By the time we got to Jaipur, I have to admit I was not in the best mood. We went straight to the City Palace, and our guide there was quite odd. Not to mention unintelligible. Plus it was (as one would expect of India in July) incredibly hot, muggy, and just sort of miserable.
The City Palace would have, I think, been really cool had it not been just another in a line of impressive palaces. This one had more vendors than most, so that was also a bit of a pain. At this point, I was still feeling very under the weather with my cold and pretty exhausted from all of the sightseeing.
One thing I’ve realized is that when I’m planning my own trips, I tend to pace myself for me (shocker), but I’ve also realized that my pace could be considered quite slow. For this trip, I’ve really not been pacing myself differently than a normal trip I’d take, but in general, I try to do about one thing a day. I leave the rest of the time for serendipity – and I have never had trouble filling it or feeling bored. But it also leaves me not feeling rushed to get everything in.
Whereas on a group tour, it’s nice because all of the logistics are worked out. But with the logistics being worked out, many more things can be jammed into a day. So it was a bit of a double whammy for me – way more sightseeing than I’m used to and a pretty bad cold. On a side note, I do consider myself lucky that I made it this far into the trip before getting sick. That really is a blessing! And there are far worse things than a cold!
Back to Jaipur – after the City Palace, we went and checked into our hotel, had a city tour, then went to a fabric shop, and then to dinner.
The walking city tour was actually much more fun than the City Palace. Avi, our G Adventures guide, walked us down the street with tons of shops and explained a lot of things as we passed. She showed us some of the breath freshener options that is a traditional Indian after-dinner refreshment (which was quite nice by the way!) and then showed us different peppers, different spices, and more. The city was bursting with people, and there was so much noise and commotion. It was exactly as loud, beautiful, colorful, and chaotic as you expect India to be.
On the way back to the hotel before the fabric shop, we rode in cycle rickshaws. These are basically carts on the backs of bikes for easy getting around the main area of town. It was a fun experience! I felt a bit bad for our driver because he was pretty old (probably 70s or older) and he was cycling in that heat.
The fabric shop had block printing, and made some really cool things. One thing I’ve noticed about these kinds of workshops is that while things are officially priced in the local currency, they track much more perfectly to either USD or Euro. Which means that they’re expensive for where they are! I found a cute dress and a top I thought about buying – together they would have been just north of $50 (US!). For a workshop in India of what I considered dubious quality, that was quite a lot! So no dress and top for me. (Not to mention – neither of them would have been wear-able in Europe, so I would have been lugging them around for two months without wearing them!)
On our way to dinner, we stopped by one of the government buildings that was lit up at night – it was so pretty!
Then we went to dinner. By this time my cold had mutated into a pounding headache. And dinner had a special surprise! Indian music and dancing!
I felt terrible, because at any other time I would have loved the music and dancing. That night, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and die. The throbbing of the music intensified the throbbing in my head, and then they wanted us to dance with them! I was the mean person who just said no. My brain felt like it was sloshing against the sides of my skull without dancing added!
All in all, not one of my better days abroad. Jaipur was awesome, but the heat and my stupid cold were not!