangle' which is the Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur route. We we got a cycle rickshaw from our hostel and about 20 minutes later we were at the entrance to one of the gates.

As we got off the guy said why have we come here? - we hope he meant because it was Sunday and it was quieter! We also didn't have any change for the rickshaw so a guy standing near by gave us some change in exchange for our 100 (and they weren't even fake notes) which was very nice of him!

We wandered up the main bizarre, watched a religious parade/festival, and got continuously stopped by people wanting to talk to us. Everyday and all day we have people say 'hello, what's your name, where you from' and they are being nice and just generally interested and we always talk back and ask questions but you have to judge instantly whether the person is friendly or has another agenda! The men stopping us in Jaipur old city seemed like they had another agenda, it just didn't feel right! They kept telling us they weren't selling anything but recommended that we should go to the water temple, which would be the best thing we ever do! But we kept making excuses, and then low and behold his friend pulls up...in his tuk-tuk! 

That immediately rings alarm bells and 1+1 equals something fishy so we walk away and that's the end of it. 

What annoyed us the most is we felt bad for coming across as rude as we walked away. But the tuk-tuk showing up proved he wasn't just trying to be helpful. It's hard when these situations occur, but you just have to trust your instincts.

We did something touristy and went to the Hawa Mahal which is a famous site (see photos with elephant walking in front of it!)

On the way back we got a McDonalds. It was planned, we found it on map before we left and it tasted like the best McDonald's we've ever had! 

We walked back to the hostel and came across the festival that was on earlier. This time they were lighting fireworks in the street which looked very unstable and left Kris hiding behind Emma!

We noticed a couple of guys looking at us before they walked over. After our incident earlier in the day we thought we'd start trying a few new tactics for these situations. We sucessfully used the 'we are students and today is our last day' story earlier in the day! This time we decided to go with the story that we were foreigners that couldn't speak much English. We were told by a local that we should pretend to be from a poor country, as we then won't be bothered as.much. So when the guy starts asking us where we're going Kris pretends not to understand, and when he asked which country we were from, after a few moments of pretending not to understand for some unknown reason Kris replies Israel! (He said it was because we were mistaken for Israelis whilst in Udaipur) Well this delights the guy as he starts going on about being about being our Muslim brother and knew some Israeli!! Oops, probably not the best choice of nationality then. He makes actions to say he has a cycle rickshaw and Kris makes gestures to show hotel isn't far. It seemed to work but we won't be Israeli again Haha!

The next day or afternoon, as we have been having mamouth 12 hour sleeps, we got a tuk-tuk for half day. We started at the Royal Gaitor which was nice for a wonder, very peaceful and quiet. We then headed to Amber Fort. It was pretty good, lots of walkways to get lost in. There were a lot of tourists here, especially Japanese or South Koreans (which also make up a lot of the backpacker contingent too).

On our way back we stopped at the water palace, which looked nice but was just a quick photo stop, so not sure why they wanted us to go there the day before so badly.

The tuktuk then wanted to take us to a textile shop. He didn't really stop talking about all the 'crafts' we could buy until we gave in. We wonder around the 'factory', which was really 3 rooms of staged workers and then into the shop. There were loads of tourists so its obviously part of everyone's stop. We looked at cushion covers as we had thought about getting some before. We were then pleasantly surprised to see they were cheap. We bought 2 then left. The tuk tuk driver then took us to a silver shop, because 'this city is famous for silver' (as has every city we've been to India!). We bought nothing and eventually made it back. 

The tuk-tuk driver was nice but they are crafty devils. You have to double check everything before setting off. So we expect the day before they would have taken us to the water palace and then shops. They get comission for even taking you.

The next day we went to the city palace, a chunk of it was shut due to a wedding, and it wasnt that great. After that we went to 'Jantar Mantar' and it turned out to be pretty interesting. Large sculptures that tell the time, date, star signs, distances etc had been created about 200 years ago. An unexpected good hour with some interesting photos.

Jaipur had lots of good sights, and has filled 3 halfish days!

On another note people fly kites everywhere in the evening and the string goes everywhere, roads, trees, pylons etc. Emma walked into some of the string and it cut her nose and eye - or the locals have cut fingers from flying them. Its not normal kite thread, its like wire!

Onto Agra next and the main reason why we came to India, to see the famous Taj Mahal.



Paul D
Come on Emma....Man up, make Kris walk in front. Kris ... should have said you were from Wales to confuse them
when are you coming home again, you both look like you could do with a good meal, you look so thin.Is looks horrid there,,
Kris and Emma
They haven't got a clue 'what' Wales is never mind where it is! We are staying away from the curries at the moment as our bellies can't take it any more! Big breakfasts are the key. Kris has lost weight but planned to after Christmas!!!

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