Thursday, 30 May 2013


A couple of snaps wandering around Jaipur in the morning. A gang of kids were very interested in my travel buddy. And one walked down the street with us. After almost three months in India even my soft drink tasted like masala. Chalk lines on the street in preparation for a parade. Are we in the right spot? Henna. It's about to begin. A flower arrangement on the floor. The gate to The Pink City. The biggest papad ever. A big thumbs up too Rajasthan for being the only state in India that accepts foreign student cards. A sightseeing selfie. Looking up in Janta Mantra. Another snap in Janta Mantra. A cool gate. The City Palace. Snapped from a window in the City Palace. No touching the arms - uh oh. Snapped in the courtyard at The City Palace. The ceiling. Looking up. A big pink wall. More snaps at The City Palace. A fort high up on a hill. The Amber Fort. The view from Amber Fort. Rajasthan is colourful. The secret passage under the fort. Another fort, on a hill overlooking a village. A quick snap of Albert Hall.

We arrived in Jaipur in the morning, and by the time we'd found our hotel, had a shower, and a nap, it was late afternoon so we decided to go for a wander around the city and that we'd do our sightseeing the next day. We wandered around for a while, through little alleys where a gang of kids ran towards us screaming every English word they know - hello, how are you, rupees, which country - and laughed as we chatted to them. We stopped to ask a local guy for directions, and he pointed us in the right direction, but told us that the sights were closing early as their was a festival that afternoon. He then pointed to a building across the street where there was a marque and chairs set up on the roof, and said that we could go up there and get good seats to watch the festival, for free. We were dubious at first - nothing is free in India - but went over to check it out, and as it turned out, the area was set up for tourists to watch the festival. We grabbed a couple of seats, and the street below buzzed with activity - tourists trying to cross the busy road, street vendors and their booming voices, and police trying to control the crowd of locals jostling for a good position to watch. The rooftop filled with tourists, media, and political big-wigs, and after some schmoozing, the festival started. Camels, elephants, dancing gypsies, gods, cows, marching bands - the Indian festival has it all.

The next day we were up early to do some sightseeing - Janta Mantra, Hal Mahal, The City Palace, Albert Hall, and The Amber Fort. It was a beautiful day, until we were at The Amber Fort and man took a picture of me drinking pepsi. And I snapped. I ran over, ripped his camera from his hands, deleted the picture of me, and threw it back at him. I was furious, and months of men taking pictures of me came to the surface and I couldn't ignore it. I yelled insult after insult - although he wouldn't have understood what I was saying - and he and his wife laughed. My travel buddy walked over, and I walked away. When I think back to that day, I remember feeling frustrated, angry, and upset. Frustrated because I couldn't communicated how I was feeling about the situation, angry because I couldn't do anything about it, and upset because I've never felt like this before. I felt violated, and I was helpless.

After spending the rest of the afternoon wandering around The Amber Fort, a quick bus back into the city, and a very quick lap around Albert Hall, we grabbed something to eat and headed back to our hotel to pack and get an early night as we had to be up at five the next morning to catch a train to Agra.


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