Monday, December 28, 2009

Backtracking: Jaipur and Delhi

Jaipur and Delhi were both kind of a blur. I stuck around in Agra long enough to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise and then I caught the first bus I could to Jaipur. Since I'd had an early start that day, I was exhausted and didn't do much once I arrived, even though it was only late afternoon. I just kind of took it easy and hung out in my room.

For my first (and, as it turns out, only) full day in Jaipur, I did some sightseeing via a VERY long walk to City Palace. I have no idea how long the walk actually was, but it felt like it took me forever to get there. The City Palace was interesting enough, I guess, but I honestly didn't think it was all that great, and I definitely wished I hadn't spent the Rs 300 entrance fee. I also got pretty lost walking back to my hotel, so it made for a long day of walking and (in my opinion) boring sightseeing.

The next day I'd planned to take a train to Delhi in the evening, but my host there requested that I arrive during the day instead. Since it's a 5 1/2 hour bus ride from Jaipur to Delhi, my time in Jaipur was definitely cut short. I spent my last morning running around like crazy, trying to add credit to my SIM card and take (another) cash advance out on my credit card. (This should, hopefully, be the last time I have to do that; things with my bank seem to finally be worked out.) The 5 1/2 hour bus ride ended up taking almost two hours longer than it was supposed to, so I arrived after dark anyway. I met up with my host and we had dinner before we headed back to her apartment.

This brings us up to 22 December. I attempted to do some sightseeing, but my host's house was a bit outside of Delhi so I had a hard time convincing a rickshaw driver to drive me to Old Delhi. I decided that I wasn't really in a sightseeing kind of mood anyway and would use the time to catch up on email, blogging, and picture uploading. (Can you see how very far behind I am with it that it's almost a week after I was in Delhi and I still haven't blogged about it?) After my host got home from work, we went shopping. I was very excited about this because it was my first opportunity to hang out with an Indian woman and I wanted her expertise and help with buying a salwar-kameez. Shopping was a success and as soon as I have pictures taken of me wearing it, I'll be sure to post it.

For my last day in Delhi, I left in the morning with my host. She is a teacher and Humayun's Tomb is within walking distance of her school. It was a beautiful day and I spent a couple of hours meandering around, enjoying the weather, and taking pictures. The tomb was no Taj Mahal, but it was pretty interesting. My favorite shot of the day (and, actually, my favorite moment of the day) happened when a group of schoolboys walked past and asked me to take their picture:

(Cute bunch, aren't they?)

After Humayun's Tomb, I had just enough time to check email and figure out the details of my trip to Bangalore before I had to head back to meet my host. She is a Hindi teacher in a Muslim school and she'd gotten permission from the principal to show me around. It was very neat to see the classrooms and get an idea of what an Indian child's school day must be like. I particularly liked this bulletin board that I saw in the primary school:

(The more English you speak, the better it is for your career.)

Next we went to India Gate, a war memorial, and then out for a bite to eat. I'd asked her what a street vendor was selling and she insisted that we didn't want to eat it from a vendor, but rather we'd go to a restaurant. It turns out that food is called pani puri and it's the most unusually delicious stuff ever. (Although, I was told that it would be sweet and, uh, it's definitely not. It's kind of on the spicy side, actually.) From there we were initially going to go back to the house to rest so that we could go back out again, but we were both too tired. As it turned out, the early morning flight the next morning was as good a reason as any to make it an early night.

* * * * *
By the way, the story of how I was connected to my hosts in Jaipur and Delhi is kind of crazy cool. DSH has a colleague, Vijayshree, who'd told him to let him know if he ever decided to go to India because she would make sure that her family and friends took care of him. When I emailed him that I was here and would she put me in touch with those people, she actually did. So in Jaipur I stayed with Vijayshree's uncle, Dig Vijay, at a hotel that he runs, and in Delhi I stayed with her mom, Deepak.


  1. Those Indian schoolboys are cuter than cute. They all have beautiful smiles! I am glad you are able to catch up on posting. We've all missed that. I can't wait to see a shot of you in your new Indian duds.

    Love ya!

  2. Nice to know tht your trip to Delhi was cool and memorable one....if u are a food loving person.....then i will suggest to visit RAJDHANI restaurant for gujrati food and SARVANABHAVAN for southindian food which u will definitely love......waiting to see ur new look in indian outfit.

  3. Try Dish name-Mysore Dosas at SARVANABHAVAN........

  4. Ranjeet, are those restaurants in Mysore? If so, I'm here for one more day so I'll have to check them out!