Sun, March 1

I woke up this morning feeling much better!! Neocitron really is an amazing thing!! I think I’ll take one more tonight, just so I sleep unconsciously for another night to help with this nutty cold! At least I only have a psycho cold now, and not that painful sore throat thing! Ahhhh….to be able to breathe! J/K
A good breakfast, yet again. Even real brown bread…which was awesome! Apparently the honey is much better than the jam, so I’ll have to try that on my bread tomorrow!
We started off by heading back to central Jaipur to see Hawa Mahal or the Palace of the Winds. It is one of the most famous buildings in Jaipur because of its pink colour (Jaipur is known as the Pink city…they used to regularly “white wash” the city pink because it was economical). The many windows in the façade enabled the ladies to watch the processions that took place in the city palace across the street and the events in the street without being seen. It was quite nice with the morning sun shining.
After that brief stop, we headed off to see the main attraction of the area, the Amber Fort. It was mind boggling. It was immense and the walls covering the hilltops were never ending (I can’t even imagine the Great Wall of China!). The palace once belonged to the same King as the one that owns the city palace. I think it was important in the Mughal rulers because of its strategic location high on the hills. It was built from yellowish-pink stone and brick and was very well maintained. And the views from the fort itself were phenomenal!
I felt awful, however, because it is a huge tourist site and they use elephants to get the tourists up to the top of the fort. Those elephants are not well cared for, don’t have the water they need, and walk all day in the heat. I wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t all organized ahead of time – but it is difficult in a group like this to make a big scene. We did all walk down the hill from up top, however. But – the poor animals! Just to play devil’s advocate, however – the humans using the elephants are also in dire need of the monetary support and depend on the income. It is a very difficult position. In any case, I didn’t really enjoy the elephant ride because of these issues. It isn’t fair to the elephants. Ugggg….
After we returned to the bottom (and dad purchased a couple of the pictures that he really shouldn’t have of him and mom on the elephant), we were dropped off not too far away from the hotel in a great shopping area and we all did some serious damage! I bought an amazing pair of shoes, a scarf, and a lot of paper and books of paper. Some excellent presents. It was great to have the chance to wonder and poke around a bit. It was great bargaining, as well!! Allison and I bought three scarves between us, at the same shop. He originally wanted 3600 Rs for three and I got him down to 1100 Rs for three scarves! That is about the price that they should be!! As soon as they see tourists, they jack their prices up so high, that I don’t feel so bad about negotiating. And, I really do love to do it!!
Mom, dad, and I headed back earlier than the other three because we were all a little tired of the crowds and shopping and I had only about 20Rs left! After a few hours of chilling in each of our hotels, we got together again to look for some rum! It was an interesting experience, actually. The first place that dad and I went to wanted to charge 2.5 times the price that was listed on the bottle. He blamed it on ‘taxes’. Dad and I left! I know perfectly well that the taxes are already included in the listed price, so that was rather aggravating. After going back to the hotel and getting instructions on a better place to go, we went back out again – and didn’t find another liquor store. The third time we went out (with mom, for a little walk) we located a more established liquor store and dad negotiated his bottle of rum (bigger than the first bottle…) from 300 Rs down to 200Rs! Interesting concept to be able to bargain for booze!!
Our walk wasn’t too successful, but we did determine that the ice cream place that Caroline and Allison went to today for lunch isn’t really too far away, and that we will probably go there tomorrow for lunch before we head out on the bus to go to Pushkar.
For dinner, we went to this Italian restaurant called “Little Italy”! It was absolutely amazing. The pizza was to die for! Not a soul in the entire restaurant, but the prices were good and the food was very palatable! J Happy girl!
I think I’ll go deal with my neocitron now, and crash!

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