Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
The Palms
What I did
Amber (Amer) Fort and Palace Jaipur
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Saturday, September 15, 2012

 Doris was feeling a bit dopey this morning, more so than normal, and Fred was suffering from gritty eyes, due to the dry dusty streets.  With those two feeling a bit under par we decided to have a quiet morning, re-charge our batteries and do a bit of catching up on our blog.  We have had a few wifi failures, but I have to say we have been pleasantly surprised that most of the smaller hotels we have stayed in have offered free internet access.  The rest of our group (with the exception of Ewan - who we have just learnt has finally got the trots)  have caught a bus to visit the Amber Fort.  Fred is now the last man standing, he has yet to get the shits.  He may have gritty eyes, but that's about it.  Watch this space.

  Bit of a downpour before we left the hotel, which was ideal as it settled the dust.  Negotiated a good price with an auto-rickshaw driver to take us to the Amber Fort.  We were travelling along the main road, climbing steadily up towards the Fort, when suddenly our driver took a detour down a dirt track - a couple of rickshaw drivers who had been following us up the road also turned off.  My heart was starting to pound a little as the road was well off the beaten track and the other rickshaws had no passengers.  I think we were all feeling a little anxious.  Next thing Fred asks the driver in his sternest voice why we had come this way.  He then told him to turn around and go back to the main road, and take us to the Fort.   With a very familiar wobble of his head, the driver told us that he was taking us to the best place to take a photo of the Fort. This of course was a complete load of bunkum - what they were actually doing was avoiding the corrupt police who regularly stop the rickshaw drivers on that stretch of road on the pretence of checking their vehicles.  A payment is expected if they want to keep operating as an auto- rickshaw driver.  I was rather relieved to loop back around onto the main road as we had been bumping along on nothing more than a goat track for about ten minutes, but I was even more relieved that we hadn't been robbed or murdered  - which is where my imagination was going when we first took the detour. 
 The Amber Fort was very impressive, it's surrounded by something that resembles the Great Wall of China.  Had we all been fit this morning we would have spent about 3hrs there, but we only had time for a quick look.  Fortunately we didn't have to take the goat track back as the police only operate on one side of the road.  One of the highlights of our trip to the Fort was the lovely view of Nellie the elephant as she followed us down the road - she looked quite happy as she swung her trunk from side to side.  I guess her work was done for the day and she was on her way home.  Come to think of it, we've not seen many elephants since we've been in India.
  Fred asked our driver to take us to a beer shop on the way back to the hotel.  Five minutes later the driver spotted a bottle shop on the opposite side of the road.  Suddenly he made a desperate charge for it through the oncoming traffic - no surprises there!  Without warning there was a tremendous bang as our auto-rickshaw almost disappeared down a massive big pot hole - and I mean big!  The poor old driver banged his bonce and nearly knocked himself out.  Fred hit the ceiling and banged back down hard and me & Doris got off lightly with a bit of bottom jarring.  I thought here we go again.  I could just see the headlines TOURISTS DISAPPEAR IN HUGE POTHOLE.  I am beginning to wonder if we will ever manage to travel anywhere without incident.  Highly unlikely!
 It's an early night tonight as we will be up at sparrow fart tomorrow to catch the bus to Bharatpur - really looking forward to that.  So it's goodnight from me & it's goodnight from him.
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