The pink city...
Jaipur Travel Blog› entry 11 of 12 › view all entries
January 7th, 2008 – by: Raches
The guesthouse: We stayed at a place called Evergreen, picked out of the Lonely Planet. It wasn't anything to write home about (hot water by the bucket) but the inhouse cafe was good enough for breakfast. It was also nice staying somewhere with a common area and we met an Icelandic backpacker, Egill (he said to call him Erik for ease of pronounciation).
Sightseeing: Jaipur is famous for a couple of things, including the Jantar Mantar, an observatory with intriguing instruments made of stone and marble, on a grand scale, to read time and horoscopes by the stars.
We were accosted by, and gave in to, a persistent rickshaw driver, John, who took us to another ruined palace and the Water Palace - a red sandstone thing floating on a body of smelly water. We did the usual stop-by-a-couple-of-shops-quickly thing and only bought one thing.
John invited us back to his house - these are the sorts of invitations you just can't refuse (not because it causes offence, but because when else would you be offered an opportunity to have a glimpse into the life of a rickshaw driver/ordinary Indian person?).
We drank beer and smoked flavoured cigarettes (gadang garums) while John, his wife and Pooja prepared chapati and curry for us. Only John had any grasp of English which made things interesting, sometimes funny. Dinner was chapati and 4 types of curry, including a very good and very spicy chicken curry. After many hugs and kisses and a big tip, we chalo'ed out of there. Although John really wanted to take us to Amber Fort the next day and invited us back for a feast, we felt a tad uncomfortable after he tried to sell me his wife's shawl and talked about partner swapping.
Amber Fort: 11km away from Jaipur is the town of Amber which is home to a big palace and massive fort. The palace has many secret corridors, rooms and stairways. The fort was a steep walk up but worth it, with spectacular views and a big cannon on wheels. There were a few elephants and camels around, the elephants decorated with chalk. We had our first encounter with 'hidras', hermaphrodites, dressed as women, who act quite conspicuously, talking loudly and generally being melodramatic.
Food: On our last night, we ate dinner with Erik at a pure veg restaurant near the guesthouse. We made some sort of mistake in our ordering... everything looked the same in sludgy brown sauce and 2 dishes snuck in paneer (it's in almost everything!). This caught up with A later when he threw up his dinner back at the guesthouse. We did have cake after the dinner at Mamu's, a western sort of cafe which has everything from hot and sour soup, to nachos, chow mein and cake on the menu.
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