Pictures as always at the bottom of the post
I tricked you guys in my last blog post, because getting my hands on the original Chai Tea Recipe, wasn’t all that hard. In fact I just asked the owner of our family guesthouse in Jaipur what is in Chai Tea (actually just to know if it’s milk or waterbased) and he immediately yelled at his son to write down the recipe for us, people are just the friendliest here! However get ready for lots of chai from us when we’re back!
We visited gorgeous Amber Fort in Jaipur on top of a mountain, and apparently at night tigers hunt around that street, we were sooo tempted to go, but tigers and tuktuk, that doesn’t sound so safe!
Instead we started counting the number of people that request pictures with us. Within one hour we came up to 12 groups of people. Weird! When we asked our Tuktuk driver what’s up with that he said they simply like handsome and pretty people from the west. Also weird! To take it a step further though, at another place a woman pushed her new-born child into my arms for a picture, without any warning…
We learned about Lake Palace, which didn’t used to be in the middle of a lake. The lake only formed about 10 years ago, and now only 2 of formerly 7 floors are visible. We suggested swimming out there, but turns out only about 5% of all Indians can swim!
As nice as the driver was he suggested us to check out the factory where he used to work. Kevin and I trusting him since he entertained us quite a lot, agreed. The factory turned out to be a fabric store and people tried to sell us things for about an hour ‘if you don’t like, you don’t buy’. They seemed quite upset that I didn’t like though, but in the end let us go and we were glad it didn’t turn out to be one of these scam things everybody warns of.
We took a train the next day to Chittorgarh and met a music teacher on the train who didn’t know John Lennon (a week later, I am still outraged by that, what kind of shitty music teacher doesn’t know John Lennon!?)
Unfortunately that night we saw the first child beggars and I have never been in a more sad, weird and gross situations. You don’t want them to touch you. You don’t want to see them because they look like little Zombies. You want to be ignorant, but you can’t while they yell at you in their language and stare at you with big Bambi eyes and at the same time remember in the back of your head to not give them anything, because encouraging begging is a bad thing.
In Chittorgarh we ate in some backyard where they served us moldy onions, chai tea with ants, but Biryani that I finally like J Always look on the bright side! A bigger highlight than the Biryani was that Kevin lost his GoPro in the grass and when we left some local guy ran after us to give it back – so much for all your stereotypes!
Also, we made our first experiences with bus-riding in India, that everybody warned us of and that is supposed to be super dangerous, because you know what has been on the news. Well going to the Bus Station was quite weird because it doesn’t seem to be a foreigner’s thing to do. There was not one single sign in English, even worse everything was written in Hindi letters (must look up how you call that) and so we had no clue as to how anything functioned. Eventually we asked ten people who all pointed us to some spot, so we just stood there, breathing in the smoke of a trash-burning-fire and some Bus pulled up and it turned out to be the right one. I did not feel threatened or in danger any minute on the bus (well except for their ridiculous driving, but you know in which aspect I mean).
In order to live, people have to overcome stereotypes; you don’t get raped every time you step on a bus in India! Don’t let media control how you think of cultures that you have no own experiences with.
The bus took us to Ajanta Caves, a beautiful collection of caves in a canyon that date back to the 11th Century. It is amazing how well preserved the caves are. The real highlight of our day was though that people just seem to love us. After half an hour walking around the caves we were half-adopted by about 3 groups of Indian families with about 10-15 people in each group. We didn’t even talk to each other, smiles said it all. We took a bunch of pictures with them and shared smiles and laughter without ever really talking it was beautiful. At some point they shared their snacks (seeds with sugar :D) with us and invited us to come to their house after. It’s these kind of experiences that make you appreciate travelling and that teach you about a culture.
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