A Travellerspoint blog

The ride from jaipur to delhi 1.08.08 RPW

Well, after a couple of difficult days dealing with a bad bout of "Delhi Belly", I'm on the mend and "back in the saddle" again. I strongly suggest that anyone going to India, or any country for that matter that has problem drinking water for westerners, obtain a prescription from their doctors for Azithromycin (250mg). It got me back in action within two days.

There was a positive outcome to my intestinal disturbance however. I got introduced to a great little plumbing contraption that converts your standard American water closet into a combination water closet/bidet. A wonderful invention that I have only seen here in India. I liked it so much in fact, that I am purchasing one to bring back to the states to install in a soon to be renovated bathroom.For your viewing pleasure:

1_08_08RPW..ssory_1.jpg

1_08_08_RP..ssory_2.jpg

Okay folk, today we will have a little quiz about the roads of India. There are no prizes for any correct answers as I doubt that anyone will figure the answers out anyway. Of course, Christine will tell you that this is just more of my sophmoric humor. maybe so!

Question #1 How many people can you fit in a rickshaw?

1_08_08_RP..ickshaw.jpg

Answer: As many as you can. I counted ten people in this rickshaw, but am certain that there were two more at the bottom of the heap assuming they survived the trip!!

Question #2 Which is a more effective means of traffic control, A traffic light or a policman with a bataan in his hand?

1_08_08_RP..traffic.jpg

Answer: The policeman. There are sooo many power outages, the traffic light would be useless much of the time. However, I'm not certain that it would actually make much of a difference given the chaos that reins in the streets anyway.

Question #3 (your last chance) Are there weight restriction for vehicles on the road?

1_08_08_ov..t_truck.jpg

Answer: You got to be kidding. If it has wheels put whatever your imagination will allow on the back of it. I've seen a guy riding a bicycle with 6 steel file cabinets on the back of it. I've seen sofas on the back of bicylces, heck, I've seen entire living rooms of furniture on the back of a two wheeled unmotorized form of conveyance.

Perhaps Christine is right, my humor might be a tad adolescent.

I leave you with two photos I took leaving Rhajasthan. No special meaning, I just like them so much, I wanted to share them.

1_08_08_RP..a_truck.jpg

1_08_08_RP..i_child.jpg

Posted by petalsong 08:18 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Hotel Boundaries - Jaipur - 1.07.08 - CG

semi-overcast 15 °C

Ron is on the mend. We stayed in all day, and it seems like his stomach is stabilizing. He had his first real meal tonight in 2 days - plain grilled chicken and white rice.
1_08_08-CG..he_Mend.jpg

A strange event. Last night at dinner, I decided to eat at the "indoor" restaurant in the hotel. An Indian Classical Sarangi player was performing with a very young tabla player. They started playing Rag Yaman, which I am very familiar with. Ron and I moved closer to them and eventually I started singing. The Sarangi player was very impressed. He is a teacher here in Jaipur, and comes from a family of musicians. We talked for a bit and he started asking a lot of questions about my teacher, how much money does a lesson in the US cost, etc. He also told me that he is the only working member of his family and is looking to move to the US. He then proceeded to invite us to his house, to play music and meet his family. We agreed. But when I tried to re-confirm the appointment, and the wait staff of the restaurant were standing around, he changed gears and said that the plan was for him to meet us here at the hotel and do the practice session "next to the pool". I was very confused.

What happened is that the hotel does not want the performers fraternizing with the guests. He stepped over the boundary and tried to step back when the hotel workers were watching. He was supposed to meet us at 5 PM here. He did not show up. He also did not show up for his nightly gig at the hotel. When I asked our waiter if he would be coming, the response was "I don't know what happened with him". I think he was fired, and I feel terrible. But he should not have stepped over that boundary if it meant jeopardizing this job. Ay ya yay.

On another note, yesterday as we were driving through the streets in a rickshaw, I spotted a mural advertising the services of a company named "Omni"! Just like our company! So I couldn't refuse taking this photo:
1_07_08_-_CG_-_Omni.jpg

And here are 2 detail photos from the hotel. The first is of the beautiful paint detail work in the dining room, and the other is the padlock on our bedroom door. Quite an interesting security system!
1_08_08-CG..l_Shah_.jpg
1_08_08-CG..ck_Door.jpg

Tomorrow we have hired a car to take us right back "home" in Delhi. In this way Ron can stop along the way if needed...

