Day 138: Monkeys, Pigs, Cows, Goats, and Dogs...

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Nov 19, 2011

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Friday, July 1, 2011

Another late start to the day and more laundry handed over to the reception thanks to the great job they did on our first load, we were on our way to finally do some sightseeing in Jaipur.

We arranged for a rickshaw driver the hotel trusted to drive us around for the afternoon…thankful to not have to worry about the constant arguments that ensue at the end of most auto rides.  Naturally, on the way to the old city, we stopped at the usual tourist trap store that drivers take you to in hopes of you buying something they get a cut of.  I took advantage of the cool air and free tea as the shop owner attempted to sell us a suit, sari, scarf, duvet cover and wall tapestry.  We said no thank you about 200 times and walked back empty handed to our disappointed driver.

Our first stop was the old city palace which encompassed a complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings.  It was oddly lacking of exhibits, except for two rooms, one filled with old costumes from a heifer of a former king weighing in at 550 lbs, the other an armory filled with old ceremonial weapons.  We were shown around the armory by a friendly guard, very knowledgeable about the different means of torture inflicted by these weapons, and then very demanding of a tip at the end.

We drove around more in the bazaar area of the old city as our driver continued to try to stop at shops and we continued to urge him on.  Our last stop was at Galta temple complex, also known as Monkey Temple due to the dozens of monkeys that hang around in hopes of getting some sucker to feed them.  At this point in the journey, I was feeling like if you've seen one monkey, you’ve seen them all.  Sure enough we pulled up to begging monkeys but also something we weren’t expecting; not only were there monkeys but the garbage infested area was also teeming with cows, dogs, cats, goats, pigs and birds.  It was a fascinating scene to watch all of these animals fighting over piles of rubbish.

It was a long, winding cobblestoned walk up to the temple and with so much 'wildlife’ for John to photograph, it took us over an hour to reach the top.  When we did, we were treated to another great view of the city but without the anticipated sunset thanks to the heavy pollution.  While waiting for the never to materialize sunset we were approached by a young chatty Indian girl who lived at the temple and was probably turning on the charm in hopes of some money.  She never did ask for any but she did entertain us by dancing and making fun of John.

Back at the hotel in anticipation of a cold shower, we ran into the Spaniard we met in Darjeeling, another example of how small this world is.  He had stories of how terribly hot Delhi was and the torture he endured in that heat while attending a meditation retreat for a long 10 days….with heat rashes to prove it.  I was already not looking forward to our planned visit to that city and this story did not help with my reluctance.

We went to bed full from food and beer from our favorite rooftop restaurant, hoping for a stress free travel day ahead of us…
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