After a nice brekkie of scrambled egg on toast and a fresh fruit salad, our driver picked us up at 10am and took us first to the City Palace. Another huge building in the usual grand style with some beautifully decorated doors. It wasn’t too expensive, either, at 180Rs including the camera fee.
There wasn’t a whole lot to see, but it was a nice wander and my Newcastle shirt got the attention of another young lady who we got talking to for a while. Her and her friend had been doing volunteer work down south and taken a break for the festive season. Fingers crossed we might see them in Goa as they’re due there the same time we are.
Within the palace are a couple of galleries, one of weapons and one of old artworks and documents. I wish I understood Hindi as the old books were dates as early as the 1700’s and I’m curious to see how their language at that age compares to English texts of the same age. The books are astoundingly well preserved with barely a hint of browning at the page edges. OK, I’m a book geek.
Back into the car, we were driven the 12 or so kilometres to the fort-place of Amber. Again, cheap to get in and stuffed to the gills with tourists (and people trying to sell us teeny carved elephants). Despite a nice garden inside, and the sheer size of it, we were somewhat unimpressed. Most of the building is very plain with little decoration or furniture. It takes a while to wander round and the view into the valley is nice and all, but there’s really not a lot there. Of course, we didn’t take a tour guide which may have made all the difference. One of them told us it was “complicated” without a guide. Yes. Well.
Our next stop was a shop which apparently belongs to a friend of our driver. Once upon a time, he did the same job ferrying oiks like us around. Now he’s settled down and sells textiles to oiks like us. Out of politeness, we wandered in, looked around and wandered out again.
Finally, lunch. McD’s. Hans had some kind of tikka veggie burger, I had a chicken burger and a veggie pizza puff pastry thing, which was kind of nice. After we’d filled ourselves, we walked back out in the the hordes of people asking for food and ignored them. Did I feel bad about this? No. Not really. I feel bad about the fact I didn’t feel bad. I guess I’ve just got jaded to it all. You can only have so many children and mothers miming “food” at you before it’s just so commonplace you can’t help but ignore it, like the traffic or the cows in the road.
After we got back to the hotel, we cut our driver loose for the day. This afternoon is one for chilling out and reading. Hans is buried in a Matthew Reilly book, I’m ploughing through another Lee Child novel.
Tomorrow we leave Rajisthan and enter Uttar Pradesh and Agra – home of the Taj Mahal.