Jaipur

More from Jaipur | India

Dave was once again concerned that we see the monuments of Rajasthan so after a breakfast of banana-honey pancakes, we headed off to the Amber Fort. This was actually one of my favorite stops of our entire trip. Nestled in the hills outside of Jaipur, the Amber Fort over looks a valley. 

TheTravelingTeacher-1-6.jpg

I was dying to take a look inside but quite tired of overpaying for the pleasure of simply looking at a building. I noticed as I was standing in line for the entry ticket that there was a student price. So, I whipped out my good old Baylor ID card.  After being scrutinized for a few minutes, I apparently passed for a college student and paid half-price admission (which was still well more than tripple the national ticket price). Tricking the system made this experience slightly more enjoyable than our previous ones.

TheTravelingTeacher-1-8.jpg

The girls decided to sit this one out so I took some time to wander around alone. Again, the building was almost completely open to tourists and I was free to wander down the narrow passageways and steep staircases. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the fort:

TheTravelingTeacher-1-9.jpg
TheTravelingTeacher-74.jpg
TheTravelingTeacher-73.jpg

We stopped by the Water Palace before heading to a textile factory. Shopping is my weakness and once again, I found myself with so much fabric I didn't know what to do. I look forward to sewing it all into something fabulous when I get home this summer!

After eating lunch at a restaurant (which employed someone to wipe the toilet seat before you entered the restroom), we headed back to New Delhi. Luckily, we had all enjoyed riding in the car up to this point because this portion of our trip took nearly 6 hours! Albeit, we stopped for gas and a drug fix (for Dave, not us) and changed a flat tire. This particular flat tire was quite amusing, although without knowing Dave, it's probably just one of those had to be there kind of things. Dave suddenly jerked to the shoulder of the road when we were about an hour away from the city. After casually sticking his head out the window, he turned around to us and announced in the most monotonous voice you could possibly immagine "Tire is flat". It took us a moment to gain composure and stop giggling. After emerging from the car, we tried to capture a bit of the humorous moment on camera, as Dave unloaded our belongings and stacked them on the roof of the car. We failed.

With the sun setting in the distance, our road trip culminated in Melody screaming bloody murder because upon looking at the ground below her feet, she found the corpse o f a dog (minus the head) sticking out of the sand. This unfortunate situation was even funnier because earlier in the day, in the same monotone voice, Dave had distracted himself midsentence by pointing out that "dog is dead" as we passed a twitching dog, in the middle of the street. I don't know whether it was a lack of sleep, trying to ignore Dave snorting something nonchallantly, or seeing a dead dog up close and personal, but it was definitely an entertaining six hours. Upon dropping us off at the hotel, Dave was eager to get a move on but we managed to sequester him for one picture before we parted ways. You can tell how much he loved us

TheTravelingTeacher-1-11.jpg

Jaipur | India

Originally, we had planned to stay in Agra for two days but seeing as how we saw the Taj Mahal in one morning, we decided to change our plans and take a detour to Jaipur. We saw some pretty interesting things, but I think my favorite part of the trip was simply riding in the car and seeing the countryside. As with anywhere, the smaller towns were dramatically different from the large cities. The drive to Jaipur was several hours and about halfway there, Dave asked if we would like to see a temple. In the spirit of being adventurous, we agreed. He pulled off the highway onto a small, two-lane road where we promptly came upon a herd of sheep.

TheTravelingTeacher-55.jpg

Once Dave had honked the horn numerous times, we passed the herd on the side of the road....only to come upon another herd about half a mile up. Then another. Then another. Dave explained that these were real life nomads. Literally. Wandering the Indian countryside with little more than their herds. I don't know about you, but when I think of nomads, I think of people back in Biblical times, not 2012. It was interesting to see that this was still a way of life for so many people.

TheTravelingTeacher-56.jpg

We arrived at the temple a few minutes later. This temple was rather different from any other that I've seen anywhere in the world, in that it was built down and into the rock, rather than up towards the sky. It went about two stories into the ground, down behind us, in order to collect rain water. 

TheTravelingTeacher-60.jpg

We headed back to the highway and passed the herds of sheep, again. After another couple hours, we arrived in Jaipur. We checked into our home stay then headed into town. Dave dropped us off at the City Palace Museum, which turned out to be a tourist trap. The only upside to this stop was getting to see a...snake charmer! After taking pictures of him, I was persuaded to join him on his carpet for a photo. I don't know how he managed to do it because I was sitting quite far away and staring quite intently at his basket but somehow, he signaled to the snake to lunge at me. I absolutely cannot stand snakes and proceeded to scream bloody murder. The charmer insisted that his snake was "safe".

TheTravelingTeacher-66.jpg

We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. Nothing can compare to the determination of the shopkeepers in India. Long story short, I had had my eye on this patchwork quilt with elephants on it. I approached the first shop I came to that had one displayed. For those of you who have visited Canal Street in New York, you have probably been led down a dark alley to a secret room that's behind a wall. It was a similar case at this particular shop and we were led into a basement that was no larger than the size of a jail cell. After about 20 minutes of haggling, I could tell he wasn't going to go any lower. We high-tailed it out of there and stopped in the next shop with the quilts. While I was making my purchase, the first shopkeeper is furiously pounding down the street, seemingly in search of us. Glad we doged that bullet. 

TheTravelingTeacher-68.jpg