Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Man down!

Five days in and Delhi belly had reared its ugly head. Ruth had endured amazingly, trooping through the sights, stopping occasionally to hug a porcelain bowl or two, but a day of R&R was required.

Pia and I tucked Ruth in for the morning and headed to the Amber Fort. Mr Singh, kindly knew the 'secret back street' which saved us a steep uphill walk. The fort took on resemblance of a mini Great Wall of China with the surrounding wall weaving through the hilly ranges of Jaipur. Inside the fort there were so many nooks and hidden passage ways. So many that it took us a good 20 minutes on figuring out how to exit the facilities. Not the most reassuring for the necessary navigation skills needed in the days to come.

Next we made our way to a factory that makes, exports and locally sells textiles. The owner took us upstairs into a room no bigger than 40m squared where about 10 men were working on the sewing machines with a handful of women sitting on the floor embroidering. Certainly puts working conditions into perspective and this was probably rated more in the top end for Indian standards. Pia and I managed to spend the next hour umming and arrring all the different materials, patterns and designs for our Indian style costumes. In the end we made a mini investment and purchased beautiful, vibrant coloured saris.

After shopping up a store we knocked off some more of the local sightseeing places off the list, Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. This left the rest of the afternoon free to enjoy a leisurely elephant ride through the backstreets of Jaipur. By this time Ruth had decided to join us on our adventure, which we thought was a little way away but was literally around the corner from our hotel. Obviously the window views from the hotel of a little boy camped out on the street pant less, also suffering from Delhi belly wasn't the most pleasurable sight for 6 hours.

We learnt the elephants that take tourists up to Amber fort work in the morning or the afternoon. Only doing 2 trips up a day. In total there are around 400 elephants that live in the surrounding area. This is very noticeable when driving around the neighbourhood. Often during our 2 day stay we would have to dodge and weave around the enormous, grey mammals. Only 2 adults were allowed on the elephant so Pia and I cautiously went aboard and enjoyed a leisurely walk around the backstreets. Upon our journey we encountered many children and quite a few who liked pegging rocks at our living vehicle. The elephant driver was not impressed, he even managed to catch one of the stones and peg it back at the little boy, priceless!

By day 5, another one of the team fell victim to the dreaded Delhi belly. Not the most pleasant experiencing especially when a flight is scheduled for that afternoon. With medication consumed and the last toilet stop for who knows how long we headed off to Albert Hall museum to be cultured minded. Hmmm... Thirty minutes later we were back in the car. With time still to kill and Ruth and Mr Singh both still feeling vomitus, Ruth suggested a medical centre. Little did we know we would be taken to Jaipur's largest hospital where hundreds of Indians were filtering in through the gate and not a single tourist was in sight. It took less than a minute for us to decide maybe this wasn't the best option as we quickly U turned out. From there we were dropped at the airport 3 hours before check in - whoop dee doo!
6 hours later we landed in Mumbai to be greeted by a tropical coastal city, which was much cleaner then the other cities we had visited in India. Before we knew it we drove into the Sun 'n' Sand hotel, which was 50 years old and used to be a hit amongst Bollywood stars. Perhaps this was due to having the first pool in India.

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