the last days in Rajasthan

            Oh Jaipur! There’s so much to say and I don’t really feel like going through the details. It was a very, very long day – arriving early in the morning, touring about and then sleeping late for a very early flight the next morning. The best was getting on the train. We arrived at the station really early because we didn’t have a ticket – once they print the seating chart, even if there are seats left, you can’t purchase a ticket on line. So we got there early for a ticket and sat in the station for almost an hour. An old uncle who occupied the seat between Gayatri and I (Aaron got a single seat a few metres away) commented to his family, who were sitting on the seats behind us, that I’m writing. Then we proceeded to have a conversation on why I was writing and why I write in general. They took a photo of me with their cell phone and showed it to him. He didn’t seem to care all that much and emphasized that by telling me, “Who cares, they’re crazy.”  He spoke a mix between Hindi and Marwadi so it was difficult to understand him. The girls giggling towards our side belonged to him, I’m assuming his granddaughters. They’ll get married he said.

            We got on the train only to get into another argument because a seat was double booked and the other guy, a tour guide for some French group, wasn’t sharing the responsibility. When we got to the hotel, they tried to tell us that we should have two separate rooms because Aaron is a boy. Apparently the law also says that an Indian woman cannot share a room with a man.

            At the hotel we had parathas. They were amazing. Kalayan, the chef, got the ingredients and cooked everything from scratch. He was the highlight of our trip. While leaving we made sure to say goodbye to him and he made Gayatri and I sign his book. He was always with a smile and his food was amazing. As Gayatri said, there are very few people like him in the world still. We appreciate him.

           All the rickshaw rivers definitely overcharged and tried to shoo them off but we got one finally who only wanted to take us to different markets for shopping even though we told him we wanted to go to the fort and the Palace. By the end of the day when he finally understood we didn’t want to go anywhere for shopping he finally shut his mouth (before that he kept talking about if we want this or that, and he knows where to go, etc). Gayatri wanted to get some sweets for her coworkers and then he wouldn’t stop and went on and on about how we said we didn’t want to stop. It was a mess.

            As for Jaipur, it was fine. The Fort was awesome and huge and had fun tunnels in and around it. We went to Jantar Mandar afterwards. I was done, fort-ed out, touristed out, done. It was interesting but complicated – an astrological observatory – the mechanisms were amazing, huge, and complicated. It was hot and I was done, so after about 10 minutes I found a nice shady spot and zoned out. We decided to skip the Palace and go back for a longer dinner and relaxation. We stopped to get some cachori and sat in our hotel room to just relax. The early morning flight loomed in our heads and I got to read a bit of my Chhota Rajkumar (The Little Prince) in Hindi with Gayatri before napping. In Bombay I got to hang with Aaron and our friends for a bit before heading off to Kerala.

            Kerala is amazing in every way. Landing in the plane I was so excited to see so much green; the smile wouldn’t come off my face. More on that later though. 

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