Tuesday Oct 4, 2005 - day 5 - Delhi to Jaipur - Kathy: 99 photos, Bob: 108 photos

            Today we got on the bus and headed toward the city of Jaipur.  We stopped and saw a statue of the god Shiva, the destroyer of evil.

The Hindus believe in a trinity of gods, just like the Christians do, all of which are just different manifestations of the one true God.  Instead of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, they have Brahma the creator, Vishnu the organizer and Shiva the destroyer. [A later guide told us to think of GOD as an acronym: G for Generator (Brahma), O for Operator (Vishnu), and D for Destroyer (Shiva).]

            We are riding on the bus and it’s hard to see, so I will try to write more later.

            Sujay had us read aloud a joke paper of “The Highway Code of India.  This was SO MUCH like my own article “How to Drive in Cairo” that I read my article to the fellow tourists too for their amusement.  Both articles got many laughs.

            Most of the day was spent in the bus driving to Jaipur.  Still, it was not boring at all.  We got lots of good photos of the Indian people in their native environment.

The photos were tricky because the bus was moving very fast and bumping us up and down all the time.  I set my shutter speed very fast and let the camera pick the aperture, and hoped for the best.  Some of them turned out nice.

            While driving, we entered the Indian state of Rajasthan.  We stopped for a short break at about 12:30 where I ordered a plate of chicken Makhani, and it was very yummy.

            At 3:00pm, we arrived at Samode Palace,

which was built by one of the Rajput rulers.  The palace was pretty cool, offering several rooms of various


One of the coolest was the hall of mirrors,

which was impressive, but unfortunately, it was just about impossible to get decent photos.  The walls had elaborate paintings on them that were pretty cool.

There were paintings everywhere, some showing Hindu religious scenes, and I liked that.

The palace had long ago been converted into a hotel, and we ate lunch there. 

Outside, the grounds were meticulously groomed by the Indian version of the “weed whip” or “weed wacker.”

Good thing I love Indian food.  I wonder if I’ll be tired of it by the end of the trip.

            The group wanted to sit and chat for a very long time, but Kathy and I were anxious to get going and explore.  We walked around for a while and took some photos.  I saw some goats on the side of a mountain and decided to test the limitations of my camera’s 12X optical and 4X digital zoom.

            After seeing the palace, we walked through the village a while, and that was fun.  We got to see real people doing real things up close.  There were lots of cute kids there, but many of them were being pests.  Some of them were asking me for pens, and I was disappointed because I brought hundreds of pens (and notepads) to India so I could give them away, but they were all locked up in my luggage which was in the cargo area of the bus.

            Riding on the bus for several hours gave me time to reflect on many of the things I have seen.  I took brief notes on one of my own notepads so I would remember them, and I will elaborate now.  Most of these things go in the category of “things that you don’t see in the United States” but I have seen them in India:

            One.  Men riding “shotgun” on top of a semi-trailer truck.

            Two.  Cows walking down the highway by themselves without any owner.

            Three.  Men pushing carts of fruit down the street.

            Four.  Men peeing on bushes and walls in plain sight.

            Five.  Women hauling baskets of rocks from a construction site on their heads.

            Six.  Cars, motorcycles and even big bad-ass trucks coming at us on the freeway the wrong direction!  I kid you not!  There are actually road signs that read “Please do not drive in the wrong direction.”  The problem is so bad that they need road signs, and still they do it.  Today I thought many times I would be in a head-on collision with a truck, but our driver always managed to avoid it somehow.

            Seven.  Men working on freeway overpasses with their bare hands (no tools).

            Eight.  Horse and donkey stables in the middle of downtown.

            Nine.  A cow lying just outside the front door of a house.

            Ten. People playing cricket.

            Eleven.  Trucks and busses passing each other with only inches or centimeters of space between the vehicles.  Many times today, I seriously thought that our bus would take off the side mirrors on another truck or bus.  Many times.

            Twelve.  Pigs running around loose down the street.

            Thirteen.  Camel carts.

            On the bus today, we learned that there were terrorist threats made against Americans in Delhi.  It’s a good thing we left town!  [Note: one week after we got back, terrorists set off several bombs in Delhi, one of which was at the Delhi train station we visited three times this trip!]

            Tonight we ate dinner at the hotel, and afterward, our guide invited us to come to his room and share some whiskey with him.  I do not like the taste of whiskey, but I wanted to go anyway.  Much to my surprise, this whiskey was extremely smooth and tasted wonderful.  It was called Royal Stag, the best whiskey I’ve ever had.  India is full of surprises.

            Here’s another example of Indian weirdness: the light switches in India make absolutely no sense at all.  If you flip on a switch at the hotel, you never know what it’s going to do.  Half the switches don’t seem to do anything.  The other half do something completely absurd.  You’ll have a whole bank of switches right outside the bathroom, for example, and if you flip them, you’ll find that they toggle various lights near the bed.  Meanwhile, good luck trying to find the bathroom light switch, since there won’t be one anywhere nearby.  Since I’m always staying up late writing in my journal, I’m always the one who has to turn out the lights for the evening.  This invariably turns out to be a ten-minute task of trial and error, and nothing is intuitively obvious.

            That’s all for now.  I’m up too late writing, and I have more observations for tomorrow.  I think keeping a notepad with observations is an excellent way to work on a travelogue or journal.

            Tomorrow we’re seeing Jaipur’s Hindu temple to Krishna, and also the market.  I’m looking forward to it.