"Hello! Sir!! Ten Rupees!!!"

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October 6th 2007
Published: November 2nd 2007
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So there we were, in the capital of Rajasthan. Being part of the Golden Triangle we expected it to be well visited and got ready for the "over friendly" welcome. But we were prepared, we knew where we wanted to go and made a reservation with Devi Niwas, a family run guesthouse. As soon as we got of the bus a rickshaw driver met us introducing himself as Lucky, that typical Indian name. So Lucky dropped us off and showed us his little book full of recommendations from other travellers who hired him for a sightseeing tour. Why not, we thought, it would certainly be easier than getting around by bus, and probably not so expensive in the grand scheme of things. We arranged to meet the next day, but alarming bowel movements (in Andy)destroyed our plans. Movements like these have not been seen since the great animal migrations in Africa. They were on an epic scale. Memories of Arequipa in Peru were flashing in front of us but we decided to try it "au natural" first. Josie got Andy some curd - yes - apparently it is best for settling an upset stomach. The rest of the day was spent
Who was killed here?Who was killed here?Who was killed here?

The poor Beetel Nut , that is who
nursing Andy and to his entertainment Josie started to read a book to him. And voila! he really felt better the next day. That was a miracle as Andy's condition was really severe - bless the curd (yes the curd)!

Another day of resting because the stomach was not quite there and we finally met up with Lucky on our third day in Jaipur. Lucky did not have a standard fare for the day - he offered to be paid whatever we think is right - ??? - can you smell the trick, we could but we figured we would follow his suggestion anyhow? We did not have too much of a plan - after the Taj everything was a bonus after all 😉 - so we let Lucky drive us around the town - which was a good choice in the end. First Lucky took us for a tea - on him! - the usual way an Indian businessman starts his business. Driving through the pink city is just a great way of observing the city life. Apparently, by law, nobody is allowed to paint their houses a different colour within the city walls. Then we headed off to the Hawa Mahal, a great honeycomb looking like place with fantastic views over the city. It would have been just so much nicer if not the whole front was covered in bamboo scaffolding - as we would find out, a running theme in Jaipur.

Next we popped into Jantar Mantar which is a great observatory and hosts the biggest sundial in the world - also covered in bamboo sticks. Here, it was the only time that we thought a guide was worth the money. They explain the bizzare looking instruments quite well and there are fixed prices written down just right by the entrance. With the blue skies in the background it was a photographers heaven until it became very busy with visitors. Lucky asked us if we would like to visit an astrologer, not the one next to the observatory, the one he suggested does not take money to look at your aura. This ability is viewed as a gift from the gods and only the people from the Brahmin cast can be gifted. So they are not allowed to take money for it as that would destroy their ability. Well, as we had nothing else to do we made an appointment for 17:30. Who knows, never leave an opportunity to widen your horizon.

Next we went to "Oh-my-god-this-place-is-not-in-the-lonely-planet-and-we-can't-remember-the-name-of-it". It was a great temple with beautifully carved marble. Black faced monkeys were living inside and apart from that it was very peaceful - obviously off the tourist route. Another bonus, you only had to pay for the camera, 20 rupees - that is more like it. Soon another business man appeared and offered to guide us around - again, up to us to decide how much to tip him. Lucky seemed to know him well so we trusted his recommendation. It was a short introduction into the marble place around us - mainly drawing our attention to the great craftsmanship. We gave the good man "only" 50 rupees, as we really wouldn't have missed anything without him - but that didn't seem to make him very happy - well, that's the disadvantage of a giving the customer the choice of what to pay - you get paid a fair price. I guess most people overpay the market price as they don't want to feel cheap, and this is how they make their money.

