Jaipur, October 2012
I am in a warm minibus. The landcape gets dryer and the first signs of desert appear. I see a camel and an elephant and get greatly excited.
There is something romantic about this dusty, thirsty landscape. The sandy roads, sometimes busy, sometimes quiet. Women wearing colorful skirts, and shiny bracelets. Tall men who show their white teeth, black mustaches and big turbans. Animals carrying lots of goods: dromedaries, elephants, buffalo’s and horses. The dry land, with sometimes people working in the fields.
I think back of the first time I saw pictures of Rajasthan. I was twelve years old and writing a paper about India for school. I was fascinated by how different this world looked than mine, and hoped that one day I could see Rajasthan. With my own eyes.
We are approaching Jaipur and drive past an old romantic fort with a lot of tourists and traffic. Amber. The minibus stops and the driver tells us we have reached our destination. A short discussion about our destination between us and the driver follows. Then the driver arranges a tuk-tuk and we are brought into town.
Lots of dust and traffic. Cows and other animals on the roads. And again many, many people. Fruit, flowers, handicrafts, animals, spices, candy, clothes. We race our way through town and the young tuktuk driver tries to sell his tours and hashish.
Look for a place to stay. A common ritual. I am starving, decide to eat first and not to shop on an empty stomach.
A couple of hours later I have found myself a nice, just renovated room. The smell of paint surrounds me as I try to go to sleep later. A headache follows.
The next day. Walking to the historical city center is challenging, scary even. Traffic is crazy and some people are mad. Tuk-tuks are offered everywhere and drivers are pushy. Cars are always in an extreme hurry. Sellers are pushy. The cows walk around the traffic and complete the chaos. Who designed this?
I visit palaces and temples and wonder again about the big contrast – the chaotic, noisy and dirty streets, and these impressive buildings breathing out wealth. I walk back to my hotel during rush hour and realize again it is impossible to walk.
I made it to a Kingfisher. It is getting dark now and I listen to the mosque, while Jaipur is getting ready for another evening.