Thursday, December 13, 2007


We arrived in Jaipur on Thanksgiving and decided to treat ourselves to an "expensive" (meaning over $10...) dinner out. We picked the most obscure place we could find, a revolving restaurant on the top floor of the tallest - and ugliest - building in town. I had a cold and had taken some medication in the hopes of being able to taste our meal, but it didn't mix well with spinning, so Gil was stuck finishing the many creamy and buttery dishes we had ordered on his own. Needless to say, both of us found ourselves in a proper post-Thanksgiving dinner comatose that evening.

Jaipur provides a pleasant mix of old and new India. Modern cafe chains and mobile phone centers happily share the city with classical palaces and timeworn bazaars. A walk through the old city, painted cotton-candy pink, brought us past stone carvers and bangle makers, sari sellers and tea wallas. It also brought us past several architectural wonders, like the Isawri Minar Swarga Sal minaret, which we climbed to the top of for 360 degree views. We also visited the intricately carved Hawa Mahal, which was built for the royal ladies so that they could watch the goings-on of the city below while being carefully shielded from reciprocal glances in accordance with purdah, a custom adopted by the Rajputs of Rajasthan from their Muslim brothers.

A highlight of our time in Jaipur was our visit to Jantar Mantar, the largest of the five observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. The observatory contains scores of antiquated instruments used for measuring time down to the second and meticulously tracking the course of celestial objects through the sky. It was a fascinating place to explore.

The rest of our time in Jaipur was spent trying to secure a SIM card for our mobile phone, an activity that involved an unimaginable amount of red tape (and a little begging). If you give us a call, we'll know it was worth all of the hassle. UPDATE: New number in Thailand - 011 66 853646741

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