Jaipur - The Amber City

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

I wake up feeling much better but still not 100% by any stretch.  Maybe it was chance, but yesterday wa the first day that I didn't eat really, and what I did eat was a lamb burger from the Hilton... coincidence that I feel better today? 

Today we visit the Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal (palace of winds) and the Jaipur Observatory.  The Amber Fort is cool but definitely not as cool as some of the other impressive compounds we have visited.  For me the only new and interesting aspect is the wall that incorporates the entire city.  Oh, and let's not forget about the fact that the king had secret passage ways that led into each one of 12 apartments where his various wives lived.  Unfortunately for them, they were primarily chosen based on political alliances the kingdom wanted to nail down, excuse the pun.

A short elephant ride was somewhat less than exciting, although Jorge was able to make a new friend out of the encounter.  I think he is secretly developing plans to unite the animal kingdom, but more on that later. Side note: the elephants were beautifully painted/henna tattooed which was pretty cool.

On to the observatory Jantar Mantar, and here we see something new and amazing! 
The complex has numerous sun dials, including the largest in the world, as well as various zodiac and astrological instruments that are so precise that they can still tell time within 2 seconds.  Apparently, these sorts of things are still used to determine not only who you should marry, but when you should marry him or her. 
Imagine what would happen if someone tried to tell me to get married to a pisces who was born at 5:15am... let alone, just to get married!

Next we went to do some shopping at a fabric store and after a good hour, we left with some pretty cool items!  And then we went to a handicrafts store where we got a few more awesome gifts. 

Things weren't too cheap but definitely a lot less than what we would have paid back home.

Dinner comes at Spice Court, which was spicy but not as bad as the name had me fearing.  Traditional dancers complemented the outdoor dinner and the music wasn't half bad either.  After dinner we stopped in at a local wedding party which was unbelievable!  Everyone was so friendly, except for the bride and groom, who seemed unhappy at best.  Apparently 95% of marriages are arranged still, so maybe that was the reason for the long faces they shared. 
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