Thursday, July 9, 2009

December 29, 2008 - Jaipur, India

[Comments in square brackets are added now. Everything else is from my journal written during the trip. This is the fourth post about my trip to India and Nepal--the earlier ones can be found via the index on the right side of the page.]

Today was extremely...interesting.

Our guide told us to be ready to leave the hotel at 7:45. Everyone rushed around madly, getting ready while the hotel staff delayed and delayed our breakfasts. Still, at 7:45 everyone was gathered in the garden except for our guide and one girl whose roommate was distraught because she had not come in the night before. We tried calling the guide's room. No answer. So the girl upset that her roommate had disappeared went to pound on his door. It was unlocked, and opened when she knocked.

You guessed it--she found her roommate in bed with the tour guide, both fast asleep.

By the time our guide found his way to the garden, the cars that were supposed to take us to the Amber Fort had gone. Instead we took tuk-tuks, this time the auto-rickshaws, out of town and half way up the mountain, where we shifted to jeeps for the rest of the steep climb.

The Amber Fort is huge, even bigger than the Red Fort in Delhi. It affords magnificent views of the surrounding country, so I was able to make videos of elephants climbing the path up to the fort, of monkeys living there--a nice day's collection, along with numerous stills.

From the fort we were supposed to go out of town to a village with a textile factory, but everyone was more interested in going out to dinner, so we went to a factory in town instead.

They showed us the block printing process, and then fed us samosas, bananas, and chai while they showed us the most gorgeous rugs we had ever seen. I fell in love with one made of yak wool, and after some bargaining I bought it and had them ship it home. [It's now in my living room, where my cat Dudley absolutely loves it.] Then I bought a few gifts in their shop, as this tour is very short on opportunities for shopping.

We then went for dinner to the circular restaurant at the Om Hotel. We ordered a variety of dishes and shared--delicious food for prices you would pay at Appleby's, for a world-class restaurant with Jaipur slowly turning below us as the sun set.

Tonight it's early to bed, as we have to be ready to go at 5:15(!) in the morning to catch the train to Agra, home of the famous Taj Mahal. I assume our guide will be up and ready to go with us!

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