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Friday, 4 June 2010

Jaipur's 'Flower Market'

Impressions of India: 24

I was told about Jaipur's Flower Market by an Indian friend and it's not in my guidebook - which explains why I was the single Westerner there. I'd started out early, trying to beat the worst of the ferocious heat, but what should have been a 15-minute tuk tuk ride to it turned into an hour-long one. First the driver didn't seem to know where the Flower Market was, then made a diversion and unscheduled stop for chai and 'just looking - no buying' at an antique emporium (an opportunity I declined with some vehemence), and then another in a back street while he disappeared, without explanation, for 20 minutes only to bring  back his 'English-speaking' son (who did no such thing) to replace him in the driving seat. While I was waiting though, I was able to get a few lovely shots of nearby locals. 
Finally I arrived at the elusive Flower Market, which turned out to be a sacks-of-garland-flowers and fruit and veg market rather than any cornucopia of blooms, but it was lively and colourful and well worth the visit anyway. 
This motorbike was so fully-loaded with garland-sacks and these 2 lads that they needed a friend's help to heave it off its stand.
I accepted an offered chai from this sweet tea-stall operator who had signs of horrible burns on his chest and neck and upper forehead. I can only imagine there was some sort of chai-cooking explosion, but he also looked expertly-treated and healed.
4 men to load, 1 woman to carry on her head. Impressive. 

Posts still to come: 

Jaipur's stunning forts
A privileged glimpse of Brigitte Singh's handblocking workshop
Jodhpur's fort and palace
The fabulous Jain temples en route to Udaipur
Udaipur's lake, bats and palace

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

By Bus to Jaipur

Impressions of India: 23

This was a big family group also waiting at the Jain Travels 'Deluxe' bus departure point in Jodhpur. An uncle had just died and they were heading to his funeral (though not on my bus), hence the forehead daubs and garlands. Koshi, the beautiful girl on the right below, adopted me as her 'sister' and asked for a token of this before leading me and my luggage to my waiting bus, so I undid the little necklace given to me by Raj's dad at Shreenath Palace and gave her that, which seemed to satisfy. 
On the 11.30am bus, safely ensconced in my mattressed upper berth once more, although in the full heat of the day it became something of a microwave.
Our only pit-stop on the 8-hr journey - here's to strong bladders!
Back on the bus and eastward once more.
My favourite shot of this post, though I didn't dare buy/try one of the prettily-presented salad snacks.
A freshly-squeezed sugar-cane juice stall
a water station
and a smoking chimney I wouldn't want to use to advertise my company name. 

Posts still to come: 
Jaipur's flower market and stunning forts
Jodhpur's fort and palace
Udaipur's lake, bats and palace