Day 2 in India was a really long day. We awoke in Jaipur and went up to the roof of the hotel to get some food and the view was truly gorgeous as the sun was rising. Again the ever present air pollution couldn’t be avoided but it offered a sort of feel to the place that was nice and calming. I do feel like my lungs are crying out for a deep clean cold breath. But i guess i will have plenty of that when i head back to Chicago in Jan.
Jaipur is a muslim city as well and has a few mosques in the area, so at sunrise the call to prayer echoed out across the landscape and it was amazing. Our hotel room had a special area to kneel and face out to pray.
The plan for the day was to drive from Jaipur to Jodphur. Our driver said we should leave around 8:30am to arrive to Jodphur around 12 noon or so. So we estimated about a 5 hour ride. Well, that was severely underestimated. I don’t have a sense of scale yet for the country and it’s slowing starting to come to focus. This country is freaking huge. Like massively large. Yea i am sure you guys are like “no shit”, but still a fun feeling to take in as you barrel down the highway. We needed to get to Jodphur around 12 noon in order to get checked in and to see my friend, the bride to be! But that wasn’t in the cards. The drive took 8 hours almost 9. It was grueling. Remember my feelings about “flocking” and the ordered sophisticated chaos of the road? No. It’s just plain dangerous. We saw a bus rolled over on the side of the road, all of the windows crushed and smashed, and the crane-like truck there to hoist it up. There were no people on site, but it wasn’t good. We had our share of near misses and now I am certain that driving is dangerous. Will have to contemplate the rest of the trip post this leg of the car.
We stopped for the customary meal in the middle and i really have a hard time processing our driver. In the car, he is very visibly annoyed and stand offish. He doesn’t really talk to us, and generally doesn’t want to be there. But then when we stop at places, he tries to be buddy buddy and talk about his children and how important tipping (us tipping him) is to his family. After the first talk, you take it as a sincere explanation and bit of outreach, but after the 4th time, its like OK. Got it. Maybe he will warm to us, but we really do try and he just doesn’t want to connect. That’s cool. Its going t be an interesting 6 more days with him.
Pulling into the hotel in Jodphur was amazing. This was serious. It is an old palace that had been converted to a hotel, and if Hotel Vivek was at one end, then this place was at the other! Really amazing place and felt serene. After a little scare at check in where they couldn’t find our reservation, we were in! But remember we still don’t have our bag with our nice clothes in them so it was time to go find a tailor.
Shopping for a custom suit is one thing, but doing that in a foreign country and needing the suit with an overnight turn around was something else. Just outside the gates of the hotel, there was a tailor and fabric shop and we just committed to it. We didn’t have any other options. So we went in and got fitted, and I negotiated. I ended up a few hundred lower, but that still makes me feel like I was being gouged from the beginning. Oh well.
“Chuckles” getting fitted
When it came time to pick a style for the suit, it was tough. Do you go traditional Indian Rajastani or do you get a western suit. And if you go indian do you risk showing up to the wedding and looking crazy? We opted to go Indian and didnt even take the first recommendation. Will have to see how that turns out at the wedding.
With us fitted and deal negotiated. We left the shop and headed back to get a nap. There was a dance party later in the night that we were supposed to see the bride to be!! About 11PM the 808 drums were thumping through our room’s walls and so it was time to get dancing!
Walking into the dance room/ bar was intense. I hadn’t yet seen the bride to be, so i was walking into a sub culture with no guide. But the music was right, and a bar is universal, so I settled into the bar and just took in the scene. A few things struck me. One, the crowd was super diverse in age, everyone was up and moving. Two, they were really dancing. People were just dancing and having fun and no one really gave a care, wasn’t stuffy at all. Three, the music WAS universal, and a mix of Hindi to top 30 chart beats. Awesome and fun. I will post up a short video later.
I finally got to see the bride-to-be and dragged Chuckles out to the floor to rep our squad. Was a good night.
Yea i know, not a lot of photos, but remember its been sitting in the back of the car for hours and then sleeping. But i am sure the wedding is going to deliver. I am going to have to limit myself on that post. Just 10 pictures!