India Part Two: It still smells like faecal matter

So we got up super early in Agra for the third day in a row, had one last cheese and tomato toastie from Joney’s and took a taxi to the station only to find that our train to Jaipur was delayed by a few hours. This delay meant that we departed the station at exactly poo o’clock. The time when half the city meets at the train line with a tin of water to pop a squat and push out a big old brown crayon. Quite the sight and quite the social event it would seem.

Good morning India. It’s great to be here!

The train station in Jaipur was pretty flash boasting an escalator which half the train load approached with extreme caution, and then backtracked to use the stairs. We had planned to take an auto rickshaw to our accommodation but after the bombardment offers in the most forceful of ways, we staged a protest, well actually I just said some really bad words to a man, so bad that I saw red and have blocked it out, but Michael insists they were pretty bad. In short, we walked the three or so kilometres to our hotel in near 40 degree heat. Out of principle.

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Standard Jaipur. I’ve never smelt a smell quite like this rubbish pile before.

We ended up staying at a place called Chitra Katha (we’re not so organised that we prebook accommodation) which was a homely wee hotel with hot showers (a first since we’d arrived in India) and a telly with a movie channel, super treat stations! All this for a cool 550 rupee per night ($12.50 NZ) we felt like we were splurging, but it was worth it.

Our time in Jaipur was pretty lazy and involved a lot of lying around, reading and cricket watching. The sun was so hot during the days that we rarely ventured out between 11am-4pm.

On the days we did venture out we ticked a few tourist boxes like a walk around the ‘Pink City’ the old part of Jaipur which I would argue is less pink and more a peachy terracotta.

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Small boys cons us on to rooftop to soak in the view and look at his uncles paintings.

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That’s more yellowey-beige than pink.

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Having a rest. Pink overload.

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Rainbow pasta.

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Rainbow alphabet soup.

Then we visited the City Palace where big important things happened back in the day.

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You couldn’t go inside this part of the palace.

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So Michael assumed the squat position in protest.

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Face.

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Worship party.

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New friend party.

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Gold party.

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Peacock party.

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Puppet party.

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Pink party with white paint detail. Less than impressed.

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Another part of the palace you’re not allowed in.

On the way out of the palace we saw Eyeore.

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I’ll just stand here and eat my thistles.

Then on the way home we took a left down sari street.

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Fabric central.

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Choosing fabric.

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More fabric.

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Matching fabric.

Then we made a pit stop for at Rama Cold Drinks.

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Bastardo rama drama. Apparently.

And THEN it was so hot we couldn’t be assed walking home so we paid this poor sod to cycle us home for about 30 cents.

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Felt pretty guilty the whole ride.

The next day we took an auto rickshaw to the Amber Fort which is about 13km out of the city, set upon a hill and quite impressive.

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Amber Fort. Built between 16th-18th century.

While I was taking this photo a man turned up with a cobra and proceeded to charm in out of a basket. I told him the snake belonged in the bush and then ran away. When I looked back he was kissing it on the head. I ran faster.

When we got closer to the fort we took turns and taking photos of each other outside of it.

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Michaels turn.

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My turn.

We really should be carting around a tripod for moments like this. Not.

Up the top we saw the saddest elephants in the world that bus loads of golden oldies were paying mega rupee to ride up the small hill.

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Pretty baby.

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Sad baby. Maybe. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the elephant.

Then we took in the Fort and all its views.

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Man wearing fabric wrapped around head Indian styles.

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Michael creep posing in front of the view. No tripod. No flash.

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Michael being super silly.

20130626-232633.jpgMirror party.

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Pigeon party.

Hoooo. Hooooo.

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Top of the fort.

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Architecture appreciation.

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The hill in the distance to keep out the baddies.

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Golden knob. Blue sky.

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Mirrors.

After a few hours we’d had enough so we made just one quick stop to check out a building built in the water. What will they think of next?!

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Our rickshaw driver. The coolest man in Jaipur.

He was so cool and spent our journey talking about previous people he’d driven, attempting their accents and mannerisms and generally just being a good dude. I wonder how he’ll interpret us to others.

What happens next in our Jaipur journey is the reason we ended up cancelling three of our trains, changing out route and staying on for another two days.

