Monday, June 27, 2011

Jaipur, Rajasthan

Like most of India, Jaipur is a juxtaposition between absolutely beauty and squalor; unrelentless begging, and totally selfless help. It's known as the pink city and the walls are literally lined with pink buildings and gates. Its really beautiful, and you can tell really unmaintained. You know if it were in America it would look like Disney.

Upon arrival we had a super helpful taxi who led us to a really nice, although a bit out of our budget, hotel. He clearly got a commission for bringing us there, but it was clean and had AC. He also gave me his number (Call me Jay for Jaipur) and said if we ever needed anything, he's our man. That truely is the Indian way. We swicthed to a slightly cheaper(with wifi!) room for the next two nights.

It's desert hot here!! Day one we went into the old city and walked around. It's clearly a tourist sight and the vendors won't let you forget it. They are on your tail the entire time. "Peacock feathers? Chess game? Taxi?" It doesn't end. As you walk through the city it's bustling with activity. People running shops, selling stuff on the streets, shoe cleaners, begging children (theyre vicious) and elephants horse and camels just pulling stuff down the street. You get the feeling you're in Aladdin. We saw Old City and took a bus up to the Amber Fort. It was definitely the most breath-taking, coolesst thing we saw here. You hike up stairs to this massive fortress and climb through the secret pathways. There were no shortage of people, but it was kind of refreshing to see it in it's natural state. You can tell no one came in and repainted in the past 300 years. And there were snake charmers and elephant rides. haha Go India.

Day 2 was pretty rainy in the am, but cleared in the afternoon. We took an autorickshaw to Monkey Temple. Its a run down temple (read stone box) with thousands of monkeys. Th monkeys know the tourists all have peanuts in their pockets so they swarm you. It was pretty ridiculous. Then these little (maybe 8 eyars old?) kids come and say they'll be your "monkey protector." ha anything to make a buck. It's really sad to see how many children are put to work on their starving families behalves, but there's just so many, and once you pay one they literally swarm and pull and poke at you. So you just have to ignore it. Post Temple we were a little touristed out, so we went to the theater in town for a Bollywood show. They have 4 showings a day, all of the same movie. And man is this the place to be!! It's a Monday afternoon at 3:30 and theater was packed! Teh movie was absolutely amazing. Ready was all in Hindi, but Paul and I think we got the gist of it. And every hour or so they break out into the crazy Bollywood dance scenes. Paul and I have been dancing ever since.

Today's another overcast day. Were going to bus it over to Puskar, South West of here. They have an annual camel festival in March, but were going for the lake. Hopefully swimming will be involved!

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