Haven't updated in a while. I've actually been really ill and so I've just been stuck in bed, not wanting to move or anything. Thankfully I think it was just something dodgy I ate at the street market, rather than anything more serious. I've heard stories from other travellers about parasites in the intestines and all sorts, which was really freaking me out last week, seems ok now though. I just need to be more careful and go back to being a vegetarian.
I managed to get out a few days ago to check out Jaipur.
After a few hours on the 'air conditioned' bus I arrived in the dusty city of Jaipur - otherwise known as the Pink City.
I spent the day wandering around the pink city - it is surrounded by walls and every building and wall is painted pink (well actually, terracotta, but close enough!). Jaipur has long since spilled out of these original city walls, and the rest of the city isn't all pink, so it was nice to see what it was originally like. Everything was very old, with lots of markets, temples and lanes winding through the busy citadel. Cows were walking along the road, while motorbikes, buses and cars scooted around them. People were selling herbs, spices, flowers, sweets, medicines and everything else imaginable. What made it even more spectacular was the ancient fort on the hill above the city. Used long ago to protect the surrounding areas.
In the pink, walled part of the city we went to a temple with a view over the city. A man gave us a large pole to scare away any monkeys with - I held onto it tightly! Luckily no monkeys bothered us and we were able to enjoy the view and relative peacefulness without the nuisance monkeys. The view gave great perspective as you could see past the pink walls, to the more modern parts of the city, where malls and other large buildings are rapidly developing.
I also spent a day at the Amber (pronounced Amer) Fort, another ancient fort 11km outside of the city. I caught the public bus there, which was an experience in itself, we had seats but eventually the bus was so full that people really were pretty much hanging out the window!
The Amber fort was built in 1592AD and contains a palace inside the walls. It was amazing to walk around inside the fort and imagine what must have gone on in here all those years ago. The views were spectacular, particularly of the lake and gardens below. There was even a tunnel connecting this fort to the Jaigarh Fort, which was used to protect Amer Fort in ancient times.
After exploring the fort and catching the bus back to the city, I was exhausted. I got back to my hostel and just flaked. Think I'm weak from being so ill lately. Just going to spend today chilling out and catching up with emails and stuff online.
There's definitely a lot going on India, and it's all kinds of fascinating, but I haven't made up my mind yet as to whether I actually like it. I'll let you know as soon as I do!