It all started while Michael was watching the IPL cricket on telly while using wifi. He decided to send a cheeky Tweet to Simon Doull to try and get a few free tickets to a game in Mumbai later in our trip.

 

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The ice breaker. Straight to the point. We want free stuff

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Not a bad response.

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Kind of true.

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Well Simon, we did have a train booked but I guess we could change our plans.

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We cancelled the train. Things are looking positive.

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24 hours later. Still no word on tickets. Up ticket count from 3 to 4. And 2 of them aren’t kiwis.

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Progress.

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Just casually tweeting the CEO of IPL to bring his ‘friends’ tickets. Yus.

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Boom. Okay we’ll send you our number.

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Done. Thank you social media.

Also, Simon Doull did call our hotel to check we’d got the tickets and to say that he hoped we enjoyed ourselves #GC

So there you have it. We stayed and had an extra two days of mooching so that we could go to an IPL game. And look who turned up for the occasion! It’s old Sally and John from Kolkata.

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One last tweet to express our gratitude.

The game was pretty fricken crazy! India sure is enthusiastic about cricket.

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The field. Looks bigger on telly.

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Trying to match the locals enthusiasm.

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Half time paparazzi party.

Things got pretty intense at half time with three quarters of the stadium wanting to have photos with us so we decided to leave half way through the second innings in order to make it home that evening with all out limbs attached.

And that’s Jaipur. The next morning we wept as we farewelled Sally and John yet again and we took the shittiest bus in the world for five hours to Pushkar. Our accommodation had this great view out the front entrance.

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Rubbish pile. Cow. Broken car. People sitting round. India.

The best part that you can’t actually see just to the right of those people were the public toilets. Breathe in the sweet nectar people!

We went to a nice wee restaurant that had fantastical views of the town, over the ghat and up to the little mountain.

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We didn’t walk up it. Don’t be silly.

Then Michael had an awkward photo in the corner.

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Nothing to see here.

We quickly realised that Pushkar had no meat and no beer. So it was a big no deal from us. In addition to this, there were far too many hippies in Pushkar for our liking. I would have had to shaved half my hair off and dreaded the other half to have stayed on here. Michael would have had to have done the same and started going topless wearing only a pair of fisherman pants and a tan coloured waist coat. We’re far too mainstream for that business.

We did see some cool stuff while we were in Pushkar though like a cart full of colourful ass paints.

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Rainbow party.

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A cow wandering around town.

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And another cow cooling itself by the display fridge in a shop.

I’m not mooving, said the cow.

We tucked into a few falafel rolls.

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Open wide.

But no matter which roll you ordered, they all kind of tasted the same.

And of course Pushkar was full of men running the shops, restaurants, hotels and walking the streets who were all very keen to become friends with me on Facebook.

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Where ‘dem girls at?!

On our last evening we went for a bit of a ride on a camel. We had planned to do a few nights out in the desert on a camel up in Jaisalmer, near the Pakistan boarder. But because of or extended stay in Jaipur to watch the IPL, our plans changed and Pushkar was camel town for us. Probably a good thing as three hours and watching the sunset was more than enough time with our furry friends Krishna and Ganesh.

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Krishna was more interested in eating.

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Ganesh was the fastest camel in all of Pushkar. Apparently.

Mmm. Ganesh. I couldn’t stop thinking of cupcakes with chocolate ganache.

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Making our way to sunset point.

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Token camel dessert photo. Tick.

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I’d clearly had too many falafel rolls because my camel died when we got there.

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Krishna soaking in the view.

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Then we had a staring competition.

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I admired all of gods critters.

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And the sand. Ooh the sand.

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Then Ganesh sat up and Krishna lay down and did a POO! While lying! Impressive.

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And there it is, the Pushkar sunset.

We rode home itching and sneezing, had a big delicious vegetarian pizza for tea, I burnt the small dangly thing behind my front teeth, went to bed then up at 5am for a 6am bus to Jodhpur, the blue city.

Arriving in Jodhpur at around lunch time, we began to really understand why our mammoth Lonely Planet described April in India as ‘hellishly hot.’ It really was quite hot and it was the first time that we really noticed an absence of other travellers. Deciding to bunk up for four days, we chose a hotel room decorated in a medieval theme. So nice.

