Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Part II: Jaipur

I just realized today that I haven't known what day of the week it is the entire time we have been in India. What a strange but wonderful feeling!

I have been meaning to post for several days but am utterly exhausted from all our activities that I never can stay awake to write, let alone think about what I am going to write.

This is post is going to be about Jaipur and I hope to soon after post about Agra. This post has lots of pictures again : )


Jason and I both agree that Jaipur has been our favorite city so far. It is clean (relatively speaking), is full of bright colors, and felt less chaotic than the other cities. It is known as the "pink city" due to all the buildings being made from sandstone. We saw and did a lot of awesome things in Jaipur...but first let's say a little about the journey getting there.

So we left Delhi for a very long bus ride to Jaipur. Our meals had generally been in our hotel for breakfast and at recommended dinner restaurants...all clean and safe food. But when we stopped at our lunch spot between Delhi and Jaipur things changed a bit. The place was dank and dark and when we sat down by the window there were dead flies everywhere. I had certainly decided I would not be eating any meat at this restaurant but was definitely contemplating bowing out all together. I could skip a lunch or two right? But one of the guys at my table told me about a simple vegetarian rice dish he was trying to so I decided to be brave. I kid you was the best freaking thing I have ever eaten. Simple but sooooo good. I was definitely shocked.

But you can see why I thought it was shady:

After a long drive we arrived at our gorgeous hotel in Jaipur:

 Our balcony:

After relaxing for a bit we headed out for dinner and a show with our tour guide Praveen.

He surprised us with unlimited rum and coke. Even though I hadn't drank rum since college and for good reason (waaaaay too much consumed back then) I can't turn down a free drink and I got myself nice and tipsy. The food was great, the dancing was cool (I even got called up to do a little dancing that was pretty), and we even got to see how they make their naan bread.

That was a fun evening...and it's safe to say I fell asleep juuuust fine that night.

The next morning was truly amazing. We started off the day going to the Amber Fort which sits atop a gorgeous mountainside. We rode elephants from the bottom to the top which was such an unforgettable experience. The fort and palace (as Jason continuously reminds me) was what the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was based on. It was a really cool place with awesome views. You'll see the courtyard and then the palace area:

 Jason being Indiana Jones:

 He's a hunk:
 Jason capturing me capturing the unreal scenery:

Everywhere I turn here in India, I swear to god it's a photographer's dream....from amazing colors and doors:
To snake charmers:
To a sweet old sitar player:

And nice ladies weaving things:

And the monkeys...for goodness sake...they are everywhere. I freaking love monkeys. Even though I logically know they would eat my face if I tried to pet one I still love them. This whole damn tree was basically a monkey house!

And there are cows everywhere. Cows are holy in India so people don't eat them or kill them. They basically just roam around acting like they are the best thing that ever happened the world. They lay in the middle of the road, they cross the street at a snails pace, they just roam free. It's pretty hilarious. I have never seen such happy cows in my life. Always waving their tails around and jiggling their ears in happiness. Many more cow pics to come.
And I don't really need to say much about the camels. Because they are just simply the bomb. They are so cocky and full of themselves that I don't feel bad for them one bit when they are carrying around those carts...they just look like they are thinking, "this ain't nothing". (p.s. technically they are dromedaries because they only have one hump vs. camels that have two...but same diff to me)

Ok moving on. Next Praveen.....this is Praveen: (he is the best)
Next Praveen took us to a block stamping company which originally sounded pretty boring. But it actually ended up to be awesome. These guys hand stamp fabric with amazing precision. This fabric is then washed and sun dried and made ready for sale or for making of clothing.

This old man is the main master stamper and they showed us how he took an initial clear stamp of an elephant and followed it up with smaller stamps to color in the main picture. It had to be done exactly perfect to turn out and he did all 5 stamps in less than 10 was ridiculous.

I am so excited we got to keep one of those elephant stamped fabrics and I will be framing that ASAP when we get home!

After the stamp shop we headed back to the hotel for lunch. By this time we were so ready for a swim (it was's still HOT) that even though we only had 10 mins after lunch we took surefire advantage of the pool and jumped into the icy cold water.

Whitest white girl in India:

After the quick bitter cold dip we went to see a gemstone shop...we didn't buy anything but it was interesting to see the polishing from a rock to a beautiful stone and how they make jewelry. And I enjoyed a (rare) and complimentary pepsi from a glass bottle : )
And after that we went to a really cool palace in town where the royal family still lives. They weren't home but there sure were lots of celebrations going on...and more photography lovers moments! 

We stopped at an observatory and saw some really awesome structure built to tell time, dates, etc. Indian people love astrology as well so they had all sorts of interesting sculptures for each zodiac sign.
 The giant structure which tells time based on shadows:

And finally, us by our zodiac signs: (Taurus and Leo)

And last but certainly not least was shopping at the local bazaar. So sweet. Insanely busy, very overwhelming, but cute stuff everywhere. I ended up buying a few pairs of shoes, some linen pants, and a top. The nice man I bought the clothes from wrapped me in a sari but I didn't buy it because I wasn't sure I'd ever wear it in the US. I still have time to change my mind though... ; ) and finally, I got a henna tattoo which was one thing I for surely wanted to do in India too.

The sandals I got:
Side note: Jason likes to take unflattering close ups of me constantly. I am constantly giving him dirty looks as I go through the photos each day. Here is the least horrible one I could find.
Wow. We did a lot during our full day in Jaipur. No wonder I was tired that night! We stayed at our hotel and had a delicious meal. We both tried something new in the area of Indian food and finished off with dessert (which is rare for us...neither of us has a huge sweet tooth...but SOMETIMES the mood strikes big)...Jason got a delicious mango cheesecake and I got a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of coffee flavored ice cream. It was amazingly tasty.

After a good night sleep we bid farewell to our hotel and this hotel employee with the most bomb ass facial hair I've ever seen and headed to Agra (the city where the Taj lives!):

We spent the better part of that day on the bus to Agra...more to come soon!! : ) 

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