Off to Jaipur we go

Trip Start Dec 08, 2008
Trip End Dec 24, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Early rise, stomach still fine, cab a little early
Savita makes a nice breakfast
5 min into cab ride to train station we realize we forgot the lonely planet, no time to go back. Hope for the best.

Get to the train station looks totally sketch... dark, forboding, and not that populated. Like scary looking. We get cell phones ready to make emergency calls and go inside. We pass through a dark room with shadowy figures along the walls and pass out the other side onto the actual train platform. On the platform, most of the people were in business suits with briefcases, no beggars, and a smaller number of kids in school uniform... (do they take the train?)

Stand in dark for about 10 min before power comes on. Once the lights are on, everything looks quite nice actually. We wander around while the sun rises. Train 10 min late, we hop on the carriage we think is ours... but two guys in the seats on our tickets. Are we on the right car or not? Just take two empty seats. Me in the middle of a big indian family, father and 8yr daughter on right side of isle, mother with 3yr daughter on left side. The father tells the wife to move over so I end up with an empty seat next to me. Rebecca takes isle seat one row back. Both of us on isle, so consequently the train ride was cheap, but not very scenic.

Smaller girl gets a little restless a short while into trip. I fold up a corner of hindi newspaper and make an origami lotus blossom for her. She is shy at first, but her mother encourages her to take it. I think it might have lasted a full minute before being torn apart. Youngest girl moves around between seats (more family up a couple of rows) and eventually ends up with 8yr sister, both kinda restless now. So I pull out the archos, and put on some bollywood music clips and hand it to the father. They get all excited and start singing along to a Jab We Met song. It was really cute. For some reason after about 10 mintues, the father packs it all up and hands it back to me. I don't want to argue. He obviously had a good time with it because he was smiling big and giggled a couple of times while it was happening, but whatever. I think about how respect and graciousness are pretty universal, even across language barriers (the parents didn't speak any english, I think two of the kids knew a little bit)

Get to station, called by Dev, our cab driver referred to us by the driver we had in Agra. He had a sheet of paper with Rebecca's name and "from Delhi" on it he was holding up in the window of the station as we left. We walked outside and he took us to his car. His car was very clean and new looking, it was a very comfortable ride, and it was a very secure and friendly experience.

Dev (pronounced "Dave") suggested another hotel, pearl palace, it was booked, yet another that was a heritage hotel... we stopped by to take a look. The grounds were ok, the room was pretty nice, the bathroom was actually pretty exquisite. But not wanting to be conned, we wanted to actually see the place where we reserved a room. So we went there, saw the room, not so impressive, but it had wifi, which is kinda important for work, so we stuck with this place. Dropped our stuff off, realize that we don't have any of our traveller's checks because I left them at Bindu's for security (doh!) minor freak out, then realize we can use an ATM... But Rebecca is missing her debit card (double-doh!) but I've got mine (yay). We've still got a small pile of rupees, and a small pile of USD, so we figure we can manage. We got out and ask Dev to take us to an ATM, and he actually pulls out a big wad of bills and says "You have no money? I give you money, we go to ATM later and you pay me back then" WTF? Our cab driver is giving US money in the back of his cab... this is totally backwards!

took us to pizza hut (which is a sit-down place with waiters in India), Rebecca not feeling so hot. We ate chicken tandoori pizza, which was quite yummy. Rebecca's half was essentially chicken and pineapple, which agreed with her. Overall it was very nice.

Took us to gates of pink city, explained what that was all about. Then to a ancient astronomy/museum site and handed us off to a official tour guide. The tour guide was VERY helpful, explained much of the astronomy that we wouldn't have understood otherwise. The large sundial in this place is accurate to within 2 seconds. We checked the various instruments a couple of times during our tour and they were all right on... within seconds every time.

then maharaja museum - kinda neat, but kinda meh

Dev takes us to textile place. Their prices are a little high. There is one shawl there I fall in love with, but it's $40, and Rebecca keeps asking me what am I going to do with it? I can't find a good answer, so I let it go.

back to hotel for nap, Rebecca still not doing to well. She crashes hard, we both nap for about 2 hours, then go back out for dinner.

Get in car for dinner and there is another guy there, I'm thinking "this is it, we're gonna get mugged" but no, he's just a cousin getting a ride to pickup a car from the mechanic. I kept expecting this guy (Dev) to throw us some kind of curveball, but he keeps being totally legit. We are totally recommending him to all of our friends, we'll post contact info at some point. So Dev takes us to the rooftop restaurant of hotel pearl palace and it's amazing. Highest recommendations. You can't get any better than this place! It's super cheap, it has a great view, the service is pretty good for what it is. The food is delicious... well, at least their Indian food is. And did I mention CHEAP! So super cheap. Like amazing they can stay in business at those prices. Oh yeah, and the place has tons of character... hand-designed art all over the place... each chair is actually a rod-iron sculpture designed and built by Mr. Singh, the owner of the hotel. And for warmth they bring out these little metal turreen-type things filled with red-hot coals and the put one next to each table. They reminded me of some Indiana Jones movie for some reason... I guess that would be the second one, which by the way, we learned has been banned for life in India. That's right, it's impossible to get Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in any format in India. I heard somebody mention that the food scene with the monkey brains and snakes and stuff was the actual reason. I'm guessing it might also has something to do with a very blatant stereotype towards the Indian royalty, by who knows?

Anyway, we're hoping we can get a room at this place tomorrow.

After dinner, we go straight back to our room (at the other hotel) because Rebecca is still very very tired, and we're up at 9am tomorrow to so out and see more of the monuments.
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kirby on

Re: So did you get him paid back??
Oh yeah... Dev eventually took us to an ATM later in the day, we pulled out a bunch from my debit card account and we promptly paid him back. Once again it was one of things that seemed so strange as to be fishy... like there was some kind of scam going on. But there never was, it's just a different way of being. Dev was great and took care of us the whole time.

I'll look into the weather reports and stuff, because we're supposed to take Rebecca to the portland airport on the 25th, and I'm not gonig to be able to make that drive if I'm being killed from Jet-lag. So we'll look into it and see what our options are.

Dorothy Weeks on

enjoyed your travel log. We were there in 1968 see

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