Highlights of Jodhpur included visiting Mehrangarh Fort.

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Mehrangarh Fort from our medieval room

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At the top. Scolded my feet walking down here.

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Arty. The fort in black in white.

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It’s quite tall when you get up close.

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Birds.

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That’s the man feeding the birds.

We also enjoyed checking out the blueness of the ‘Blue City’ as opposed to the peachy terracotta of the ‘Pink City.’

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Shot of blue city and beyond.

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Yep, it’s pretty blue.

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Still blue.

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Me feeling not so blue.

We asked the man with the hairiest ears in the world why Jodhpur was painted blue.

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Apparently not phased by his ear hair.

His responses included ‘it’s blue because they painted it blue’ and ‘blue is the colour of the sky’ he was correct on both accounts but it still didn’t answer my question. I suggested that perhaps the King back in the day liked the colour blue, or that Resene was having a paint sale, but no, ‘it’s blue because they painted it blue.’

While we were up at the fort we decided to zip line around it.

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Excited about the jip lie.

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Nervous about the jip lie.

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Feeling confident after a quick lesson.

Michael went first because he’s the brave boy.

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The first one was scary.

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Ziiiiiip.

I went second.

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Getting used to it.

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All is well on the jip lie.

Michael started to really get into it.

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Going over water and everything.

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Then this happened! Weird.

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Pro.

For the rest of the time while we weren’t reading of hiding from the sun we went on a walk a met three sisters.

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I thought they wanted me in the photo. They didn’t. Awkward.

We met a bunch of young lads.

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Hanging out.

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Check out the creepy face middle right.

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That smile on the boy front right. Damn boy, heartbreaker in the making.

We met a cow.

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Moo.

We checked out the local step well which could be a really nice spot but instead people just throw their rubbish in there.

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We listened to a jackhammer tear up the entire street outside our hotel. Dicks.

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Way to ruin my Sunday, India.

And then finally, we waited in pain for our lunch.

20140414-203630.jpgHungry.

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Hungrier.

We tired three different restaurants before returning to our hotel to eat there. You see, we were after a dosa, kind of like a big flat crunchy pancake thing wrapped around curry. The first place had dosa on the menu but it always pays to double check.

Me: Do you have dosa today?
Waiter: Silent.
Me: Dosa. Point to menu. Do you have dosa?
Waiter: Yes?
I can tell he’s unsure so I ask again.
Me: Do you have dosa?
Waiter: No.
Me: No dosa?
Waiter: I don’t know.
Michael & I: Sign in unison.
Me: Can you please find out.
Waiter leaves and returns, no exaggeration, 10 minutes later with a note pad.
Me: Do you have dosa?
Waiter: I don’t know.
Exit Michael and Hollie

At the second restaurant we tried to order the thali they were advertising on their sign.
Michael: Hi, are you doing thali today?
Waiter: Yes!
Michael: Great. We’ll have two.
Waiter: But we have no rice.
Michael: So what do you get instead of rice.
Waiter: Nothing.
Michael: When will you get some rice?
Waiter: Later.
Michael: Today?
Waiter: No.
Michael: Tomorrow?
Waiter: Maybe.
Exit Michael and Hollie.

By the time we reached the third restaurant and climbed the bazillion stairs to their rooftop we were both well hungry. Things were looking good, we ordered fizzy drinks to start and a delicious mutton masala. 5, 10, 20, 25 minutes went by and there were still no drinks or any sign of food. Michael sneakily walks past the kitchen and the man is sitting in there cooking rice. Im writhing on the floor, about to start frothing from the mouth. I can’t speak. Anyone who knows me, knows that a lack of food suspends all forms of communication. I think I’m going blind. Finally, and I mean finally, he comes out.

Man running restaurant: Mutton masala is not possible.
Michael: Why not.
Man running restaurant: The market does not have.
Michael: What have you been doing then?
Man running restaurant: Cooking rice.
Michael and I: Speechless.
Exit Michael and Hollie.

So much for us trying to be kind and spread our tourist rupees around in hellishly hot April.

All is well that ends well! We returned to our hotel and used wifi to google the different dishes on the menu and tried two, new very satisfying curries.

The end.

Next time: Udiapur, Goa and reuniting with Kate in Mumbai.

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