Saturday, September 16, 2006

Jolly Jaipur

Leaving the Taj behind us, we made for Jaipur in Rajasthan. A lovely desert state that perhaps is one of the richest in India. The train journey was much less adventurous than the Calcutta-Agra episode. Sitting side by side with families piled high, belongings fitting wherever possible, everyone making way for the sleepy child to rest (or sprawl) on the bench seats.

The rickshaw (tuk tuk) drivers abound as they hound you to use their services. Its kind of like at school when in PE "captains" had to pick teams. You can picture it can't you? People jumping up and down waving their hands frantically trying to get your attention and yelling "Pick me! Pick me!". As there is an abundance of these poor souls crying for attention, the tourist can weild some degree of power. Tourists with power? Yipee! So you bargain. Hard. Because there is always someone who will agree to your price. Our young chap, very well spoken and very polite managed to get us to agree to a city tour the following day. He was a very good tourguide. Moonlighting as an avangelistic philosopher. I know, strange huh? But this in a nutshell is India. A place of wonderful contradictions, packaged very nicely in good manners.

In previous posts I have mentioned Indian traffic. Jaipur gave us the modern world of technology, the eco friendly transport, and the historic method all in one. Camels mixed with cycle carts, mixed with mopeds or scooters, mixed with horse-drawn vheicles, mixed with pedistrians, mixed with belching-black-plumes-of-exhaust-multicoloured trucks, mixed with ox-drawn carts, mixed with new and late model cars. Throw in the camel snorts, the swaying ox heads, the horn-honking and the yelling, and this is a day in the traffic of the old city of Jaipur. Somewhat more noisy than the traffic of yesteryear me thinks.
The old city is wonderful. A long main street absolutely packed with stalls or shops selling everything that Rajasthan is famous for.

So we spent a week in Jaipur. Chillin' out. Doing not much. Venturing out to the local tourist haunts. Eating very well and suffering no consequences. Wo-hoo! We were most unpopular with auto-rickshaw drivers when they discovered we'd been in Jaipur for a week and did no longer fancy hearing "Can I just say one thing?", or "My friend has a good shop. You look one minute. No charge".

So we escaped to a little village, Samod. In the middle of nowhere. Wonderful!!

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