As mentioned earlier the Grand Park Inn was a simple hotel. Rooms were spacious and had everything you needed. Staff were friendly but there was one big disadvantage with the Grand Park Inn: the dining hall, which was everything but grand. This morning it was packed (with 10 persons), so we had to wait a while before we could sit down. As a result we left Delhi at , 15 minutes later than planned.
Kimi entered Highway #8 for the 260 km drive to Jaipur. After beating the traffic around Delhi we arrived at the border of the Rajasthan, the Land of Kings, around 11 o' clock.
On Highway nr. 8, India
We took a short coffee break at a restaurant along the highway and continued our journey southwards.
At we passed the magnificent Amber Fort and arrived at Jaipur. Kimi had a quick encounter with hisfather, who seemed to be driving another group. Strange enough his father had been a poor farmer the day before and single Kimi had also gained a wife and daughter in 24 hours. Seemingly not all of his stories were very trustworthy.
After having a nice Indian lunch in a place recommended by Kimi (that most probably commissioned him) he brought us to the DiggiPalace hotel. This turned out to be a lovely place well outside the chaotic centre of Jaipur, with a large garden and - yes! - a large restaurant! After dropping our bags in our room and discussing the plans for tomorrow with Kimi he dropped us off at one of the gates of the OldCity.
Jaipur, the capital and largest city of Rajasthan, was founded by Jai Singh II, who ruled in the 18th century. The increase in population in his initial capital, the nearby Amber, was the reason he built Jaipur after consulting several books on architecture and Indian astronomy, making it the first planned city in India. The resulting town consisted of blocks and had the form of an eight-part mandala. When the Prince of Wales visited the city in 1876 the buildings were painted pink to welcome him. To this day the city still shows this warm colour, hence the nickname PinkCity.
Well past four o' clock we passed the gate and entered the streets of the old city.
This was the real India, dirty and crowded streets full of people, cows, packed with shops all selling the same stuff. Stepping over cow shit and trickles of human urine. Being hassled from every side by rickshaw drivers, beggars and merchants. We loved it ... In a weird sort of way. Within a minute we were completely lost. Jai Singh town's design might have been the best planned in India, finding our location on the map still proved to be a mission impossible. After dwelling around for some time we finally found a landmark in the amazing Hawa Mahal, a five story building full of windows that was constructed in 1799 to enable to king's wives, who weren't allowed outside the palace, to see what was happening outside. Unfortunately it was already five o' clock and the buildings were closing. So we decided it was time for a beer, but finding a bar proved to be even more difficult than finding our location on the map.
Eventually - after I almost got strangled by a little beggar girl pulling my Cambodian krama scarf - we wandered back into the garden of the Diggi Palace hotel, slumped in some chairs and ordered two big bottles of Indus Pride beer, a Rajasthan brew. We stayed in the garden for a while, enjoying our drinks, ordering spring rolls and discussing all things beautiful and difficult about life. Around eight we went inside the restaurant for a meal, after which we uploaded some pictures in the hotel's cyber café. The day concluded with a nice glass of Drambuie back in our room.
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