Jan 16, 2011

jai ho! um, i mean jaipur!

Posted by Mary |

Debating fabrics. They were pretty, but not Rs 60 per meter pretty.

Is any journey possible in India without complications? We left Pushkar on Friday morning. By the time we found a bus to Ajmer, it was standing-room-only. Add a dose of some road construction, and the 20-minute journey took closer to an hour. In Ajmer, we hopped on our train to Jaipur. Since it was a 2-hour daytime trip, we were in sleeper class in a side berth. We used the upper berth for stuff storage and the lower berth for sitting.

Upon arrival, I attempted to fend off rickshaw-wallahs and call the hotel for free pickup, but their driver was not around. So we took a pre-paid and got to the hotel, only to find out that the previous guests had decided to extend their stay. The owner had already booked us into a deluxe room across the street, which he paid for. We did manage to get settled into our hotel on Saturday morning, then headed off to the bazaars.

Jaipur is known as a city for shopping, and it's certainly true that there's lots of goods to be bought. But the goods I want are apparently a bit more elusive. Forget all these crisp, clean stores with their shiny new earring in clean sterling silver settings. I want grimy old jewelry made of questionable metal content. Forget the "Indian costume" stores with their sequins instead of embroidered mirrors and their stiff saris. I want a soft, silky sari with a beautifully decorated pallu.

We went along Bapu and Johari Bazaars, then dove into the tangle of back alleyways, collecting business cards and making notes as we went. I found one ring that haunts me, but I do not recall which shop. If I find it again, it will be a sign from Ganesha to buy it, no matter the price.

Tomorrow is our last full day here. I need to go find the Sikh fabric wholesaler I have negotiated prices with and pick up material for dance costumes. He only sells in 20-meter lengths. We need to see one last palace. Eat one last Indian dinner.