Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Festivals, Concubines and Hassles

Flew into Jaipur last night. It is known as the Pink City.

I took a full-day bus tour, which was led by an incomprehensible tour guide with control issues.
I could never figure out when he was speaking English or Hindi (he switched back and forth) and so I never knew when to pay attention. His English took Herculean efforts of the mind to understand. I managed to identify the words "festival" ("petibal") and "concubine", which he said with surprising frequency. As a result I rarely knew where we were when we stopped.

I met a girl from Mexico City, and she would turn to me and ask the things that she didn't understand, thinking that her English was deficient, and I hadn't understood any of them either.
At one point I think he overheard me and a couple from Atlanta saying that we couldn't understand him, so at every stop after that he would insist that we come right next to him as he talked to the group, so that we would understand. (Note: Proximity was not the problem). Then at one point, after a long incomprehensible lecture about a sundial or something, he turned to me and said "See? You understand now, yes?" To which I replied, "Yes!"

We saw a couple of forts, a giant cannon, the City Palace. I don't remember a lot of pink, which is strange, as this is supposed to be the pink city . Maybe tomorrow when I go shopping I'll see the pink.

I am not so happy about the hassles. It is painful to try to hail an autorickshaw, knowing they will overcharge me, but not knowing what fare I should be bargaining for. And if you turn them down, sometimes they will insult you. Which is interesting. A couple I met from Atlanta told me crazy stories about the railway station in Delhi. There are some seriously complex ruses to get you to buy an overpriced ticket or go to the wrong hotel. Sometimes I think I am being ripped off, but I may not be at all. Maybe I should not sweat it and let myself overpay a little to save the hassle.

No comments: