The big reunion…
We weren’t expecting it, but Jaipur was just like Delhi. Not because of the place though, but because of the people.
Day 327 – Friday 14th April 2017
This morning I woke up at around 07:00 to the sound of some inconsiderate buggers who decided to stop and chat right outside our dorm. Apparently loads of people arrived overnight but couldn’t check in straight away so had to fill the common room and kitchen areas, which would have ticked me off if it was just anyone, but no – it was only more Madpackers!
Over breakfast we had a count up and realised that of about thirty Zostel guests, at least a third of us were familiar with each other (having met in Delhi at some point last week). It was so surreal!
In the morning a few of us visited the City Palace (where they just so happened to be shooting a Bollywood movie), then walked across the road to Jantar Mantar, a collection of nineteen astronomical instruments, including the largest stone sundial in the world:
For lunch we had McDonald’s, but only to try the Chicken Maharajah Mac – India’s alternative to the Big Mac (which they don’t eat out here because cows are holy).
After eating we walked across the street to Raj Mandir Cinema where we watched a Hindi movie called Begum Jaan, which we assumed would be a Bollywood spectacular but ended up being about a group of prostitutes defending their brothel against the Pakistan/India border. It didn’t have subtitles either, and lasted nearly three hours, but we got the jist (despite not being able to understand a single word):
In the evening we returned to Hotel Royal Sheraton, this time as a group of thirteen, and had so much fun that we forgot to book ourselves a bus out of Jaipur for the morning. It was great to be back in a big group again but we couldn’t let ourselves get used to it – most of our friends are heading north whereas we are heading south, so it was inevitable that we’d have to say goodbye again soon.
Day 328 – Saturday 15th April 2017
Today was emotional. Not only was it our last day in Jaipur, but it was our last day with Jasmine too.
We didn’t do much in the morning other than head over to the trusty Hotel Royal Sheraton for something to eat, where we ended up getting into an unnecessary argument with the manager which resulted in security being called. In short, we were charged for fruit but didn’t get any, so refused to pay it (which is fair). The manager didn’t see it that way though – in his eyes, because we ordered from the set menu, we had to pay in full, regardless of the fact that the fruit was missing. Anyway in the end the owner came out to see what was going on, realised what had happened, apologised to us several times and sent us on our way. What a palaver!
Late in the afternoon we took a taxi to Amber Palace, then walked up past Amer Fort towards Jaigarh Fort (or Victory Fort, as it’s otherwise known):
Unfortunately the fort itself was closed but the walk was worth it anyway, because we managed to get this epic group photo overlooking the Kumbhalgarh Wall – the second longest continuous wall in the world (or as Abbie called it, The Average Wall of India):
Leaving everybody this evening wasn’t easy, but had to be done. We’ve made so many amazing friends and for that I am so thankful, but all good things come to and end. Still, most of us are from the UK, and those who aren’t know that they’ve always got a place to crash if they need to (sorry mum), so hopefully we can sort out a reunion one day.
Our bus left Jaipur at 23:30 from Deluxe Bus Station, which was probably the most un-deluxe station I’ve ever seen, and it felt like the end of an era. Good times, you guys. Thanks for everything.