I am writing at the end of our second full day in Jaipur. We visited the Amber Palace about 45 minutes away, complete with elephant rides (I did not partake), monkeys grooming on the rooftops, and an amazing mirrored reception hall. Then onto the Anokhi museum of hand block textiles -- wonderful display. After a stop at a tourist trap for custom tailored clothing ($75 for 2 pairs of pajama bottoms... I don't think so!) we went on to the Anohki flagship store and cafe for lunch in downtown Jaipur. This is where I start to get bitchy.
First of all, we are operating on Indian time so "lunch" is at 3:30, blood sugars are running low, and there are no tables. I finally get in line behind this 30 something willowy lady with bohemian elegant clothing who declares that this is the best place in India to eat a fresh meal. Oh, I ask, where to you live? She's here from Delhi for the lit fest, she tells me. So how did you happen to settle in Delhi? "Oh, I'm just living an interesting life." REALLY, DID SHE JUST ACTUALLY SAY THAT?! How incredibly clever of her! I so wish to shove the organic hummus down her asymmetrically cut linen tunic and then go back to the moderatly ordinary life I'm living. Namaste, beyotch!
All this said, getting acquainted with this small part of India through this tour has been positive and instructive. If I had tried to come here on my own, I would probably have ended up hiding in my hotel room for at least a week. Our leader has hired amazing local guides, provided both linguistic and cultural translation. I would definitely recommend it.
I'll continue to (try) to post pictures and more narrative to round out this journey. We have another day of village visits yet to go. Today's visit to Kaladera for a block printing workshop was extraordinary. Stay tuned!