Hello Blog Readers!
Today was our first day of sightseeing in the “pink city”, Jaipur. Our day started off on a long drive to the Amber Palace passing the old city section of Jaipur on the way. The old city was the second capital of Jaipur and is the section that is painted “pink”, a terracotta red color. Our destination, Amber Palace and Fort is situated in a protected valley was the first capital. To travel up the steep hills to Amber Palace a ride on elephants was required! This was THE day we had all been waiting for in our lives. The elephants were amazing and skilled - one elephant picked up money when thrown on the ground, while another gave its passengers a quick shower (by picking up water from the lake with its trunk).
|Elephants waiting for passengers|
The palace was huge with multiple sections including the royal apartments. There were 12 sets of apartments for the 12 wives of the Maharaja (King), each with a secret staircase directly to the maharaja’s own apartment. Clearly, the Maharaja knew how to manage his own household as well as his kingdom. ;).
On the drive back, we made two stops. The first was at a Hindu temple that was devoted to the Lord Krishna. The second was at a lake. In the middle of the lake was a summer house of the royal family that was accessible only by boat. We thought about striking it out by swimming to the house….somehow the idea was rejected.
|Summer house on the lake|
Our next destination was the Prince Albert Museum, where our group was turned into the museum display. Sitting at the exit, we could not have been more conspicuous. There was many requests for pictures, especially with our tallest girls, Natalie and Emily. There were many pictures taken without permission and lots of gawking to last a lifetime. Some awkward hugs and many pictures later, we decided that the best way to counteract the attention was to whip out our cameras and start taking pictures of those taking pictures of us. Whatever the local people thought, we thought our strategy was hilarious.
After Mumbai, this was our first chance to shop for jewelry, clothes, textiles and handicrafts in a city famous for such things. Clearly being a group of foreigners, we attracted some funny interactions.
Natalie went to jail?....for eating a chicken?
The conversation went like this with a shop owner who, no surprises, asked Natalie about her height.
“How did you get so tall?”
“I ate a lot of chicken.” (Natalie not really knowing how to answer this question)
“Did you go to jail?” he asked. However, Natalie heard “Did you go the gym?”
“Yes, I guess.”
A little bit later, Natalie realized she had said yes to the wrong thing.
The shop owner was very insistent that Natalie did in fact go to jail for killing a chicken, not listening to her multiple attempts to clear up the misconception.
Throughout our two hour shopping trip, two of our group emerged to be an aggressive and intimidating pair. Ariana and I have this same thought process and technique, which involved yelling at the shop owners so much that they have to give in. and using illogical reasoning to addle their brains. I also realized that being Indian, if they realized that I wasn’t a foreigner, I would get cheaper prices. This led to inventing some Indian alter egos and if the shop owners compared all the stories I told, not 10% would match up. The plan for the next day was for Ariana to bargain in a Russian accent as Svetlana.
Thus, our day came to end over a good meal with an even busier day in Jaipur to look forward to tomorrow.