We were up early and left khajarao for Jaipur. We weren't up early enough to have breakfast, and certaintly weren't clever enough to prepare ourselves a pack up for the 13 hour train ride .. massive error. Long train day, followed by a totally lost rickshaw ride round Jaipur at 12pm who refused to admit he was totally lost (they tend to do that a lot here). Finally found hotel.. but alas no food places open so went to sleep starving!
Moved across town in an effort to find a better hostel for our next couple of nights. Jaipur is by far the nicest and cleanest city we've visited. Not quite so many people squatting for the toilet on the side of the street and a lot less rubbish! After settling in we hopped on a cycle rickshaw and (painfully) watched our rickshaw driver try to cycle us uphill in full suit attire (no idea why). Pretty sure it was slower than walking!
Reached the aptly named 'pink city' which was a huge collection of streets bursting full of street stalls and shops enclosed by the old city walls. No idea how they make a decent amount of money with all of them in each area selling exactly the same thing! Walked our way round to Jaipur Palace, declining the offer by a snake charmer of sitting with a cobra en route. Palace was great- tonnes to see and do. Some impressive stuff including the worlds largest handmade silver caskets- a good 5ft high.
After that we explored the rest of the bustling market and hit up KFC. not a bad shout at all, both ordering collossal amounts of chicken!
Woke up early, headed to Amber Fort just outside of the city. It appeared above a huge hill with its own private lake and is probably one of the coolest things so far! Once reaching the fort, after dodging a good 20 elephants, you literally have free reign to explore the mish mash of internal courtyards, towers and secret underground passageways. We both couldnt help but think it would be the best place ever for gigantic game of paintballing.
Left Jaipur on the train to get to Ranthembore National Park. We thought it would be similar to Periyar NP where there would be loads to do, but turns out that the only way to visit is by organised jeep or canter (large opentop jeep) which are both pretty expensive. They are only 3 hours so the next few days will involve a lot of eating reading and chilling out.
Went and got our haircut in an indian roadside barbers. What an experience. Was a bit worrying to have a total stranger take a razor blade to your neck and ears in a barbers which was no more than a glorified chicken coop. But turned out surprisingly ok.
Got on a safari. Awesome driving through national park on open top lorry. Spectacular scenery. As we drove in saw loads of spotted deer aswell as the occasional sambar deer.. which are huge great things, and the main prey for the tigers here. Also saw wild peacocks, wild boar, huge array of birds including some colourful ones that would eat out of your hands. No tigers unfortunately.
Kept awake all night by the wedding venue across road from our hostel (its wedding season in Rajhastan) and they blare out the most horrendous music long into the night. Not traditional indian music, nor chart music, it seems to be a complete music dumping of several crap tracks including some drum and bass (not a clue). Earplugs were well used in Ranthembore.
Went on safari again but to a different area of forest whete the Ranthembore fort dominates the landscape from and impressive plateau. Again no tigers . Might be something to do with indian tourists.
We have a 'special' hatred for the indian domestic tourist, which is also universally shared by the locals in every place we've visited. Vast hoards of India's noisy middle class, with no respect for anything and sweep across the country. Chucking litter shouting and spitting on each other, its hardly surprising the wildlife wants to w*** off!
Saw a bunch of crocodiles however which was fantastic to see in the wild.. so prehistoric looking.
Our last bid to see a tiger... to no avail. Did an early morning safari.. absolutely freezing but well worth it for the freat experience. Traversing down a gorge this time, saw the same kinds of wildlife.
Cracked out the frisbee when back at the hostel.. which of course drew in a huge crowd of local kids. This quickly turned into thrashing out of a large scale frisbee frenzy- great stuff. A solid 25 competitors of varying standards.
A slow day waiting for the train. Decided not to do a safari today as done so many and very expensive. Just our luck the day we dont go other people saw two tigers up close! k*** s.
We did have a crucial match of cricket against the locals though, which was a good laugh.
Evening train from Ranthembore to Jaselmere