3rd Oct 2009
Day 8 Journey to Jaipur
Leisurely lay in this morning, up at 8o/c. Double porridge for breakfast followed by Indian bread and chickpeas. Chai tea in the garden then its back to our room for a final sweep and checkout. Jo says our goodbyes to our new friends while I take care of business. Mr Vikram is waiting for us with the car loaded and we’re soon off. On reflection I’m glad we didn’t switch hotels, it was good to have a little less luxury, no TV or internet for three days didn’t hurt us (don’t think I wanted to see the cricket anyhoo) and we got to meet some interesting people and exchange travel stories in the more casual atmosphere.
On the road for another fascinating journey. Through the rural areas filled with goats, sheep (lots of sheep on the way to market), pigs, cows (always completely confident that no harm will come to them), camel, ox (one does a great big poo in front of the car), all competing for the same road. Housing ranges from brick shells to straw huts, real traditional farm people in traditional dress, seemingly doing traditional farming. Then there’s the motorcycle sale, service and repairs in the towns. I naively thought this was all a myth and have been genuinely surprised how underdeveloped the parts of India we’ve visited, including Delhi.
Pass a procession about 10k outside Jaipur, ornamental camels, followed by man singing from ice cream van, beautifully dressed women decorated with floral garlands, diminishing into anyone in town who fancies it wandering behind. Takes up one side of the dual carriageway, forcing all traffic to drive down the wrong way. Mr Vikram negotiates round the procession but his route is blocked but some building works, we’re forced to double back and into the procession again, Mr V is not pleased! It’s getting on for four hours when we arrive at Shahpura House hotel in Jaipur. Jaipur looks as intimidating and difficult to get around as any other place we’ve been but the hotel is delightful and we’re greeted by the wonderfully enthusiastic and eccentric Indian manager Eric Williams, he informs us he’s Roman Catholic named after St Eric (apparently). Hotel is similarly charming and eccentric, the door to our room is stained glass with a padlock for the key, traditional wooden bed with silk furnishing that wouldn’t be out of place in a harem (except it’s not inhabited by a bevy of veiled beauties in silk pyjamas, unfortunately). Otherwise hotel is small, traditional but very clean, bright and well maintained. Have coffee and biscuits before retiring to the room for an afternoon relaxing and catching up with the news.
In the evening enjoy a most delightful meal in the rooftop restaurant. Wonderful surroundings, authentic atmosphere, traditional dancing and excellent food. Try Indian Fosters as recommended by some of our fellow travellers, they say its proper Indian and nothing like we get at home. I say it’s like making love in a canoe. Strange puppet man comes on and we go. TV and bed ahhhhh.
Curry count 10