Posted by petalsong 07:49 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

A quiet sunday in jaipur-1.06.08-RPW

We arranged for Ali Baba to pick us up at 10:00 for a shopping spree. Although he assured us that all the shops would be open on Sunday, most in fact were not. What a surprise however, that the shops he did want us to go to were open for business. We weren't on the road for five minutes when he informed us that the brakes on the autorickshaw were not working very well. He stopped to buy some brake fluid, but that didn't do the trick. He went to a "mechanic" to have the brakes checked, only to find out that there was a tear in the brake cable to the rear wheels. This "mechanics" entire set of tools consisted of a steel bar to prop the rickshaw on its side to work on it, and two wrenches. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and India is clearly the land of necessity. The repair was made by wrapping the brake cable with a plastic bag! Not a long term fix, but it got us through the day.

1_06_08_-R..ickshaw.jpg

The streets in Jaipur on a Sunday are quiet in comparison to the rest of the week. I took some photos, but it is difficult to get good photos as you are moving and bouncing so much. The following photos reflect a Sunday morning in Jaipur.

1_06_08-RP.._scenes.jpg

1_06_08-RP..scene_2.jpg

1_06_08-RP.._scene3.jpg

1_06_08-RP.._scene4.jpg

1_06_08-RP.._scene5.jpg

Tomorrow, we will again go shopping. This time we will take a rickshaw to the bazaars and walk the streets. I beleive there will be plenty of good photo ops. I will carry some small rupee bills to pay the people that I request to photo.

Stupid me, used the hotel water to brush my teeth, without thinking of the consequences. I was spoiled in Delhi at the Mahajans home where they have a reverse osmosis water filtration system. Well you got it right, I came down with "Delhi Belly". Plenty of immodium and Chrisitine'a prebiotics. If it continues, I will take the prescription medication we got from the travel clinic at Long Island Jewish Hospital where we also got our vaccinations before going on this excursion.

Tomorrow should prove to be an amazing day, by walking the streets and interacting with the local people.

Posted by petalsong 07:24 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Jaipur - Bargaining - 1.6.08 - CG

sunny 21 °C

Ron has come down with a stomach disturbance and the chills. He did not sleep last night. But after taking a concoction of Immodium and herbal anti-parasite formula, along with probiotic pills, he seems to be on the mend rather quickly. I hope so. I am lucky to not have had any issue yet...knock on wood. But I take the herbal formula twice a day, as well as probiotics. I think it has strengthened my system.

Today was supposed to be our shopping day, but many of the street stalls were closed since it is Sunday. But we had Ali Baba pick us up @ 10 AM. Before that, I went to a textile shop around the corner from the hotel. It is a small, basement operation. But they had many nice things. All of India is known for it's textiles & printing, and the area we are in now (Rajasthan) is well known for it's block printed, cotton, vegetable dyed textiles. I am having 2 salwar kameez outfits tailored for me in this traditional cloth (one is red and the other, blue). I started out the day with a frame of mind to bargain hard and yet have fun doing it. And I have to say I am enjoying being a bit tough. I brought down the price of these outfits significantly enough, and continued the approach in all the places we shopped in.

The key is to be indifferent about the item you are trying to purchase. Do not get excited about anything. Ask the price, then shake your head saying "too much". Then counter with a price that is a bit lower than what you are actually willing to pay. The shop owner will start saying "This is a fixed price shop, we cannot change the price. Look at the quality! We have the best in Jaipur (Delhi...etc.)!" Then you shake your head again, and say "I will look at other stores and think about your price." Start walking out the door. The shop owner will then ask you to sit down and say "Since you are a special customer, I will give you a special price". He will then give you a price that is about 10% less than his original price. You then stand up again and get ready to leave, but quote a price that is about 10% higher than what you originally offered. Eventually, the shop owner will come to the price range you are comfortable paying. Especially if he feels you are willing to go elsewhere.

Remember - you can find many shops selling similar items. If you are looking at a handcrafted antique piece, then that's a different story. But still apply the same technique. Unfortunately shops in India are now trying to charge Western prices - so then what's the point of shopping in India? It's better to save the money and shop back at home, where you don't have to deal with carrying the items back.

A few comments about shopping with rickshaw drivers. They all try to push you into stores where they get commissions. If you don't go into their stores, they get very upset. So my suggestion is, when the driver starts pulling you towards the stores, tell him you are willing to visit 1 or 2 of his affiliated stores - but he has to agree to stop at any other place you want to go to along the way and wait in the rickshaw. In this way you help each other out. If you don't go into any of his stores, he will become very difficult to deal with and your trip will be more unpleasant. Just apply some hard bargaining techniques and refuse to buy anything you don't really want.

