Jaipur, known as the Pink City, was our third stop in India. This city, following Delhi and Agra, appeared much cleaner, smaller, and less hectic. In the six days we were in Jaipur, we were fortunate enough to wander through multiple palaces, have dinner with friends, watch the sun set from a mountaintop fort, and indulge in free chai on the rooftop of our hotel daily. However, we also had our struggles in Jaipur. We experienced some kooky tuk tuk drivers while simply trying to get from Point A to Point B. The Indian people are genuine and friendly, but it's not always easy for us to decipher the true from the scammers. Here is a quick story about our most adventurous trip.
Daniel and I were both sweaty and ready to return to our air conditioned hotel room. We had spent the past few hours at the non-air conditioned Albert Hall Museum learning about Hindu gods and goddesses, instruments, costumes, and other historical items. After walking several blocks without seeing any tuk tuks, we finally saw one driver up ahead. His vehicle wasn't a tuk tuk though, but more of a cart sort of resembling a golf cart. Without any haggling, we agreed on 50 rupees to take us home. Crammed in the back of his cart as we wove through the madness of the streets, we quickly realized we were going slooooow -- maybe 7 mph. Our driver was in somewhat of a daze, just watching the faces of thousands of strangers we were passing on the streets.
After some time, but only making it a few blocks, our driver stopped and pointed up ahead. The main road that we were used to taking to and from our hotel had turned in to a one-way, with oncoming traffic headed towards us. He motions that we are to get out and walk the rest of the way. Without any other options, Daniel pulled out 10 rupees and handed the money to the driver. Our driver looked at us in disgust. Daniel and him bickered for a few minutes; we honestly could have walked quicker than his cart drove us and we were still a few miles from our hotel. In the midst of their arguing, another tuk tuk driver pulled up. They were conversing in Hindi, but the other driver was mapping out a different route to our hotel. Finally, our driver turned around with an eye roll and we were on our way. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, we were dropped at the front door of the Moustache Hostel Jaipur.
Relieved to be on solid ground, we handed him our 50 rupees. Once again, he looked at us with absolute disgust and wouldn't accept our money. He motioned to us that he had to go the long way around, so the price was now 100 rupees. We immediately said, "no, we agreed on 50!" Before arriving in India, we were told countless times to agree on a price before getting in the tuk tuk. Many drivers will manipulate and overcharge any foreigner given the opportunity. Three teenage boys from a nearby shop were in the middle of the argument with us within a matter of seconds. At first, they agreed with the driver that we should pay 100 rupees. After we explained the situation they changed their minds, agreeing with us, and translated between the driver and us. Our driver wasn't budging on his price. The boys' dad came out of the shop to see what the commotion was about. As the five on them were all talking over one another, causing a huge scene, I told Daniel, "just give him the 50 rupees and walk away." We said thank you and walked inside. From our hotel window, we could see the argument continuing for another few minutes. As flustered and irritated as we were, we couldn't help but laugh!
To us, 50 rupees (0.77 cents) is nothing. We consider this pocket change that may end up in a piggy bank, the washing machine, or a dresser drawer. This tuk tuk ride was one out of three or four we may take in a day. We have overpaid the great drivers and argued with the stubborn ones. We know that we are supporting the locals by taking these tuk tuk journeys, and hopefully helping to provide an income that will help them and their families. We have learned that the people of India are quick to argue and get mad, but quick to forgive and leave you with a friendly salutation. At the end of the day, the more challenges we face, the more beauty there is waiting on the other side.
Our shiny hallway at the Moustache Jaipur (loooooove)
The trek up to Amer Fort & Palace
View from Nahargarh Fort
Hawa Mahal - Palace of Wind
Ganesh Gate at Amer Fort & Palace
Sunset at Nahargarh Fort
Locals indulge in a holy bath at the Monkey Temple
Amer Fort & Palace
Constantly on the hunt for some shade