AS soon as the train had found its position on the platform, everyone was off. You can see the tourists more clearly here, there's less of us! And the touts notice us easily. At the exit we're bombarded with many fake smiles and helping hands for all "good" prices and we decide on a rickashaw driver for 100 rupees. The Hotel Amer View is 13KM from the train station and the rickashaw driver (Raul) seemed to have a monkey's agility at evading all the potholes and traffic. We came very close to death, but he seemed to be better at cheating it for us.
The poverty, the poverty, the poverty. Marlin Brando wasn't speaking those words, but if he was he'd be speaking of India. That's the only thing that is striking. What's more striking is the TV not recognising that this country has more people not being able to have a decent meal (let alone the 5-a-day), than being able to have a clean set of clothes for a day. Health promotion in here is out the window! Brushing your teeth? These guys wouldn't know what a toothbrush looks like without the dust and rubble on it that you can find on every street corner and house, and person, and dog, and CAMELS. We have finally discovered camels. They're big and come in different colours and shapes, just like people. But unlike the people, when you photograph such beasts, they don't ask you for 10 rupees (like the cheeky boys at the cricket ground outside the Hotel always do when you step outside!)
Perhaps India is very special and we're just a little blind, but at this time of the year I cannot bear the heat and the constant harassment from everyone to enjoy the great culture. You begin to understand why tourists are segregated in air-conditioned taxis and behind Hotel air-conditioned glass, less hassle and cooler. Appart from that our driver Raul took us for day at the water palace, monkey temple and a old burial palace where if you walk up the daring steps and go past the fearful monkeys along the way, you're rewarded with the delightful views of Jaipur. He also showed us the jewelry bazaar (possible scam but we didn't fall for it) and how how textiles are made in Jaipur using Cotton and silk and the natural colours from flowers. And the finish products were individually displayed to us in hope of us buying them, but once again we evaded getting scammed - and live to tell the tale to our children one day, when they're so fullish to go to India in the summer!!
Today we spent doing nothing, a relaxing day and one where we recharge our batteries and reflect on how we got here (by pure luck i think), where we are (in the middle of no-where/desert) and where we're going (in Nepal to see Miss Everest, the Queens of all Mountains). And so off to bed