A Few More Observations on India:

1. Many men hold hands here, as a gesture of friendship. It is surprising and it is also very nice to see. For some strange reason though, women and men do not hold hands as often!

2. Pigs are used as garbage pickers. They eat up all the food-based refuse. Then the destitute people pick through the rest and sort out plastics, glass, etc (to sell back to companies for a few cents?)

3. Most of the beggars are very happy to recieve a pack of cookies/biscuits. However, a few do get upset and look only for rupees. Don't let this stop you from carrying some food and giving to those in need. But try to pick a time and place where you won't be surrounded by 20 more people wanting food.

4. After about a week of traveling in India, the contrasts start merging into one vibrantly disturbing and beautiful landscape. The rawness starts to ease as you become more familiar. The honking even begins to become "white noise".

5. Don't be afraid of smiling back at the children. The contact is amazingly heart warming. If you are a woman, try not to iniatiate eye contact with men. Unless you are in a store and you have started the bargaining process, or if you have chosen to befriend someone. I find that I walk through the streets taking note of the people around me, but I do not let my gaze remain too long on the men. Anyhow, the women here are much more interesting to look at with their brightly textured and colored saris, salwars, jewellery, etc.

6. If you take someone's photo, and they are aware of it, give them 100 rupees as compensation. If they are a crafts person, and you bought something from them, then offer to send them copies of the photo. Try not to photograph people without giving something back.

7. The help staff in hotels are extremely appreciative of being given modest but fair tips. Especially if it is accompanied by a smile and a human quality. If they know you recognize them as equal humans, they will do everything possible to make your stay as comfortable as possible. However, there are always those who want to get money out of you, and not give anything in return.

8. If you are being pestered by street hustlers trying to sell you something you are not interested in, saying :Chalo chalo! (Go go!) gets rid of them suprisingly quickly. I usually start by saying "No thank you" in a civil tone, and by the third time I end up saying "Chalo Chalo" very strongly. They usually do not persist after that.

Time to take a nap...

Posted by petalsong 01:41 Archived in India Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

The excursion to Amber Fort - jaipur- 1.05.08 Ron

Jaipur has an amazing energy. Many of the same characteristics as Delhi in terms of the poverty and chaos on the streets, but there is also a vibrancy to the city. Perhaps it is the sight of camels, elephants and monkeys EVERYWHERE!, or perhaps it is the activity in the shop stalls that line every street. There is much color to this city, unlike Delhi. I am sorry that we are going to miss the kite festival which takes place here in a week or so.

Today's itinerary started with a trip to the Amber Fort. On our way we caught the sight of a snake charmer on the side of the road. Absolutely had to stop to get a photo of Christine doing a duet with the "charmer". And I thought I was the only charmer in her life. Little did I know!!

1_05_08-RP..charmer.jpg

As we walked up to the fort, there came two women walking down the road carrying pots. The women in India carry everything on their heads from bricks and mortar to water and firewood.

1_05_08-RP.._basins.jpg

Like I said, there were elephants everywhere. We saw them coming and...

1_05_08-RP..profile.jpg

we saw them going!!! (sorry, but I couldn't resist doing this).

1_05_08-RP..t_Going.jpg

At the entrance to the Hindi temple at the fort, there was construction going on. I photographed this young boy reconstructing a wall. There obviously are no age restrictions for people to work, if they are lucky enough to find it.

1_05_08-RP.._Shadow.jpg

The fort as Christine mentioned in her blog is a photographers dream. Everywhere you turn there is another photo op. We must have already taken over 1000 photos so far this trip.

1_05_08-RP.._Arches.jpg

As I keep saying over and over, the faces of the people are filled with character yet sadness. There comes across such a calmness or perhaps resignation (Dharma) to their station in life.

1_05_08-RP..Profile1.jpg

For those that know me, you knew I had to have a monkey shot. I tried to be discreet however, and not put him in your face.

1_05_08-RP..on_Fort.jpg

Well, tomorrow should prove to be most interesting. We've hired Ali Baba (you remeber him) to take us in his autorickshaw shopping for the entire day. The Mahajan's gave us a list of shope to start with and then we'll be on our own. This will surely give me new material to write about. Stay tuned...

Posted by petalsong 07:22 Archived in India Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 25) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 »