Sunday, 31 August 2008

27 - 31 August 2008: Jaipur, Rajasthan

All this travelling can get a bit tiring, so we did nothing for our first two days here. Our enthusiasm supplies needed replenishing after a hectic ten days of zooming around India. On the train from Agra to Jaipur, Jen had a little too close an encounter with a creepy crawly. The inch-long cockroach looking insect had crawled up the inside of Jen's trouser leg, and she had a panic attack when the creature suddenly started moving. Needless to say, the bug met a quick, premature death...

Once safe and bug-free in Jaipur, we managed a couple of lunch trips out, including one to OM – a rotating restaurant with great views over the whole city. It sounds great, but in reality, Jen felt a bit travel sick with the jerky rotation and the battalion of staff were extremely pushy. The food was also expensive and disappointing.

We've changed hotels since we've got here too. Although we really liked the roof top terrace of the first hotel, one member of staff was getting a little to intrusive. He was running his hands through our laundry, searching through our shopping and going into our room when he wasn't welcome. Hmmmm. The attempts at coercing us to see the puppet show – 'it's like your Punch and Judy' – was the final straw. Besieged in our own hotel room, we voted with our feet.

Sightseeing in the Pink City of Jaipur, we visited the five-storey Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds – complete with camel); the impressive Observatory full of instruments that Kepler and Newton would have been proud of; and the City Palace. The grandeur of the City Palace was away from public view in the Maharajah's private quarters. What was on display, felt slightly flat after our trip to the Maharajah of Gwalior's abode.

Stresses today of shoo-ing a man out of the ladies toilet and feeling infuriated at getting paparazzi-ed on top of the Iswari Minar Swarga Sal (Heaven Piercing Minaret) were balanced by meeting a lovely French couple. Chatting with them and sharing our experiences was a welcome oasis during the day. They too were slightly frazzled!

A misunderstanding at the hairdressers left Andy with what can beest be described as the eighties' classic – the Duck's Arse. Re-styling with the nail scissors in the bathroom quickly followed.

Here's some more photos of beautiful animals in not so beautiful settings.

On our final day in Jaipur, we went to Nahargarh Fort. It as a beautiful winding road to reach the top, and it was nice to walk off at least some of our lunch. The fort had great rooftop views of Jaipur.

Returning from the fort, a pregnant cow went a bit mental and tried to attack us. Luckily, some very kind locals herded us into an alleyway to hide. However, the cow came for us again and the locals had to chase it away with sticks. We rushed to an auto-rickshaw – no bartering on the price – and sped away to safety. We didn't even have time to thank everyone for their help.

We would recommend Karni Niwas hotel to anyone staying in Jaipur. The room we had was spacious and clean – it even had a bath. The owners couldn't do enough for us and looked after our luggage on our last day. Tasty masala chai too.