|On the road again. We are off to Jaipur!
Oops, not so fast...our driver suggests that we stop in to "visit" a local cooperative where they sell high quality fabrics. In need of a new tablecloth or two to replace the ones we purchased 23 years ago in India, we fall for the bait. One tablecloth becomes two, and two becomes three, and pretty soon we need a duvet cover, and then...well, you get the picture. In fairness, the textiles were lovely and very reasonably priced. After several well spent hours we belatedly head off for Jaipur.
Unlike the roads from the day before, the road to Jaipur is really in a sad state of repair. They are working on improving the road but it is really crazy how they move you from one side of the road to the other, have "diversions" (we would say detours) at the drop of a hat, sometime for very good reasons (huge gaping hole that could swallow a tanker truck) and sometimes for inexplicable reasons (forgot to move the barrier?). Anyway, it was a very "interesting" ride and I probably lost 5 years of my life on some of those passes by oncoming trucks. Eg. two lanes, no shoulder, three vehicles abreast...not a good situation. Lots of honking, swerving and white knuckling (by me). I was reminded again and again why we had hired a car AND driver and not simply rented a car!
For lunch our driver stopped at another overpriced tourist restaurant. At least the food was better at this one than the previous day. I'm beginning to wonder if he is getting a kickback or is he just thinking that we can't handle regular Indian food.
Finally we arrive in the Pink City of Jaipur. As we were staying in a small B & B in the heart of the old city we got dropped off on the main road, are met by someone from our haveli (hotel/B&B) who walked us to the hotel. A hundred metres or so down one narrow lane, left turn down an even narrower lane for another 200 metres, right turn down another lane (only for 25 metres or so), then another right and you have arrived...simple...right? I seriously was wondering if I would ever be able to find my way to the hotel on my own.
It is a beautiful old building what was originally part of the woman's quarters for somebody or other. (Don't blame me, I was never told the details) It is actually someone's home that they rent out a portion of for extra income. They have two delightful little girls about 11 and 13 years old that are very friendly and eager to try out their English skills every time you see them. The owner also has help from his older (somewhat elderly) brother who has very good English but is so soft spoken he is sometimes difficult to understand. All in all, the place has a huge amount of character and I would definitely stay here again if I ever came back...definite recommendation!
As Eleri was feeling much better we decided to head out for a bite to eat. We weren't very hungry as we had had a late lunch so we decided to stop in for snacks at LMB. LMB is a local institution that provides local foods and snacks that are safe for non-locals to eat (paying better attention to hygiene that most places). LMB has a snack store and a restaurant so we headed into the snack store. Since it was snacks there was no place to sit down...Eleri was feeling better but was still somewhat weak and needed to sit. An LMB manager came to the rescue and invited us to sit in the restaurant. It was lovely, peaceful and A/C. We ended up ordering more than we probably would have if we had just gotten snacks but it was a blissful oasis.
After our snack/dinner we walked down the street in search of an ATM. Our wanderings took us right to the Hawa Mahal which was lit up at night. Beautiful. The best part was that there was an ATM machine right next door. After getting my wad of rupees we headed back to our haveli and settled in for the evening. Surprisingly we didn't even need to call for assistance from the hotel in finding our way back.