Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Delhi & Jaipur

(Note: we plan to post all the good photos onto a photo viewing website once we have finished sifting and editing.)

We didn't spend very much time in Delhi other than wandering around the streets near our hotel, which resulted in a few good street shots such as this one: the bangle bracelet vendor.
As I mentioned, our schedule was hectic. It doesn't seem like a big deal to drive 150 km (about 100 miles) in a morning, but it takes about 5 hours in India because the traffic is so crazy and the roads are so bad. We've experienced some crazy driving in China, Vietnam, and Bali; tons of bikes, rickshaws, pedestrians, constant horn blowing, driving in the opposite lane, etc., but in India it is compounded by all the animals both working and wild. I'll talk more about the animals soon. Upon leaving Delhi, we went to Jaipur.

Here is an excerpt from our dossier which I'll quote frequently: "Unusual for India, Jaipur is a planned city, and is one of the most interesting cities in the country, with exuberant 18th and 19th century palaces and an exotic street life. Though it is rapidly expanding and has long ago outgrown the confines of its ancient walls, the Old City of Jaipur is still a fascinating and unique place. Known as the Pink City for the colour of these city walls, the street life has to be seen to be believed. On Jaipur’s streets, camel carts, scooters, cycle rickshaws, modern cars and bullock carts all jostle for space. There are palaces, observatories, parks, shops and a total riot of colour everywhere. Jaipur never fails to thrill."

Note the woman in the foreground who is begging us for food using the universal hand to mouth gesture. More on the begging and poverty to come. There was excellent shopping in India, but the haggling and salesmen were ferocious. The vendors would chase us down the street pushing items in our faces and tugging on our arms. We are pretty good at negotiating, but it wears you down, and by the end of the trip we had our fill. The rumor about India is when you touch a product you must buy it. This was not true for us, but if you even glanced or paused on an item, the vendor would attack. Amber Fort is a magnificent complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built over a period of 125 years by successive rulers. One of many shots of/through the stone carved screens.
Mirrored hallway: Outside the Amber Fort. Yes, it's a real cobra. The City Palace, the principal residence of the former royal family, also houses a museum for textiles, costumes, miniatures, carpets, manuscripts, and arms and armour. Jantar Mantar is a stone observatory created by an astronomer king in the 18th century to measure everything from altitude to time, and map the movement of the planets and the stars.
Giant sundial: this was a pretty cool place.Temple:Lake Palace: looks beautiful doesn't it?
Until you see the water. Like much of India, it smelled of raw sewage and probably was.Streets of Jaipur: ladies sifting lentils while sitting in the street (notice the trash.)
Riding a cramped bus: There are just too many people in India. Most vehicles' occupancy was at least 4 times what it should have been including riding on the roof of the bus. Auto rickshaws (tuk-tuks) meant for two, often carried 12--the people are skinny.Buying saris: I wanted to buy a sari, but the huge selection, quality differences, and cost were so vast, I was instantly overwhelmed and crossed it off my list. I did buy a real pashmina, hand embroidered scarf.
Elephant: fairly common mode of transportation making this one lane alley difficult to navigate with 2-way traffic plus animals.
Finally, I am including this picture. It is not a quality photograph, but it captures so much of what makes India different. See the monkey on top of the building sitting next to the jumble of electric wires? See the mass of people in the background and all the motorcycles, bikes, and rickshaws in the foreground? Note the trash. The building is in shabby shape. This was on Sunday when many of the shops were closed, and the sidewalks were inhabited by sleeping homeless and playing children. However, despite it all, the man on the left is smiling.


Megumi said...

OH WOW!! Your blog is sosososo cool! I've always wanted to go to Hong Kong and India! I am super jealous! Would it be alright if I watched your blog even though I'm not related to you?

amy said...

Anyone can watch and read. I LOVE having readers. If I wanted it to be private, it wouldn't be on the web. Welcome Megumi.

kelly said...

Great post_i see what you mean about it being overwhelming but i appreciate it :)

L and M said...

wow looks like you saw a lot I can't wait to hear more - a couple of those pictures really look like Darling Limited!

The Fab Miss B said...

Wow! The architecture is stunning- that pink building especially- I want to see more! More!