A useful place!
04.12.2009 - 07.12.2009
We liked Jaipur - it's noisy and hectic in the old city but we stayed outside in a place with a lovely peaceful garden and got loads of stuff done.
First off one of the boys at the hotel recommended the beauty parlour where his Mum went and Sue finally had a haircut - a silent but reasonably successful transaction. Next we finally managed to send a parcel back to the UK. We've been carrying it since Nepal but thought the Indian postal service would be easier. Our first attempt in Allahabad was totally unsuccessful - we were directed to the parcel queue where we stood for about 10 minutes being ignored by the woman who obviously wanted nothing to do with difficult foreigners. But it was all easy in Jaipur - the parcel had to be properly wrapped - first in cardboard and then sewn into white cloth - all done by a man by the door who also supplies the required black marker pen and tells you what custom form is needed and then we went to the right queue and did the deed. So all that remains is to see if and when it arrives.
Next stop shopping - a replacement watchstrap for Colin and a new one for Sue, deodorants, moisturisers without skin lightener (hard to find in India) and an Indian SIM card. We also bought a scarf and shawl to wrap up in the cool mornings and on the trains. After all the shopping we had a much needed hit of real coffee, not to mention muffins, in Barista, the Indian version of Starbucks.
We also managed some sightseeing - the City Palace (lots of guns and outfits), the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds (very beautiful ), the Jantar Mantar or Observatory started in 1728 with huge sundials and other astronomical instruments.
We also had a trip out to Amber, the former capital of Jaipur, which has a really impressive fort with miles of battlements all around.
Our hotel was a good place - clean and quiet our key requirements but the slowest service - OK in the evening when we could sit and enjoy a cold beer, (the cans disguised by paper napkins, the first place with alcohol for ages) and chat to the nice Aussies we met but slightly frustrating to spend an hour getting breakfast. We stayed an extra day - the hotel was full but the owner said we could stay if we gave a good review on the website we booked through (blackmail we thought but it was a nice place) - he then supervised the review quibbling when we said the location was only 'good' not 'very good' so we changed it - well what could we do?
Jaipur also had the most delicious lassi - a tiny place recommended in the Lonely Planet where the Aussies had been the day before (and one was now sick). We were just thinking how nice they were, really creamy served in earthenware cups, when the lassi maker stuck his hand in a bucket of ice and added it to the mix - probably fine but suddenly we had doubts. We asked him about the ice but he didn't understand so the woman begging outside who already had one lassi, suddenly had two more and we had a second coffee hit instead. We are eating much more stuff now and probably lots of lassis have ice in so we're either building up resistance or about to be poisoned again!