Ch. 29, Jaipur
I am in love with this world. I have nestled lovingly in it. I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings.—John Burroughs
It’s really a shame I can’t read the notes I made on the coach trip from Ranthambore National Park at Sawai Madhopur to Jaipur because I’m sure there was a lot of good information. Making notes while the coach is rolling along is difficult, to say the least.
I wake up with a scratchy throat, dry mouth, and a feeling that I am looking through the wrong end of binoculars. I hope this is a temporary thing, perhaps attributable to getting so chilled the previous day, and not the beginning of something else. Nonetheless, my energy level is almost non-existent.
We have a box lunch for the long journey ahead to the city of gems and call centers, Jaipur. It contains two white cheese sandwiches (no crusts!), chips, juice, banana, and a couple things that look like small egg rolls. Nothing special, but good.
The highlight of the trip is a “refreshment” stop. The coach pulls off the pavement onto a sandy wide stop and we disembark. Dinesh and his assistant pull out a bottle of McDowell’s Celebration rum and Coca-Cola and proceed to make rum and Cokes for all who want them. I despise any alcohol mixed with Coke, so I opt for straight Coke and am delighted to see a can of Coke Zero, my favorite, in the cooler.
|Our refreshment stop.|
|Traffic rolls by.|
|"Straight up," says Mary.|
Others opt for straight rum. This stop amuses me no end and I can’t help but compare it to a rest stop in the Outback of Australia when we were treated to champagne, orange juice, and canapés while we sat on folding chairs and watched the sun set on Uluru (Ayer’s Rock).
|Refreshment stop, Australian style. Simon serves champagne and OJ.|
|Uluru (Ayer's Rock) in the Australian Outback|
|Watching the sunset of Uluru in Australia. Note the folding chairs.|
And then we are in the big city of Jaipur, famous for its telephone call centers and its gem industry which employs more than half a million people. A quick stop to check in at the hotel, and then we are off in the coach, first to an ATM and then to a temple.
Hundreds of kites are flying along our route. Those that weren’t flying were stuck in trees, power lines, etc.
When the coach stops at the ATM, women with infants and toddlers approach, holding out a hand and then touching it to their mouth. Aboard the coach there is a general feeling of disdain for the beggars using their children.
|The grain, corn, beans, whatever it is, was purchased by people and spread on the ground for the pigeons and other birds. These people are scooping it up to cook.|
|Across from the ATM. Life on the streets.|
|Taking a nap in the gutter.|
A block or so farther on where food vendors were set up, Dinesh says this is a festival day of harvest in this area and one of the traditions is for people to buy prepared food for the poor on the sidewalks and give it to them. “Knowing what we now know, it puts the begging women in a different light,” I say to general agreement. But sadly, we see many women doing the same thing later on in the trip.
And then we cap off the day with a visit to the temple. High on the hill above the temple, another fort catches my eye. It is privately owned, and open for tours only occasionally. Sigh.
|You see a part of the fort on the ridge line. More photos below.|
|The temple at night, just after we left.|
SOME STREET SCENES IN JAIPUR, AND OUR FIVE STAR HOTEL
|The fort on the hill above the temple.|
|Watch where you step.|
|At least this hole has a boulder in it.|
|Note the Harley Davidson sign at left.|
|Any of these very nice buildings might be call centers.|
The ITC Rajputana
|Those are rose petals floating in the fountain.||ountain.|
|Yes, it's the bathroom, but note the telephone and then the small square at the bottom right of the phone. That is the control panel to turn on the audio for the radio or the TV.|
SOME SCENES ON THE WAY FROM SAWAI MADHOPUR TO JAIPUR
|Farmers bring load of greens to the villages where people buy bunches and throw them down for the grazing animals.|
|I suspect henna might have a part in this tail decoration, along with careful shaving.|