December 30th, 2007 – by: moeddel
Gabi and I riding an elephant up to Amber Fort.
The road from Delhi to Jaipur made for an interesting journey and our first chance to see a little of the Indian country side. On our way outside of Delhi, we what appeared to be business districts that was followed by less populated areas. The ‘highway’ we were driving along was lined with what seemed like a continuous row of shops for miles until we eventually saw some countryside. There would be an occasional town along the way where houses and shops appeared to be a couple rows deep. Instead of passing carts being led by donkeys as you would see in most of the developing world, their carts were being led by camels. There is no official speed limit, but the quality of the roads and traffic essentially limits the speed to an average of around 35 mph.
The five hour journey was as always entertainment in itself (and Wade still managed to sleep most of the way).
A monkey enjoys some candy at Amber Fort.
Our hotel was nice but outside of the heard of the city and our first night was a relaxing one with no tour scheduled and a tour through the heart of the city which resembled what I really expected out of an Indian city: Complete chaos, cows in the road, monkeys climbing on near by buildings, what sounded like a constant stream of hundreds of car horns with bikes, mopeds, rickshaws and cars all fighting to get ahead.
We woke up the next morning and, as was the case in Delhi, had a descent American breakfast. Cornflakes and pancakes is better than I do in Ann Arbor.
We headed over to the Amber Fort that was built before Jaipur existed. While it would have been a lot quicker to walk or drive we couldn’t pass up the one hour long to wait and take the elephant up. Gabi and I shared an elephant and it was far more comfortable than the ride we had in the pouring rain in Thailand. The fort was nice and had an impressive wall the covered the mountains surrounding the city and made me think that is what ‘The Great Wall’ would look like.
After a few hour tour we stopped at a few shops on our way to the city centre. ‘Shops’ are ways for the tour companies to make some extra money and are common on many guided tours. In exchange for bringing you into over-priced shops the tour guide or company gets a kick-back.
While the first shop has some wonderful rugs for $1000 since I don’t really have a permanent home, it was hard for me to make a purchase. Gabi on the other hand had a few dresses tailored for $60 a piece with the hopes of wearing them on New Years Eve. Gabi doesn’t believe in negotiating even though she realizes she is paying 200% to 500% of what she could get it for. Wade on the other hand while try to get every single last cent out of the shopkeeper.
I will stop babbling about this city now since it wasn’t all that exciting. The city center had an interesting sundial and it was an interesting introduction to a more normal Indian city. I did get up and go for a short run before leaving town and realized that they don’t keep the street lamps on all night, but even a twenty minute run is better than nothing.