This post comes from Jaipur - which in my opinion is the worst city I have yet to spend time in, even worse than Delhi and that is saying something!
I got here on Saturday morning after spending a night on the train in a bed next to the loudest snorer ever. There were multiple times that I considered smothering him or myself for that fact to end the misery. I was hoping to get some sort of revenge by purposely waking him up when I got off at my stop at 5am, but unfortunately he woke me up by getting up at 4am to be ready for the same stop. Aaaggghhhh.
Anyway, Jaipur, the Pink City. Don't get me wrong there is a lot to see in terms of sights, but the whole place is busy, dirty, seriously poor and the people are constantly trying to get something out of you.
My first day I took the 3km walk into town (to the dismay of every rikshaw driver I encontered) and during this walk I saw the worst sight. A amn was shuffling down the side of the road on his bum just ahead of me with his legs stretched out in front. As I walked past him I looked over his shoulder as I couldn't figure out why he was moving the way his was. In the approximate 2 seconds that I looked I mananged to register every grim detail. From about 1 inch below his toes to his ankle of his left foot was an open sore. When I say sore I mean the whole of the top of his foot wasn't there. Instead I could see the actual skeleton of his foot amongst the many flies that were feasting on him. Before I knew it I shouted out 'Holy sh*t' and then just put my head down and got moving. It made me feel pretty rough for a good few minutes and I can still see it now. Yuk.
With that in mind that brings me to my worst 3 things about India:
3) Spitting - disgusting habit and everyone does it, men and women. All you can hear are people sniffing and then getting ready to gob it out.
2) Personal hygeine - I do not need to elaborate
1) Animal welfare - I have never seen so many animals that clearly should be put out of there misery. I have seen cows with horns missing and big sores, crippled dogs dragging themselves around looking for food, it is horrible. The worst story I was told which is heartbreaking but at the same time really comical (and I feel so bad for laughing but the image of it is too much for me not to) was about this Oz lad who saw a blind dog. He said it was inching along the path and everytime it heard a car sound its horn (which is seriously about every 2 seconds) the dog was stand totally still to make sure it wasn't him/her in the way. It would then start shuffling again until the next horn!!
Seriously, it is all so wrong.
So, on to more cheery things. My first day was spent visiting the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, which was the place where all of the royal ladies would hang out as they need to be kept away from the view of men, and Jantar Mantar, which was an observatory built in the 1600's. Jantar Mantar was a really cool place and it is amazing that they were able to know so much about the skies and build such advanced tools at that time. One monument there was a massive sundial, 65 feet tall and the largest in the world and it was able to tell the time to an accuracy of within 2 seconds.
In the evening I went to a restaurant and was placed on a table with Jason and Lindsay (married from the US and on a year long honeymoon around India including some volunteer work) and later by Ben (from London and who strangely enough I actually met earlier in the day when we were both looking for directions). These people would become my hombres for the next day.
There were a few sights out of town that we all hadn't seen so we decided to share the cost and go together.
So the next day, after much negotiating with the rikshaw drivers, we went off to visit the Amber Fort, Jaghar Fort, Royal Gate and the Monkey Palace. All of it was quite impressive but it was a long day.
At Amber Fort you could choose to walk up the hill or take a ride up on elephant back. The thing is you all share the same path which was an experiecne walking next to something so huge amd one wrong move and I would be crushed.
To end the day myself and Ben went to the cinema. The Rough Guide (my bible out here) says that if you go to the cinema once in India, then the place we went to last night is where you should go.
The cinema itself was really impressive, the foyer was huge and very grand and the actual cinema itself holds approx 1,200 people. more like a theatre.
The actual film was really good. It was all in Hindi, with the odd line in English. One real example was "what the bloody hell are you doing?" ha ha.
The film was about police corruption in this small town and 2 cops from out of town were brought in to investigate a murder. No lie, at points it was like watching scenes from James Bond or the Bourne Supremacy - I really enjoyed it even though I couldn't understand it. Still the story was pretty easy to follow.
The Indian's all get involved as well, so they applaud, whistle, and shout out 'wwwoooooo' when a romantic scene happens. Funny.
The night finished by meeting up with Jason and Lindsay for dinner and drinks.
Fortunately I am leaving Jaipur tonight and heading to Udaipur with is supposed to be lovely. They also shot part of Octopussy there at the palace in the middle of the lake so looking forward to seeing that.