a late start as our new driver takes us on a slight detour. nerhu park! not nerhu palace! oh well, driving around delhi at 7am can be an adventure in itself. we made it to the park and practiced on some boulders and in between some palm trees. my hamstrings welcomed the stretching. my body is in a constant state of confusion here. am i tired, am i awake? am i sore, am i strained? movement. it makes it all better.
we pack in some movement and then check out and settle into our van for the long haul to jaipur in the state of rajasthan. bump bump bump we go along the grand trunk road which apparently goes all the way to europe. however, if i had to drive a road in that condition all the way to europe, i might need to stop and vomit every once in awhile.
a quick stop for lunch and oh, surprise! hello mr. camel sitting by the front door, i did not see you there. camels. they are everywhere. ugly yet regal. scary yet calming. their big faces reminding me of the neverending story. we are in a foreign land.
and we are fugitives.
our driver gets us safely to jaipur, the pink city. every building painted an orangey-pink color as a surprise for prince albert’s visit. and then it stuck.
and then we ran a red light.
normally, running a red light in india means nothing. red is more like a blinking yellow. but with our delhi plates and tourist faces, the police take advantage of the situation. our driver was pulled over and had to go talk to the popo. we stared out the window in anticipation. he returned to the car, pretended to look for his documents, then glanced in his rearview, and hightailed it into drive.
and we were on the run.
they never found us. we safely arrived at our palace hotel after stopping to ask a few local taxi drivers how to get there. that is the mapquest of india. roll down your window when you see a bunch of tuk tuk drivers and ask away. then, try to remember as much of the directors as you can. when you forget, just ask again. and always end with, “ok, thank you boss.”
now, i am not kidding when i say palace hotel. there are a lot of old palaces from the maharaja that have been converted into hotels. our room was covered in beautiful artwork of krishna. we had a balcony overlooking a courtyard. there was a pool and fabulous nooks and crannies full of decorative magic.
and then i found my own magic.
kesar pista. holy crap. move over gulab jamun, there is a new favorite dessert in town. we headed to the rooftop restaurant to enjoy some live music and dancing and dessert. just imagine ice cream. saffron, rose water, and pistachio ice cream. the flavor lingers on your tongue for hours. jasprit and i are milkaholics. we ate our kesar pista ice cream and followed it up with a glass of kesar (saffron) warm milk. too much dairy you say? never!
we danced the night away with the decorated girls spinning their skirts and snapping their wrists. balancing five pots upon her head as she sways over the floor. of course, they invited us up to dance with them. no video, but we need to work on our moves i can assure you.
to bed in our royal suites. my mind felt like i was in this scene from one of my favorite childhood movies, “a little princess.” going to watch this as soon as i get home (yes, i own it). who wants in?
good bye delhi. hello jaipur.