Friday, 27 April 2012


Just flew in from the 'Pink city', the 'Pink city' was mighty pretty....

Jaipur was my favourite place so far. The addition of sidewalks and the faintest hint of a recognisable high street made the place seem in some way familiar, yet still with its own rustic Indian charm (cows, cow pat, rickshaws, tuk tuks, horns, pollution and litter). We went to visit...

The Amber fort:

and The Nahargarh fort:

(google image)

We went to a few other places I wouldn't necessarily write home about in our hardcore day of sight seeing including:
the palace of the winds:

the city palace complex:

the Jantar Mantar (observatory)

and the Jal Mahal (water palace).

We also unwittingly found ourselves in one of Jaipurs many 'textile facotires'. The winning formular for said place works as follows; a bus load of bewildered tourists are dropped off at a 'factory' for tourist tat, and within the next five minutes a group of expectant and dishonest salesmen will begin demonstrating local techniques for handicrafts. The tourists soon find themselves cohearsed into a feeling of gratitude for the show they didn't ask for, and a sense that they are now somehow indebted to the salesmen begins to take hold. At this point they will then be ushered into a large shop, offered drinks, asked disingenuous and rehearsed questions about where they are from etc, before the 'don't buy no problem just look' lines are soon replaced with extremely high pressured and pushy selling. The tourists are offered goods they could choose to go and barter for with local tradesmen in the market for a fraction of the price, yet they still cave in and buy thanks to the salesmen making them feel guilty if they don't, and the general confusion of the entire situation clouding a rational decision. As the tourists are then hearded back onto the bus, a wedge of cash ('comission') will be handed to the driver (interesting after the salesmen will inevitably of declared at some point in their pitch that they are selling their goods for almost 'no profit'), and the sightseeing tour will continue.
Knowing exactly what 'textile factory-just look very interesting place no buy is fine' meant I told Mohan Singh we did not want to go. He took us anyway, so I stuck to my guns and refused to buy anything out of principle.

Sight-seeing over, my favourite experience in Jaipur had to be the cinema! On arrival we went to see a Hindi film (Full House 2), which just about made sense despite the lack of subtitles, and loved the whooping, cheering and falling out of chairs laughing from the crowd. Much more equivocal to a rock concert back at home in terms of volume and atmosphere-a very good way to spend 90 rupees.


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