(continued from Indian Diaries Pt. 1…)
I arrived to Jaipur one part sad, one part happy. I was sad because I didn’t want to leave Udaipur. However, happy to explore Jaipur – the famous “Pink City” of India.
Our driver, Dev, met us at the Jaipur airport and didn’t say much. He just grabbed our luggage and threw it on the roof of his car (without ties, mind you). “Are you sure our luggage is safe up there,” we asked. “Yes, of course…” Four hundred speedbumps later, a few prayers and a bout of nausea – we made it safely to our new hotel. Yes, it paled in comparison to the unreal Taj Lake Palace (then again, most hotels will do that from now on) but still managed to be a cute, charming and a very suitable option for India. It was called Alsisar Haveli…
That night, we grabbed dinner and went straight to bed. The following day we woke up early to see the gorgeous (and opulent) City Palace…
ONE-PIECE: (c/o) Onia – more options here
I will admit driving through Jaipur felt disorienting at times. Jaipur is a city with nearly 3.1 million people, making it the tenth most populous city in the country so you can only imagine how many people were crammed on the streets. Rush hour traffic consisted of cars, vans, motorcycles, tuk tuks, bicycles weaving in and out, camels, donkeys, fearless cows, horses, people walking across streets and braving oncoming traffic… you name it… and on roads that were partially gone at times. Busy is an understatement; it felt chaotic. And I guess that’s because I’m not used to seeing that amount of people and animals IRL so it took some getting used to. All I could think about was, “where is everyone going?”
Fortunately, we did not encounter any accidents because Dev, our driver, knew how to navigate the busy streets like a rock star! If you’re planning to visit Jaipur, I highly suggest hiring a driver. It’s well worth it…
[from Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur]
Although Jaipur is an established city, you do see people living in makeshift homes on the side of the road. While I recognize poverty is a worldwide issue (so far, I’ve encountered it in The Bahamas, parts of Mexico and Jamaica), it’s not easy to see and accept. You want to help everyone… but you can’t always do that.
While waiting at a traffic light, a frail woman knocked on my window. She was holding a baby. I had my purse in my lap (in clear sight) and wanted to give her money but my wallet had hundreds of dollars in it (as well as my Passport) so I did not want her to take it from me. We quickly asked Dev, “what do we do… what do we do?!” He didn’t say anything and instead, pulled out a few rupees for the woman. As he rolled down his window, the light turned green and without hesitation, he sped away without giving her anything. At that moment, I locked eyes with her and saw the desperation in her face as she realized she wasn’t getting any money from our car. My heart was broken… I wished I would have done something.
Every time I thought about her during the trip, I felt terrible…
It’s no surprise that when you travel parts of the world that are somewhat “off the beaten path,” you will confront these issues. Not just in India but all over the world.
While touring the City Palace in Jaipur, I met a humble artist selling his work. Each one of his pieces were incredible; the attention to detail was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. His paintbrush was made of a few hairs from a squirrel tail (lol, no joke). His paint colors were mixed with vegetables, flowers and fruits. I was blown away… “Sir, how much does this cost?” I asked as I considered buying one painting for my boyfriend. He told me the price. I gasped and although it was pricey, decided to buy two. An elephant and a peacock. He was so grateful for the business he gave me two more pieces: miniature elephants painted on scraps of paper which I can guarantee took him at least a day to paint each one.
On our last night, Dev invited us to his friend’s farmhouse. He wanted to cook for us so without hesitation, we said all yes. The next day, we drove to the market to buy fresh meat for our meal. Upon arrival to this market, we realized it wasn’t what we were used to in the states. It was (more or less) a tiny hut with a goat standing in front of it. As our driver walked towards the goat, we all started to panic because we thought he was going to kill it in front of us. (Dev’s laughing at this point.) Fortunately, this didn’t happen! We arrived to the farmhouse that (surprisingly) ended up being an elephant sanctuary so we spent our last hours in India eating authentic Indian cuisine with the elephants. It was very special.
I’m not one to talk about my contributions to charities or people in need. That’s something I do out of the kindness of my heart; not for attention so I tend to keep those things private. What I will say is that towards the end of my trip, I did give to one person at the hotel who I felt did an amazing job coordinating my photographer’s surprise birthday, the artist I met in Jaipur as well as one other person who I do not wish to mention on here but deserved the help for his family. I realize you can’t help everyone in this world but you can help one or two individuals. So I encourage you to consider this when you go on your next trip or go about your day-to-day in your hometown… pinpoint someone who really deserves the help and quietly give back. You’ll feel good about it.
As always, thank you for stopping by and reading about my trip! I’m currently working on my next blog post where I plan to answer all of your questions. Sorry it’s taking so long but I’m taking my time… If you have any questions – let me know if the comment section! I promise to be as open as possible about everything.