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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Jaipur

The train ride from Agra to Jaipur was only about three hours and we were served a little meal on the ride which included a samosa, mango juice, hot tea and bottled water. We arrived in Jaipur and went through the usual hassle from all the cab/ tuk tuk drivers wanting  to give us a ride to a hotel. Luckily the hotel we booked this time offered pick up from the train station.

Our driver and tour guide quickly found us and carried our luggage to the tuk tuk (India's name for what we called an EZ bike in Bangladesh aka motorizd rickshaw). It took us about 20 minutes to get to the hotel. Our driver and guide told us that if we wanted a tour of the city the next day they could take us around for 300 Rupees. That's about $6 for an all day tour!  We got their phone number and said goodnight.

Angela had started getting pretty sick by the time we reached Jaipur. She had been having a bit of a cold but now stomache issues were setting in as well. We really liked our hotel here so we decided right away to extend our stay an extra night and just relax for a bit. On our first morning there we got up and went to have ayurvedic treatments. The ayurvedic place offered free cab service to and from the hotel, so it was a really great deal.

After that we walked through the downtown area a little bit and did some shopping. We had planned to go see a movie as there is a famous movie theatre in Jaipur, but the ticket line for the later movies wasn't open yet and after a bit of walking Angela was too sick to do anything else and just wanted to rest.

We went back to the hotel and I called our cab driver from the train station to set up a tour of Jaipur the following day. Khan and Samear met us the next morning to take us around the city. They took us to the monkey temple where I was able to hand feed monkeys some peanuts. The monkeys were really funny.  There were pigs and goats and cows on the way up to the temple as well, and the monkeys were often "riding" or sitting on top of one of the other animals.

Next we went to an old palace that was made from marble. There was a lady outside the temple known for her fancy work with Henna, but Angela and I both felt it was too expensive so we passed.

Next on our stop was Amber Fort. Amber Fort was really cool. It is this massive Fort that used to basically be a city within walls. There were tunnels and passageways and it took us a very long time to get through it and I'm sure we didn't see everything.

All the while we were viewing these treasures of Jaipur, the boys just waited by the tuk tuk for us to take us to the next place. They never joined us on the tours however, they explained many things to us on the way to each place and before we would go in. Always telling us to take as much time as we needed and finding some sort of marker to help us find the tuk tuk again when we came back out.

Hawa Mahal
On the way into town we passed the floating palace and stopped to take some photos. Then we were in downtown where another palace is as well as the Hawa Mahal (a place where royal women could watch the city without being seen) but sadly our time had passed too quickly and these landmarks were already closed for the day.

We had such a good time with our hosts that we offered to take them out to dinner. They reluctantly accepted and we went into the LMB building which came highly recommended for vegetarian meals in lonely planet. Once we got our table I excused myself to go to the restroom. In the restroom I ran into the same girl that I befriended in Kolkata who was able to take a photo of me with Seane Corn!  Her name is Bianca and she had finished her "off the mat into the world" tour and was now travelling some other parts of India with her brother. We chatted for a bit and it turns out that she works for Lululemon in Florida and teaches yoga classes there. We exchanged emails and then went back to our separate parties for dinner.
Floating Palace

At dinner I mentioned that I had wanted to get my nose pierced. The two guys agreed that I should and Khan insisted that I must get a ring and not a stud because it would suit my nose well. After dinner we went across the street and purchased a nose ring, but I don't think the guys understood that I still needed a needle to be pushed through the skin so that I could wear the nice little ring. We  finally got them to understand that I didn't already have a hole there and they proceeded to drive all over town looking for somewhere to pierce my nose. We did not have success so I went home for the evening with a still sadly undecorated nose. We made plans for the guys to pick us up the next morning to take us back to the train station.

At 6 am we headed to the train station to try and buy our tickets. No seats available. We went and had some iced coffee at the station cafe and came back to try for the 8 am train. No seats available. The guys drove us to the bus station but the buses were on strike that day and we could not take a bus to New Delhi. We had to get to Delhi today because Angela was flying out of Delhi the following day.

The guys took us to a nearby hotel that was run by a friend of theirs and we left our luggage there. That hotel also had contacts with a travel agent and they said they could get us on the 1PM train. Khan and Samear took us to a rooftop restaurant where we had breakfast together. We told them not to worry about us, that they could go enjoy their day, but they refused to leave us. We had some good conversations, checked our emails and I taught the guys a little yoga.

We went back to get our train tickets and found out we could only get tickets for the 5PM train. Angela and I were getting very stressed and frustrated and also felt like we were stealing the day from the guys. We were told that we were guaranteed seats on the 5PM train and we purchased the tickets.

Khan and Samear
We went back to the rooftop restaurant and spent out entire day there. The biggest problem was that there was a transportation strike that day and so we couldn't go anywhere by cab or tuk tuk. Our guides would have gotten in trouble for taking us. When they finally dropped us off at the train station for our 5PM journey to Delhi, we tried to pay them for their day, but they refused saying we were not their customers anymore but their friends.



Monkeys turning on water faucet
Monkey cleaning a pig



Brahman sitting in front of temple

Intricate Marble work

Amber Fort Exterior

Amber Fort Interior




Bats on the ceiling of Amber Fort


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