Thursday Oct 6, 2005 - day 7 - Jaipur - Kathy: 168 photos, Bob: 157 photos

            I am writing this in haste because once again, it is late and I’m tired.  We have to get up early tomorrow, so I don’t want to stay up half the night writing like last night.

            Today we were still in Jaipur.  We started off with a city tour that began with a photo op at the Palace of the Winds.

Across the street, we saw snake charmers with real cobras, and that was fun.

It was very hot.

            Next, we went to the Jantar Mantar Observatory where we took lots of photos.  This was like a modern sculpture garden, but the sculptures can tell you the exact time of day, the day of the year,

which astronomy signs are at which location, etc.

It also has the world’s largest sundial.

            Kathy and I climbed to the top of the sundial and surveyed the rest of the sculptures below.

            Next, we went to the City Palace

where the current descendant of the king of Rajasthan lives.  They had fancy decorations, like the largest silver urns in the world.

They had three small museums there, including a museum of things relating to the past kings.  For example, one of the kings was a photography buff, so they had some of his photos.  One loved to do paper cutting, so they had some of his cutouts.  The second museum was a textile museum with examples of the king’s clothes.  The third was a museum of small arms; weapons, shields, and more.  That was the most impressive of the three.

            Next, we went for a walk down the street, visiting the local shops.  This was not a tourist place, this was where the real people shopped, and it was very interesting.  They had many shops, specializing in everything from spices to photocopy machines to foods.

            Next, we took a rickshaw back to our bus.  The bus took us to another “factory”.  This was a textile factory where they make beautiful wool rugs.  What I didn’t realize is that after a wool carpet is made, there is a fuzzy nap on the underside, and they use a torch to burn all the fuzzy stuff off.

Having already bought a silk rug, we were not interested in buying one.

            They also did old-fashion textile ink-stamping.

It was interesting to see them print designs onto fabric with such precision, speed and accuracy, all done by hand.

Kathy is into stamping, making wonderful Christmas and birthday cards, so she was fascinated.  She even talked them into stamping onto her shirt.

When the guy was done, there was an elephant decoration on her back and a big grin on her face.

Bored, we went to another building where we looked at scarves.  I told them I was looking for a simple but warm scarf for my mother.  They dug out a nice simple brown scarf and spread it before us.  I said that it was nice and asked them how much it cost.  They said five hundred dollars!  Again, this is a case where I wouldn’t have even paid fifty dollars, so their prices were more than twenty times more expensive than expected.  Maybe the next “factory” they show us I’ll just sit outside the door and listen to my minidisc music player.  I was thinking that maybe I should offer to sell my camera for only five hundred thousand rupees.  Do these crazy people really think that I have a money-printing press in my basement or something?

            For dinner, some of us (including me and Kathy) paid extra to go to a special dinner and cultural show.  It was a wonderful evening.  First, they gave cooking lessons

where they showed us all the spices

and how to make certain Indian food dishes.  Next, they showed us how to work a real Tandoori oven,

and Kathy did a piece herself!  After that, there were some dancing girls

and a dancing boy who was able to balance five pots on top of a glass that was on his head, all while maintaining a fancy dance. 

The boy looked gay, and it made me wonder how homosexuality is viewed in India, but I was too embarrassed to ask.

            Dinner was great, and then we had a small puppet show.

            Afterward, they showed us how the Turbans are tied.  First, they unraveled it fully: ten meters (more than 30 feet) of cloth that was about a half-meter (one and a half feet) wide. Then the man coiled it a little and wrapped it around his head.  The first layer was pushed up higher on his head and the second layer was coiled around his head like the first.  Those two layers were pushed up on his head higher, and a third layer was added where the others were, and this went on until the whole thing was wrapped up on his head.  Then they put the turban on me and took a photo!

            After that, we went to a small turban museum where we saw the different shapes and colors of many different turbans.  There was also a small bookshop where I bought a book on Hinduism.

            I’d like to write more, but I better get to bed.