Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So, with our "general" tickets we made our way to the platform rather than the first class waiting room (as we were accustomed to doing) and couldn't find any indication of how late the train was going to be. The information office had pointed us in the right direction and also told us that it would be possible to get on to B1 or B2 carriage and pay the ticket collector (TC) for an upgrade.

Imagine our surprise and delight when the train rolled into the station just ten minutes behind schedule! We were even more excited to discover that the train did indeed have a couple of air-conditioned cars but, upon finding the TC, that excitement was soon dashed when we discovered that all carriages were full other than the sleeper cars. The sleeper cars are the ones most people think of when they think of Indian trains, with the bars on the windows and people hanging out of the doors. Our luck was in as the first carriage we boarded had ample space for the four of us and our luggage and we settled in for the two hour ride to Jaipur. Sharing this section of the carriage was a lovely Indian family with whom we shared some very pleasant conversation all the way to Jaipur. Despite the rising mercury outside and dry barren landscapes, the temperature inside was tolerable due to ceiling fans. Derek and Sarah sat by the window, thinking that the breeze would be cooling – wrong….the air flow through the window was warmer than a hair dryer and thickly laden with dust – no wonder so many people were closing the wooden screens. Sarah, however, was determined to watch the countryside roll past and was consequently rather grubby by the time we reached Jaipur!

Touts here seem to be a lot more aggressive here than they were in Sawai Madhopur, but that’s not altogether surprising. Our hostel was providing a free ride to the hostel and didn’t keep us waiting long. It was a fairly quick transfer to the Krishna Palace and our room is the nicest we’ve had in India. With not much time to spare in Jaipur, we booked an air-conditioned car to see the highlights in one afternoon; the pink city, the observatory and the city palace. The pink city is, well, pinkish … though you could be forgiven if your opinion was “orange” or in some lights “scarlet” … and we weren’t even there at sunset. The observatory was well worth a visit and we thoroughly enjoyed checking out the time on an impressive array of ancient sundials and the like. The larger ones were particularly remarkable, with one showing time to the nearest two seconds! Unfortunately we spent so long inside the observatory, that there was only ten minutes left to visit the palace and we decided it really wasn’t worth the entry fee and settled for an ice-cream and some more tout jousting instead!

Truth be told, the main purpose for our visit to Jaipur was to take a flight to Goa and so the next morning saw us leave the hostel bright and early bound for the airport. Our previous airport experience in India had not been good and so we prepared for the worst. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Jaipur has a very modern, clean, well-run airport with an excellent bookstore…..if you’ve been reading our earlier entries you’ll be well acquainted with the Moody family’s weakness for books, and so by the time we boarded the aircraft we had several new acquisitions in our possession!

According to our internet research there aren’t any direct flights from Jaipur to Goa, and so we had to go via Mumbai incurring a four hour layover. Normally, a layover feels like a waste of time, but on this occasion it proved to be quite useful as we were able to use that time to find ourselves a hotel in Goa. Just in the nick of time, Derek managed to find a pretty swanky looking hotel that was running an awesome summer deal including transfers to and from the airport. The question was, would they be able to get a driver to the airport in time as Derek had verbally booked over the phone just five minutes before boarding our one hour flight from Mumbai to Dabolim, Goa? Guess we’ll find out when we get there…
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