Chhotaram had left for Jodphur early that morning so his father presided over breakfast this time. Just as much of a feeder as his son, he pressed “pancake” after “pancake” on us before finally accepting that we couldn’t eat anything else.
We had a little photo shoot in the Girls on Tour t shirts Jackie and Jacquie had done for me as a surprise. Jackie had sewn a circle of friends emblem on each of them in our birth colours on each our was our job title for our trip.
We said our goodbyes, feeling sad to be leaving – this had been a real highlight of our trip. We piled into Chotu’s car and set off on the 6 hour journey to Jaipur.
India’s roads have to be seen – and heard – to be believed. Cows are everywhere, from the smallest to the biggest road and no matter the size of the vehicle, the cow takes precedence. We would quite often see herds of goats and donkeys being driven down a double lane road – many times going against the traffic.
All the trucks are colourfully decorated with the demand for ‘horn please’ on the back. Periodically we would see stalls set up on the side of the road to sell truck drivers streamers and plastic plants.
The drive seemed endless but eventually Chotu pulled off the main road and drove up a track to a farm restaurant for us to have lunch. It was a lovely setting and even better, it had Diet Coke and wifi. Happy days. Whilst our food was being cooked the owner walked us around the farm which was a nice touch. Turned out he and Chotu were best friends from their village.
Continuing our journey, the roads started to get much busier as we got closer to Jaipur. One toll booth was absolute carnage. They closed a lane and then tried to move trucks and cars into already nose to tail lanes. No one gave an inch, horns were being pressed continuously and tempers were definitely fraying.
Eventually we started to come into Jaipur itself. First impressions were not pretty. It was chaotic, dirty and poverty was apparent everywhere. People were living on the side of the road and each time we slowed down beggars would come forward to tap on the window. Our hotel when we arrived though was lovely – another old Haveli but much grander than the one we had stayed at in Udaipur. Jacquie and I checked in only to discover that we had lost Jackie. Turned out she had walked back up the road to an opticians to see how much it would cost to get glasses made. When they asked where she was going next she turned round and showed them the back of her t shirt!
We decided to have cocktails outside before getting ready for dinner and in our excitement, forgot all about the no ice rule. The mojito obviously went straight to my head because somehow I ended up buying two incredibly ugly puppets from a man setting up for a puppet show. I didn’t have enough to make me stay to watch though!