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India Day 6 - Jaipur

Added: December 07, 2008

Tags: India animals castle city photos
Thursday 6th November. I am tired as we get up. My throat is still sore. OK I am going to start with Azithromycin. Today we plan to visit Jaipur and shortly before midnight we are going to Jaisalmer by train.

We went down, our host was already there, a bit later Canadian couple came. We have been offered possibility to leave our luggage here, return in the evening and to have dinner here. Then all 6 of us would take rickshaw to train station to catch our train. It would be very hard to refuse such an offer!

We talked about our plans, Canadians wanted to go to Amber Fort too and we realized that having rickshaw for whole day is unnecessary expensive - it is possible to get to Amber Fort for 100 Rs, back to the city centre for 100 or less and it should cost 40 to return to guest house. Apart from Amber Fort everything else is in walking distance from each other.

Our wannabe rickshaw arrived. We went outside and told him we decided to go only to Amber Fort and then City Palace and we were willing to give him only 150 Rs for that. He did not see it coming. He was surprised, but started to explain it is not possible for that price and that his price (whatever it was) is fair. He got angry and even went into guest house to dispute with Manoj! It was not very good feeling for us :-( Manoj asked him to leave his house (clearly the manners of those two men were different even for those who do not speak Hindi).

As we went with driver outside Canadian couple came out too, telling him how ridiculous his price was. That did not help him to calm down. He was babbling something about government price list with 385 Rs for similar tour we wanted to make and he wanted us to show it, we just needed to go with him somewhere. No way! Finally he asked for 65 Rs for coming here and I gave him 60 just to get rid of him (even I knew I should not pay him at all).

We went about 200m to find the nearest rickshaw and where Canadians shown us how to haggle properly. Since then amounts we paid to drivers went down :-) Thank you for that and sorry for forgetting your names!

Afternoon in Jaipur

After our return to Jaipur centre (Pink City) we continued with exploration of City Palace.

City Palace

City Palace was bit disappointing. It was nice (nice colours and different from all we have seen previously), but it was expensive and big part of it was closed due to some private occasion happening there.

I really liked colours and it was the first place where I paid for taking picture of somebody. But those funny looking guys were not staying there for nothing.







The one on the left asked for baksheesh which surprised me. Before I was able to find some annoyingly small amount he made gesture he does not want anything. I believe his boss was coming because I noticed somebody as I was leaving. Those on the right were more lucky, but I am not sure if satisfied :-)
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While we were resting in shade I have checked map (from book and some leaflet) which way is Jantar Mantar. I have even produced my newly acquired map compass (you need compass in India).

So with knowledge where to go we went to find it. We needed to pass through terrible streets (smelly, dirty, people laying on the ground, different animals among them). Fine it is test of our courage and in 2 days we will go alone through another city centre in night, so let's train it during day :-)

Somehow Jantar Mantar was not in sight and street went into dead end between 2 walls. So we back tracked and tried gate with metal detector (to get out of city centre). I have asked policemen and they told us we are going in incorrect direction, Jantar Mantar is on other side (where we came from!).

Without verifying he is right (Again! Will we ever start taking those rules seriously? :-) ) we went in given direction and soon Zuzka noticed the tallest instrument of Jantar Mantar in distance. Now only to find way through these streets...



Here we decided it is time to turn around.


This one is from later time, but it fits better to chapter about city.

Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar is old observatory used for measuring time, keeping calendar, finding locations of planets (astrological purposes - oh well, nobody is perfect) and other useful things. But it does not look like that. It looks more like playground. And I would say people are going there more for its aesthetics than science.

As we got in we found empty bench in shade, sat down and relaxed for long time (1 hour? Maybe bit less). We even absolved guided tour there as group of people stopped next to us (shade was big enough for everybody) and their guide was talking about it. When he finished we stood up and started our exploration.

After we were done we went to sit into shade again (this time at different place). Sun was slowly setting down and colours were intense. Whole Jantar Mantar is in yellow colours and sun just enhanced them. Then Zuzka noticed Hawa Mahal. That was planned as our final place to visit today, but we did not know it is visible from Jantar Mantar. We rested for bit longer and then went to streets again.







The biggest instrument in whole observatory.



On the left side of this building is toilet. On the right side is drinking water. I wonder what is the purpose of this building. Maybe it is full of water filters... if we are lucky :-)




Hawa Mahal

In our way to Hawa Mahal we needed to pass through street with many shops (bazaar?). It was quite nice and it had atmosphere. I even bought sun block, because I forgot mine somewhere yesterday.

As we came to Hawa Mahal guards waved at us it is closed. We came at 16:35, hoping it will be open till 17:30 as all serious attractions should be, but not this one. It closed shortly before our arrival. So we took a few photos from outside and we have been finished with our plans.

But it was too soon to go back to guest house. So we returned to bazaar, this time we went along other side of street. Well, that was the scariest crossing of the street till now. It really helped we learned how to do that with youtube videos ;-)

A bit later we were "tricked" into shop with shawls, scarves and pashminas. Trick was simple - yelling at us "The same shawl you have for 25 Rs or $1". We had heard it before and we were curious now. So merchant started to produce a lot of different cloths, some of them were nice, some of them looked like towels (their patterns reminded me towels, not its material as it should be silk). Later on we went to pashminas, merchant shown us trick with pashmina passing easily through ring. After awkward pause he understood it did not impress us much so he followed by explaining that it supposedly means it is high quality item. I asked him to show us the same trick with "crappy" pashmina just to see the difference, but he claimed they do not stock them :-( It is pity, I guess if they had one piece with tag "Presentation sample - do not buy!" it would help them with their business :-)

We eventually selected a few pieces and bargaining could begin. He told us his idea of price, but it seemed too much to us. So he asked what price we have in our minds. We produced random number smaller than his first offer. He put both of them on paper and his second iteration was bigger than arithmetic mean of prices from first iteration. Then I got rules of this game! :-) Finally we were been able to lower price for about 30% that was pretty lousy achievement, but we were satisfied. To make our deal real victory he asked us for Slovak coin, but we did not have any, as we came from UK. I could find 20 pence, but I did not want. So we gave him postcard from Cardiff. Only later we realized that we should have written something on it, just to kill its potential to be sold as reference to some fake service (if you remember recent post describing book with fake references they shown us at DTTDC in New Delhi, you might get an idea what I mean - postcard with thank-you-note is something I consider reliable reference).

Snehdeep guest house

After our another great deal that helped to grow GNP of India ;-) we started to look for rickshaw to take us back to guest house. We have stopped the first one. No way he will take us for 40. Bye! The second one was the same, even 50 was not enough - it is up to hill. Bye! If I remember correctly the 3rd one did not have clue where we want to go. Finally the 5th agreed with 50 Rs. On the other hand he did not know where it is, but he asked shortly before we reached Sethi Colony and then he was able to bring us there.

It was still light (we said we will come after getting dark) and we did not feel well about returning sooner. So we went around streets - it is quite nice residential area, big houses are everywhere. As dark happened we felt good about our return, fortunately it was rather soon.

Dinner was very good, we dinned with other couple that wanted to go to Jaisalmer - they were from Denmark. We spoke about our experiences as they arrived to India on the same day as we did. We talked about our plans and different things. Very nice evening.

Our host shown us his guest book (with names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses!) and we gave him postcard with thank-you-note. Our impression from yesterday about place worth of return was only confirmed.

Railways station

Finally time to leave came. All of us went to street corner where we found rickshaw and another one came quicky. Both rickhshaw drivers agreed they together will get 160 Rs for taking us to station. It was slighly more than pre-paid one, but there were 3 people per rickshaw...

Station was again full of sleeping people, we went directly to platform 4, where our train should come. The platform was full too, clearly there are not many trains going to Jaisalmer so everybody needed to go by this one. I was observing rats running on rails to pass time as train was delayed about 45 minutes. But important part was it arrived! :-)

See you in Jailsalmer!