A Market
Biggest sundial EVER!Biggest sundial EVER!Biggest sundial EVER!

covered in bamboo naturally, as they seem to be renevating everything in Jaipur at the moment
was the next place we went - to be more specific the textile village - now this is what happens when you don't have a specific plan of where to go - you win some and you lose some - here a man showed us the apparently famous for Jaipur block print - lovely. Of course we were invited in and soon found ourselves in a big fabric store - and oh look! It was full of tourists?! How funny that they all happened to be here. Ok, we knew what was going on - the rickshaw drivers get obviously a commission for bringing you here and naturally you will be paying for their commission in the price of the goods you buy. To be fair though we have seen some lovely pieces and if we would not have been still so far away from going home, who knows, Lucky maybe would have made a fortune. Josie couldn't help but marvel at the Sarees again. And ups! the damage was done, she found a really nice dark green Saree and was telling the tailor how she would like to get it done. Finally we left the shop looking at each
Starsign InstrumentStarsign InstrumentStarsign Instrument

This instrument shows the starsign for the day/ date. Used when people were born to figure out their starsign. There was another one next to it, which had the parts missing from this one.
other with surprise - how did that happen?! Things are just too cheap if you convert them into pounds and therefore very tempting. Never mind, let's not talk about it.

Our next destination would be the fort-palace of Amber. Again a nice place out of town - but we certainly were reaching our level of palaces and forts. Nevertheless we walked up and went inside to see the palace. There were two things that we liked about it, the Taj Mandir (Hall of Victory) which is beautifully decorated with little mirrors all over the walls and the endless rooms with their maze like corridors. It was fun trying to find our way around. We walked back and as it still was time until 17:30 Lucky invited us to his house for tea. For once the kids were not screaming in your face "Hallo! Sir! 10 rupees!!!" - they were just kids and his little niece showed off with her dancing in front of us.
The day was coming to an end and so we were curious about our last venture. Will we find out all about our past and future? Will it open our eyes? Will it tell us
Sun WatchSun WatchSun Watch

Tells the time with remarkable accuracy.
something we don't know? It will more likely open our wallets, as the sign at the front of the house suggested - Jewelry Seller - surprise surprise! We were there so we might as well talk to this mysterious man - Lucky ensured us that his abilities have nothing to do with his daytime job. Let's find out. We were placed in a little room at the back of the shop. Finally the gifted arrived , and he must have been gifted as the "one day workshop" certificate suggested. Josie was first - everyone had to leave the little room as their auras would disturb the man seeing Josie's aura clearly. A lot of things have been said - true or not - that will remain Josie's little secret - but one thing we can share with you and that is the solution to your problems - precious stones! Hmmm.... I can see a pattern there 😊 We thanked everyone and quickly left. That was enough excitement for the day. And we have learned our lesson - so don't forget, every man in India is a business man 😊 - nevertheless, Lucky was good company and we got to decide
Another sundialAnother sundialAnother sundial

apparently this one works when it is a full moon too. Amazing again, considering these things are pretty old
the price for the day. As we asked some locals how much a rickshaw for a day would cost we had an idea. We added 100 rupees and we hoped that we all will be happy. Lucky was clearly not happy as he had expected a bit more but he got a fair price plus some generous extras, so he had no reason to be.

The icing on the cake was the treatment to a proper meal - Andy was feeling brave - and we went to the nearby Four Seasons. What a pleasant surprise! The thalis were very tasty and certainly value for money and we tucked in, realising though that our tummies must have shrunk as we couldn't finish - very unusual for Andy. We decided that we have seen enough of Jaipur and for the next few days we would take time to catch up with our blog and get in touch with our bosses back home. Yes - is it getting serious 😊 But before that a few more adventures were waiting for us. We decided to go further west and see the Great Thar desert. After all we had to fuel up on those
Lucky LuckyLucky LuckyLucky Lucky

The man himself and his rickshaw. He looks overjoyed to have his photo taken, does he not
sun rays to survive the great English winter.

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


Neverending ArchesNeverending Arches
Neverending Arches

we seem to have loads of pictures like this from India, but I like em
Someones tomb, somewhere in JaipurSomeones tomb, somewhere in Jaipur
Someones tomb, somewhere in Jaipur

You will have to ask Lucky :)
Carved ScreenCarved Screen
Carved Screen

Amber Fort

2nd November 2007

What a coincidence - the 4th World Toilet Summit is being held in Delhi this very week ( yes really )! . Just think of the memories in years to come ......
3rd November 2007

Interestingly enough.....
...there was a special workshop on my findings on Indian toilets. I am now that much of an expert, I am recognised in the field of Bogology (as us experts call it) :) Andy

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