Ian & Claire's Adventure
We caught a "luxury" bus to Jaipur, it was the longest and latest running bus ever, it stopped for chai after 20mins then dinner after another hour, we were stared at the whole way, how threy have the energy for it we dont know. We arrived and were immediately ambushed by autorickshaw wallers, all shouting and trying to work out which hotel we were going to....they get up to 50% commision and then you pay double for your whole stay! anyway we managed to drag ourselves into a phone place and called our hotel, after an age and a huge arsy row with many rickshaws a huge 4X4 pulled up an ENORMOUS bloke got out and leant toward Ian and said...Evan? we were really pleased, the place was like a house, even family photos were up and the bed was like concrete but we were knackered and at least there was hot water. The next morning we legged it over to the pearl palace where we knew Emma and Chris (who we met in Goa) were staying. It turned out to be fantastic, huge room with beds foir 6 people, dead comfy. We had breakfast together on the amazing rooftop restaurant, with metal sculpted furniture and a peacock pergola! We then got showered and headed out into Jaipur, it is a very bustly city loads of shops and bazaars but we headed straight to the bazaars inside the old fort walls and went shopping, emma and chris are old hats at this and especially at buying jewellery, gems etc. We had a great time bartering for stuff and found ourselves at one point inside a dingy house upstairs buying claire a necklace and chris many necklaces, all good fun. We then went to another place to look for anklets but he didnt have any but Ian spotted a gorgeous necklace for claire and with our anniversary coming up bought it...very nice. We went for lunch at Neros which turned out to be great food but very expensive and the waiters kept reminding us that the service wasnt included which made us all a bit pissed off. On the way out we saw one last jeweller and on the way out had a ruckuss with a cushion seller whoi said he didnt believe we wanted to do business so he gave us a great price and we left. That night we got pissed on beer on the rooftop and ate really late. The next day we went up to see the Amber fort, we managed to barter a rickshaw driver to take us and thast was the beginning of the hellish day. The driver kept making shaky heads when we mentioned the price then claire ended up calling him a liar and a thief then realised he was talking about the price of an elephant ride and felt quite guilty. We got to the fort and had to then get a 4X4 for the last bit. The fort itself is quite impressive, much of it is covered in shiny small mirror mosaics and there was a beautiful view of the gardens with elephants bathing in the lake below. Part way round we got busted for not having enough camera tickets but the guy came right up to claire and yelled at her so she totally let rip about him the country etc, let off a bit of steam. There wasnt much else to see so we left in a huff without paying the extra on principal as the ticket sellers independantly tried to rip ian and chris of by 50rups. On the way back as expected the rickshaw driver became arsy about taking us to his bosses shops "just to look" we ended up having to shout at him all the way down to just take us back and then at the end he was really nasty about the money saying he would take us to the police because we had paid him the agreed amount and not the double fare he now wnated....ha we walked away. We then went to a shoe shop for emma but she was really annoyed by this point and ended up in a blazing row with the owner. We then went back to the cushion bloke, his brother was very annoyed at the agreed price of a pound each but amazingly the guy honored his agreement, they are far nicer when they do business. On the way back emma got badly nipped and prodded by some 'children of the corn' they also tried to snatch claires bracelet, she had to dig her nails in to stop them, it was the one sarah had leant her as a good luck travel charm. We then rushed back and got a shower before we all went off to the goverment sleeper bus for the long night journey to Udaipur, luckily this time there were no fights or nasty women in the toilets, no sleep expected or gained though.