(This is a looong one)
Sept. 6 – Checked out of the hotel in Agra (we had blackouts every five minutes in the evening, until we decided to turn off the airconditioning) and Mr. Singh drove us on to Jaipur. Indian city roads at rush hour was bad, but country roads are worse! You have to mind the cows, camels, the occasional pig and other vehicles of course. Scary stuff.
It was another long journey, and at one point I saw a road sign saying the still unfinished highway we were on was being built by IJM India. Nak amik gambar tak sempat.
Corn fields and clay bricks flanked the roads we travelled on most of the way. The driver stopped at a small village in the middle of nowhere (that we know of). We were stared at, of course. Mr. Singh had an animated conversation with a young man, in Hindi and English although I couldn’t capture most of what they were saying. Coy and I snapped some weird photos, I mean, we have kerbau here, right? Bloody tourists we were. Heh.
Moving on, we reached the entrance of Jaipur, marked by some sort of half abandoned buildings on both sides of the ascending and winding road. The city is much bigger than Agra, with many schools, colleges and universities, as well as healthcare facilities.
We were getting hungry and suggested lunch, always an interesting affair with Mr. Singh, who would be delighted if we said we’ll have vegetarian with him. The place didn’t look too inviting, the back kitchen was dim but at least most of the cooking was done out front. It looked to me like a crampier and comot version of Warong Selera, which had since closed shop to make way for some Muslim fashion house in TTDI.
The cappatis we had during the trip were light of colour and somehow tasted nicer than what I’ve eaten back home. And I had three pieces that day! Was hoping I could walk it off later but we were mostly in the backseat looking out at busy roads and some city scenes from afar. That was after a couple of hours’ resting at the hotel.
Dinner: Vegetable briyani with egg curry, aloo gobi (potatoes with cauliflowers) and another vegetarian dish. The waiters were hanging about, wanting to have a peek at how we eat but they got bored of us after a bit.
Sept 7 – Galta was not what I expected, as I initially couldn’t find the place in my guidebook. I would’ve skipped it if I knew what it was. But then, we’re tourists, right? Coy was ‘bindi-ed’ like, five minutes after we started out and the lady responsible followed us asking for payment for the uncalled for action. She desisted when Mr. Singh told her off, although her protests were still audible from a distance.
To see people bathing in public was a bit disturbing, I guess I wasn’t prepared for the tour that morning and it kinda spoiled the mood a bit. But luckily it was a quick stop and we headed back to the city and spent an hour at the Wind Palace right smack in the commercial area of Jaipur city. That was alright. After that, a bit of shopping and Coy found the ‘Sonia Gandhi saree’ she wanted.
Our last full day in Jaipur and we spent almost 3 hours after lunch at the hotel, without electricity. It was alright at first, since we walked around the nearby shops and then in the hotel garden reading and writing postcards. Mr. Singh even joined in for a bit, saying that he’s expecting his son to arrive later that day. The younger Singh is also a driver, see, and was bringing two Spainards who have booked at the same hotel.
It started to rain so we had to go to our room, which was pitch dark. Asking for a candle, it was another hour and a couple of enquiries before the lights (and fan) were back on again. By then, Mr. Singh Jr. has arrived, and not well. Some kind of bug and after dinner, the dad got warm milk for the son, which made us kinda worried.
Sept 8 – When we emerged from breakfast, Junior was there to greet us. He’s a skinny fellow, not macho like Dad. Checked out, waited a bit more for Mr. Singh and were told that Junior will take us back to Delhi. I had guessed as much, since the son was still recovering and going back to Delhi will enable him to rest. It was a bit sad saying goodbye to Dad and the old car. Plus, Junior didn’t exactly look like he can stand the long drive back but both assured us it would be “no problem”.
Amber Fort was our final stop before Delhi. Two words. Freaking tiring! But it was the last place to visit so what the heck. I could use the workout anyway, after all the rich stuff I’ve had the past week.
We opted to walk, instead of an elephant ride. Halfway, I had wished we didn’t because it was bloody high up and so hot that day. We made it, of course. In one piece.
After that, to Delhi!