10 May 2014
Recipe: Manwari Gatta. Coming soon.
Right now I am on the train to Jaipur. I decided that I need to practice learning more words in Hindu and that I am going to buy a Hindu-English dictionary the first chance I get. I understand many of the food meanings, but there are still so many more words to know. The man at the textile shop, Mukesh Jain, told me that if I learn four Hindi words every day, I can learn Hindi in 6 months. I already spent 10 days in India (and have probably learned about 4 words a day) yet if I want to understand more of the language in the next 20 days I am going to have to shoot for about 50-100 words everyday. I do not know if I can realistically do that, but I am going to set a goal for myself to learn 20 new Hindi words each day and 2 new phrases. The Hindi language does not have a hard accent to pick up, so I think I can make progress somewhat quick. I should have been a linguist, I absolutely love to learn new languages! Trains and cars in India are never smooth rides. I can barely type as we zip along in our nice little Indian train.
Our taxi driver and parker.
Our taxi driver trying to take a picture of us, but instead taking a picture of himself… I have 5 photos of him. He finally got it right on the 6th (which is shown above).
Feeding the monkeys in Monkey City and around Monkey Temple.
Today was a great day. We arrived in Jaipur around 4pm this afternoon and went straight on to exploring the city. We hired a nice rickshaw driver that called his three-wheeled beauty, “the Ferrari”. It was great to be able to have such a nice driver to take us around the city and show us all the best spots. He even took us to a great thali place were we could get all you can eat thali (indian curry) for under $1.
First we went to a place called the monkey temple where the “monkey god” of the Hindus supposedly lives. His temple sits on a small mount above the city and is supposedly inhabited by over 7,000 monkeys. We bought a small bag of peanuts and proceeded to feed the monkeys as we walked to the top of the hill. At times it was quite intimidating to be surrounded by hundreds of wild monkeys with only one skinny 19-year-old Indian boy directing us to the top. We put a lot of our faith in this young boy, and he followed through! He called himself the “monkey protector”. It was quite entertaining to hear him tell us over and over again, “No problem, no problem. They do not bite while I am here.” He informed us that no tourists had ever been bitten while he was guiding but that several had been while his friend was guiding. This was part of his clever scheme to get us to choose to be guided by him and not his friend.
More monkey feeding as we walk up to the temple!
Snakes, monkeys, and beautiful cities. India is spectacular!
After the monkey temple we went to the water palace, a beautiful yellow building set out in the middle of a lake with little boathouses surrounding it on all sides. It looked like a dream palace. Can you imagine waking up everyday to see the sunrise over a mystical lake and ancient city? That is what living in the water palace in Jaipur India would feel like.
The impression that most Indians have of Americans is quite funny. They think we all want to be pampered, eat at the nicest restaurants, always have AC, take the nicest taxi, purchase pure silk and cashmere textiles, and want to shop for gemstones all day. Every city we have been to the locals have tried to take us to the 5-star restaurants, top textile markets, and rant about all the beautiful jewelry shops. Even when we tell them that we want to eat local street food, ride in an autorickshaw with the wind as our AC, and stay as far away from the premium textile and jewelry outlets, they still are convinced that is what we want. I admire the respect they have for tourists, but honestly….just let me live like a local for a month!
We ended up going to both a textile and a jewelry store today, of course, our autorickshaw driver insisted just as everyone else… by the end of our city tour we were very tired and were content to be dropped off at our hotel to rest and relax.