Day 10 Jaipur

Trip Start Feb 08, 2013
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 10 Jaipur
Today was a "free" day - meaning no guided visits, so we engaged Veero to take us to a few places.
First was the "Albert Hall" - a museum in a lovely building dedicated to Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert who was quite pally with the Maharajah of Jaipur and took a great interest in the place. Incidentally this Maharajah went on a ship to England in 1902 and brought with him 2 vast solid silver urns filled with water from the Ganges so he could drink and bathe in this and cleanse himself from too much contact with unclean folk!! They held 8000 litres of water!
Next we visited a modern Hindu temple called Birla temple - a white marble structure where we had to take our shoes off first. It seemed an airy space inside with a curtained off area. Then a bell rang and folk started assembling and they clapped happily when the curtains drew back. Effigies of Vishnu and Lakshmi were revealed with floral tributes and priests ringing bells and waving a conch shell and a plate shaped thingy with what looked like tea lights. Many devotees were singing along to the hymn?? and many had heads covered - including men with handkerchiefs on their heads.
Then a priest started throwing out holy water from the Ganges onto the devotees. I got splashed and a man told me I was very lucky and that I should approach the Gods and they would grant my wishes!
We had a vegetarian lunch in a restaurant called "The Peacock" - complete with Peacock chairs (see photo) - then drove out of town to the Naharghah fort - another hilltop palace now deserted with fantastic views over the city. A kindly security guard attached himself to us insisting on showing us all 9 of the identical suites used by the 9 Queens and their king. - when we indicated that we were quite happy to continue wandering on our own he demanded a tip!!!
One thing that has happened frequently so far is that we are approached by random groups of Indian strangers to pose in their photos!! I'm trying to view this as a complement rather than the thought that they see us as freaks!!!
One taste I love - Banana Lassi. Yum !
Another thing offered frequently at the end of a meal is a mouth freshener mix of aniseeds and sugar crystals. I love this!
We are getting to know Veero (Virander) better - he opens up more when its just him and us in the car. When the guides are present he let's on he can't speak English - but he does very well! He has a quirky turn of phrase e.g
"You looking Mam- is the Water Palace!"
"My brother who is small is coming - my wife wear veil!"
We've also noticed that men will hold hands or walk with arms around each other just in friendship here - no indication of homosexuality!
Often if I ask a question to a male stranger he will ignore me and only respond to Mick! They also will shake hands with Mick but not me, and will be taken aback if I am the one to offer payment when Mick is also there!
I don't think I could cope with being subservient on a continual basis here!
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Andrea Mukhtar on

Hi Estelle and Mick,
you made me laugh, again when you wondered why everyone was wanting their photo taken with you. It is strange to be so conspicuous . I also thought it funny your observations on men holding hands and just wanting to talk to the man present. It is the same in Pakistan and I think India is more westernised or used to Westerners than Pakistan and more people speak English in Indian than Pakistan and I think there is more tourism in India than Pakistan. However India is more multi ethnic than Pakistan which is predominabntly Islamic and this also has an influence. It is great that you are getting to see so many of the areas attractions. The photos are great you must have been very close to the decorated elephant . Chris likes the aniseed palet cleanser and lasssi milk drink also. Have you tried a drink called Green tea which is pink and flavoured with cardomen ? It is a spiced tea that is not the same as green tea that has become popular with some here? I liked the sign and yes there are some funny expressions used which you almost stop noticing you are so pleased to understand someone's English and accent.

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