Gimme a pizza

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 21, 2004

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, December 10, 2004

Our first Indian bus experience - Agra to Jaipur. Not too bad apart from the constantly crying kid behind us & the over use of the bus horn. Every vehicle in India has a horn & it is used constantly for all manner of reasons: as a warning to get out of the way before you get squished, as a reminder that I'm behind you & most importantly get out of the way, I'm bigger than you & therefore I'm going to overtake you. For the first 2 hours of the journey the longest time the bus driver went without using the horn was 1min 42 secs (Paul timed him, yes, it was one of those days). The journey by the way was 5 hours! Time went a bit quicker as we met a bloke called Roberto who's family are from Italy but he was born & bred in Rochadale & now lives in Amsterdam. Spent most of the time in Jaipur with Roberto which was great because we didn't have to talk to eachother - it's been 5 months for God's sake. Conversations like 'Jeez your feet stink' & 'Will you stop spending so much money' do not make the long nights go any faster.

Our ears ringing & nerves shattered we finally pulled into Jaipur bus station with an escort of tuk-tuk drivers running beside us. As the bus pulled into its bay a Tourist Policeman appeared from nowhere, rounded up the tuk-tuk drivers & held the at bay whilst we disembarked & sorted ourselves. Seeing that the drivers were champing at the bit to get at us but daren't move because of the policeman's threats we decided to taunt them. Slowly getting our bags ready, having a smoke & planning the route we were going to walk to the hotel. Once they got their hands on us the tuk-tukers were extremely disappointed that there was no way they were going to be conning any cash out of us that day.

Jaipur itself is nice enough with a modern feel. What we mean by that is that there are proper shops with prices shown & everything (God it's going to be tough going into Boots & not questioning the price of goods & not having to haggle & ask for the best price & then haggle some more & maybe offer to buy several items in order to bargain for a discount). In fact Jaipur is so modern that in some parts of the city there are pavements! Some of them you can actually walk on! There's even a pelican crossing with a little green man & everything. Drivers don't necesserily stop for the little green man & they still drive up the wrong side of the street & the fumes are still pretty bad but overall we really liked Jaipur.

We especially liked the Old City. Surrounded by city walls painted pink (a colour of welcome) with loads of little alleyways & side streets to get lost in, which we did loads of times - but that was a good thing. Paul was spoken to by an Indian woman, which is pretty amazing as they're usually seen & not heard. Took us a few seconds to realise that we'd wandered into the red light district & the friendly lady was only after his body (& cash obviously). Wandered around the bazaars & actually enjoyed it becuase there was no hassle! We repeat no hassle. Looky, looky just fine. After a while we got paranoid about the lack of hassle we were getting 'come on hassle us.' We said to the shop keepers. 'What's wrong with us? We've got money (well a little bit),come on try & con us, give us some sales patter.' But nothing. They just let us go about our business.

Went to some kind of fort thing in the Old City which was great. Built in the 16th C it inlcuded little windows that were used by the Maharaja's daughters to look at the plebs & watch daily life without the hassle of leaving the fort & having to come into contact with scabby beggars & cow poo.

Double whammy in terms of the luxury stakes, stayed in a lovely hotel called the Atithi which had a big telly & loads of cable channels plus we'd been told about this gorgeous pizzeria that did proper pizzas (as opposed to Indian ones, which are not quite the same). Smokin Joe's was on the pricey side & unfortunately hosting a kid's birthday party when we arrived but it was worth it. The pizzas were lovely. Of course Kerry had to be her awkward self & ask for a pizza with no tomato base. This caused much confusion & consternation to the waiter. Poor fella couldn't believe such a sacrilage would take place in his pizzeria. 'But madam' he said. 'The tomato puree base is an integral part of the pizza. Are you sure you want on without?'

Before we go, has there been any news about the kidnapping of two English lads, possibly in their early 20's? The reason we ask is that we think we witnessed above event. At the first of four stops in Jaipur (the bus station & correct one was last) this beardy bloke in a turban jumped on the bus & asked these two lads if they were stopping in Jaipur. They answered yes & he whisked them away. The last we saw of them was about 10 miles from where they should have been, following said turbaned bloke looking very scared & confused. We would have helped in some way but it all happened so fast that it was only later we realised what had happened.
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