The train from Delhi to Jaipur was late in arriving at our station, so we were entertainment for lots of Indian families who wanted more photos of Brian. We had 2 minutes for all of us to board before the train began pulling out of the station. We had AC coach chairs. Rather grubby, and our seats faced backwards the whole way! But I didn't have to do the difficult booking, and I'm enjoying turning the reigns over to the tour company. We did however, have breakfast included, which I scarfed down, and Brian declined, due to the greasy look to his omelette. I was so hungry that I also made up a jelly and banana sandwich with my accessories. Something I would never eat anywhere else, I don't imagine.
The train was sidelined after about 90 min, and we found out they needed to replace the engine. So we sat for over an hour there, and were several hours late getting to our destination. We arrived at the good old Jaipur railway station, remember Sharon, from several years ago? We rode in past the Hari Mahal Palace hotel, beside the tracks, where we previously stayed in 2013. It was a great hotel for us last time, despite the railway noise. Centrally located and with local flavour.
This time we wended our way through lots of begging children to the waiting bus, for another 45 minute drive, out of town to Le Meridian Hotel. It's rather posh, with expensive menu items, but so out of town that if not for the tour, and the bus, I would not recommend this place to individual travelers wanting to experience the city.
After our room assignments we regrouped to go for high tea at ....... 'a palace' or a 'fortress' about an hour away. Turns out this was the 'Viceroy Club' and also the 'wedding scenes' where the filming of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (first and second films) took place. The waiters serving us were all dancers in the wedding scene, and the tiny bar where I took their photo was the 'big' bar in the club scene. We had pekoras, potato chips, cookies, and chai tea at tables on the outdoor patio, cum wedding scene location. For those of you who haven't seen either of the movies, they are humorous, light, feel good films, worth viewing.
We spent 1 1/2 hours there looking out over the 10 foot thick stone ramparts, checking out a small library/museum dedicated to the present Raja's grandfather who built the place, and having tea. The son was away in Delhi today, with the stable of polo ponies for a 'match up'. Oh, for the life of nobility.
En route back to the hotel after dark, we stopped for a liquor run, for all the thirsty travelers. This was an eye opener for most of them, at a walk up, fluorescent lit, outdoor vender, in the dark, wedged between a derelict tea stall and a recycling pile of giant overstuffed plastic bags holding who knows what. Lots of wild pigs, cows, and goats roaming about, with the odd camel pulling a cart, or an elephant with his howda (carer) perched on his back, directing him through the traffic intersections. Brian picked some Indian rum, and some Miller beer, so he's happy except for the fact that our air conditioner is not working in our fancy room.
We've had the air con man come and he's poked around, used his probe, and advised us to keep the drapes closed against the sunshine. However, it has been over 6 hours, blinds closed, register at 10 degrees, but it is more like 27 degrees. We're expecting a 6 am wake up call, for all our adventures tomorrow, so will sign off now!