Up at 4:45am, though I was awake from 3:45am. Elana, Kristal and Ryan joined us just in time to round out the group. Elana's another one on my bad side because of the name, but at least she pronounces it correctly. Left the hotel 5:15am, train left Delhi 6:05am. Breakfast was doughnut things in mashed rice. Not spectacular. On the train Emma said I looked like Matthew Perry in my passport photo. I'll take that over Tom Hanks. Arrived in Jaipur around 11am.
Tuk-tuk ride from the train station to the hotel. Wait, here's a moving-picture version::
We checked into the Bissau Palace, which makes the Shanti Palace seem like a big stretch.
My biggest hotel bathroom in recent memory. My room smelled of exotic spices and oils, and maybe even creams!
Front of the hotel.
We had lunch at the hotel, which had free Wi-Fi. I never take my phone out of the country (at least not since I lost mine on the Love Boat) since I can't use it to make calls or text, but I thought of bringing it for Wi-Fi. Ultimately I decided it wasn't worth it. Almost everyone else decided differently. So at lunch the friend requests start flying, and I have to wait to use one of the hotel computers to accept them since I have no phone. Noted for next time.
Lunch, by the way, was "chili chicken", but it was a sweet chili sauce, not spicy at all. We found out that Elana will be leaving us in Varanasi. Big mess involving her originally-scheduled tour getting cancelled and an accidental single-entry visa.
At 3pm we left by foot for the City Palace.
I think I linked a goat photo in a previous travelogue to the Sesame Street video, so here I'll just say "Gregory, Mrs. Gould is in the closet." Identify that one!
Palace of the Winds. This is just a fašade, which as we all know from the Universal Studios tour is a French word meaning "false front". Do they still say that on the tour? Justine, if you're reading this, please confirm. And say hi to Babs for me.
At the City Palace we passed through the old city wall (I mean through a gate, not directly through the wall like a spectre) and saw cows and goats and MONKEYS! There are so many monkey photos in this travelogue that I won't do the usual thing with the George Michael lyrics.
In the City Palace we had a local guide who showed us around. It was kind of boring, especially the 4 museums at the end.
To the left, where we entered this courtyard, there was a snake charmer. I was about to take a photo but he wanted money. So no cobra pics. There are plenty of MONKEY pics if you keep reading.
Architecture. (I'm proud of this caption.)
I think the guide told us what all these structures were, but I didn't note them in my notebook.
For dinner we went to Natraj on Mi Street, which is recommended by Lonely Planet, so it has to be good. Not really. It was vegetarian and many of us didn't like our food. My Kashmiri curry was bland with bland chunks of bland cheese. Emma's chickpeas were the only thing that looked and tasted Indiaa. The 2 Cokes I had were the first cold ones of the trip though. See, I was wrong about the Pepsi-only thing.
We got back to the hotel at 8:45pm and had a pool party. I didn't go in the pool though. I mean physically enter the pool. "Going" in the pool is something else. Two more big Kingfishers. I have a note about Wet Pussies but I don't remember if they were on the drink menu. Emma: "What's in a Wet Pussy?" Me: "What isn't in a Wet Pussy?" I revealed to someone that I was 42 and got an "oh". I sez to her I sez, "You seem disappointed." I need to get my age legally changed. I was told I look good in my Facebook photo (the one with the balloon penis hat) on account of my stubble, so I'll keep that in mind.
I mentioned to Varun that we'll be at the Taj Mahal the day of the full moon, at it's reportedly awesome to view the Taj in the moonlight, but he said it costs extra to go there at night. Sucks. Also he informed me that the Yeti is not real. Then what am I going to Nepal for?
I left the pool at 11:45pm because there was no more beer. There were plenty of bats through. I was in bed at 12:15am and I heard the party break up right after that.