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Published: April 25th 2011
The sleeper train from Delhi to Jaipur was ok, nowhere near as bad as expected and generally pretty uneventful. When we arrived at Jaipur we were glad to see our driver waiting for us outside the station, mainly as we were trying to shake off a persistent rickshaw driver who jumped on us as soon as we stepped off the train.
It was late when we arrived at Vinayak Guesthouse but we received a warm welcome and were shown to our room. The hostel is recommended in our lonely planet book but describes the rooms as drap. We found the exact opposite. Our room was big and decorated in bright blue and green with Indian paintings on the walls and colourful, mirrored fabrics hanging from the walls. The corridors were much the same. We did peek into a few other rooms which didn’t seem to be quite so big/colourful but for us this was by far our favourite place we had stayed so far, even if the bathroom fixtures were a bit wobbly!
Neither of us (especially Angelo) were feeling too good so we ordered some quick food and went to bed.
We had arranged for our driver from
Ang being leo
at Jantar Mantar
yesterday to take us around the city in his tuk-tuk to see the sights. We were both still feeling pretty ill but we managed to set off by 09:15am. First we went to the train station to swap our ticket to Agra to give ourselves more time in Jaipur. The woman at the enquiries desk wasn’t particularly friendly but we managed to get ourselves some seats in 2nd sitting (a step down from sleeper class we had originally booked) which we are a little nervous about but hey it’s only a 4 ½ hour journey.
Rafik took us into the old city, known as the pink city because all the buildings are pink, where most of the tourist sights are. First we stopped at a minaret which we climbed for a view of the city. Then we headed over to City Palace which houses a museum along with some rip off shops. Opposite city palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory built by Jai Singh which was really interesting. After this Rafik took us to see tombs of some of Jaipur’s emperors which was nice as there was hardly anyone there, we saw only 2 or 3 other groups
of tourists. After this we were carted off to the textiles fabric shop where of course your driver gets a commission on anything you buy. We saw fabric being hand printed and dyed and some dude making a carpet. We were then shown upstairs where the walls were lined with pashminas, bed spreads and all sorts of fabrics. We didn’t plan on buying anything but.. you know… they were pretty . I’m sure it would have been cheaper to have bought them from the markets buy hey, at least Rafik made a few rupees out of it! Then we were carted off to see Hawa Mahal, a palace which is pretty empty but has a nice view from the top.
After this we asked to go to the monkey temple – real name Galta & Surya Mandir. – a temple on a hill where many many monkeys live. You can buy peanuts to feed to the monkeys which we did – I would not recommend doing so! If you do buy the peanuts keep the bag safely out of sight, and save the peanuts for your way back down from the temple. Even the rustling sound of the bag
Hand printing fabric
will result in every monkey on the hill charging at you and bearing their teeth, and when you return from the temple they will be waiting….. These monkeys were the scariest thing we have encountered since arriving in India.
You can see the whole city from up here and the view is great although less pink than we imagined.
After the monkey temple we were tired and decided to call it a day and go back to the hostel. We had not eaten a thing all day as we felt so sick but in the evening we thought it might be a good idea to have a light snack. We sat on the empty rooftop and munched on poppadum’s with onion salad and drank black tea (we had ordered black coffee but oh well) listening to the people next door making music on their rooftop.
Next day (still ill) Rafik’s 17 year old son picked us up in his rickshaw and took us to Amber to see the Amber Fort and Palace. On the way he let Ang drive his tuk-tuk which he loved. I would say Amber Fort is the best fort/palace we have seen so
far with amazing views and a beautiful wall/room decorated with tiny mirrors. Today was our 5 year anniversary so to celebrate we went for coffee at the fort’s Café Coffee Day (like Costa is everywhere in India), how exciting! Ang claims he was trying to be romantic as exactly 5 years ago we went for coffee on our first date, although Deb thinks he was just thirsty.
After this we visited a silver jewellery shop where we didn’t buy anything before stopping to take pictures of the lake palace, a palace submerged in a lake, and Albert Hall! Still feeling like poo we went back to the hostel and slept for the afternoon but managed to make it out in the evening for some dinner. We opted for a South Indian restaurant which turned out to be not that great and neither of us finished our food.
The next day (Good Friday) we had booked a train to Agra for 5pm and had planned to go to the post office in the morning but both felt too unwell. We decided to get ourselves to the Dr’s.
After chatting with the Dr and waiting for ages while he
was doing, well, we’re not sure what he was doing, he told us we had bacteria infections from some bad water/food and were dehydrated. He told us we would need injections and returned with a big syringe for Angelo so he rolled up his sleeve and prepared himself for the huge needle only to be told it was too big for his arm, it needed to be injected in his ass. Mwahaha. After making a big fuss he had the injection and was then told he needed another one in the other cheek. Debbie had to have the same! We were also given an assortment of pills to take for the next 5 days and off we went about £30 lighter and with sore bums (not good when you need to take a bumpy tuk-tuk back to your hostel).
We managed to get on our train ok and sat with a family and two young guys on one side and a bunch of men on the other who seemed to be on an Indian version of a lad’s holiday. The seats were really uncomfortable, they are benches (cushioned but still not comfy) for 3 people either side of
the aisle. It was hot. There are fans but they don’t seem to make any difference. The young girl from the family sitting opposite Deb, who we think must have been about 8 or so, took a liking to Deb and kept trying to get her attention. She didn’t speak English though so had no idea what she was saying other than when she asked Debs name. She offered Deb a bourbon biscuit, Ang didn’t get one though!
Some of the men sitting near Ang spoke Tamil so he had his first conversation in Tamil with them, and then with a little boy who looked very much like Ang did at his age! Meanwhile the guy Debbie had been sitting next to for about 4 hours without saying a word decided to start a conversation with her about her thoughts on India and how it’s different from England. The train arrived at Agra about an hour late, around 10:30pm, and we took a tuk-tuk to our hostel we had booked back in Goa.
We are now in Agra and will update you soon!
Deb & Ang
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