Jaipur is hot! Incredibly hot, 38 degrees in the shade hot! This is great news for our washing; we have both managed to smell vaguely clean for the first time in a few weeks. However this clean feeling is somewhat short lived when you start sweating at 8 in the morning and don’t finish until midnight. Food shopping has become a bit of a challenge, partly due to the heat, and partly due to the fact that we somehow always end up going at midday when there is absolutely no shade.
With sketchy air conditioning in our hostel it is very much like jumping out of the frying pan and in to the fire every time we head out the front door; in spite of this, the combination of factor 50+ and H2O has allowed us to immensely enjoy The Pink City*.
To get more of a feel for Jaipur we have endeavoured to walk everywhere as much as possible. This apparently comes as a great surprise to the local Tuk Tuk drivers, who are equal parts shocked and disappointed to be turned down by a white couple, even though it is the 50th time we have had to do so in the last hour. However, during one moment of weakness, having walked around in the sun for a good 8 hours, we were desperate to get back to our hostel quickly. We asked no less than 4 different drivers and were repeatedly turned down due to our out of the way destination, even with the help of locals to translate. It just goes to show that everyone wants to take you for a ride, until you ask.
We are officially minor celebrities. By chance we went to the some of the local monuments on what we now know is World Tourism Day; great news, as this allowed us to gain free entry. Bad (funny) news is that as soon as we walked through the door we were both blessed (this included a Tilak/Bindi being painted on our foreheads and rice stuck on for good measure), draped in garlands and then interviewed for what we hope was local media, not someone’s shady video collection. This happened not once but three times, to the point that we may need surgery to remove the dye from our foreheads.
Being a woman in India, is both a blessing and a curse. We jumped on a local bus (read ‘packed, sweaty and no AC’) to take us to the Amber Fort. Standing room was the only option, however this very quickly changed as a local man jumped up to offer Jade his seat, to which she politely accepted. It immediately became apparent that although this seat had great views through the front window, it was also situated immediately on top of the engine. Heat rises… Fast forward 5 minutes and sweat was pouring out of every conceivable location much to Jamie’s amusement.
The Amber Fort is stunning. This is offset somewhat by the sad spectacle of a procession of Elephants being ridden by tourists. We won’t bore you with details, but sufficed to say neither of us would wish to be treated in the same manner they are, where the drivers seem to adhere to the rule that Pain breeds obedience. On the plus side we also saw some camels used in place of horses, and as far as we could tell they seemed much happier and treated far better, who doesn’t love a camel?
Above the Amber Fort, further up the hillside, is the Jaighar Fort. We slogged our way up to this imposing structure under the midday sun, and were rewarded with stunning views and a wild pig! On the way back down we were further rewarded with the discovery of a secret tunnel (we missed the blatant sign on the way up…)! This little used tunnel lead all the way back down the hill and in to a delightfully Bat filled chamber… We did not stay long before being rescued by a security guard.
Jade is officially the latest and greatest delicacy on the Indian subcontinent. Any and all manner of insect have descended on her and nibbled her to pieces. She looks a bit like an abstract dot to dot, but apart from the occasional moment of frustration, she has taken it all in her stride.
And finally, the reason you put up with reading this post; to find out the difference between a Monkey and a Dog. Whilst wandering around near Galta Ji (a Monkey Temple) we saw a dog and a monkey fighting over a water tap. The monkey used his brains to push the tap in and drink the water. At seeing this, the dog decided he wanted in on the deal and used his size to chase off the monkey. As soon as the monkey ran off the water stopped and the dog stood there confused and frustrated. This happened a few times before the dog gave up, defeated. So the difference between a Monkey and Dog is this, Brains make brawn look stupid… a lot.
Train and a bus to Pushkar in the morning, night night!
*We lied, this is actually the end. So the reason the Pink City is called the Pink City is this; In 1876 the then Prince of Wales, Albert, and Queen Victoria visited India on a tour. Since pink denotes the colour of hospitality, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the whole city pink to welcome his guests. At seeing this, the Prince of Wales exclaimed Jaipur to be a ‘Pink City’, and the name stuck. Another touching tale of British people influencing India…