The bus driver was a bit crazy so we reached Jaipur in 2-2.5 hours and quickly checked in at Utsav Villas. We all ate lunch in the hotel, and once again Harsh postponed our orientation walk until 4.30 pm because of the heat.
John, Nina, Adri and I decided to take a quick walk around the neighborhood though. Everyone stared at us when we walked by and it was scorching hot, so after finding an ATM and a shop to buy water, we headed back again, spending the rest of the afternoon in the hotel.
At 4.30 we took tuk-tuks to the old city and walked through the narrow streets until reaching the pink city (which was basically just one street of orangey facades). We walked by the famous spiceshops, by the fort and through The city until reaching the more modern part of Jaipur.
Here Harsh took us to a lassi shop and then to an ice cream palor before going to the cinema.
The cinema was absolutely gorgeous and although we didn’t understand a word of the Bollywood movie Kalank it was great fun, all of us having a blast.
Bollywood is just next level; the intricate drama plotlines, the dance numbers, the scenography, the customes - western movies seem boring in comparison.
We took tuktuks home and I went to bed early, having to be up at 4 the next morning and feeling a bit ill.
I slept terrible the whole night and when I woke up at around 3 am I felt really ill and nauseous. I had already paid for the sunset balloon ride Jenna and I were going on though and so I hauled myself out of bed and downstairs to the lobby.
A jeep came to pick us up and drove us far out into a rural area until we reached the balloon about an hour later.
The balloon ride was absolutely stunning over the rural area and mountains. I think I would have enjoyed it much more though if I didn't feel like puking the whole time.
And when we landed on a field a couple of hours later the locals from the area all came to watch us. They were very sweet and shy and some of the women kindly asked Jenna and I if we would join them for breakfast. We would’ve loved to, but unfortunately our driver was waiting for us and so we had to decline.
I skipped the activities for the rest of the day, staying in the hotel room to sleep and rest. I was feeling horrible the whole day, having probably caught a stomach bug, and at moments like that I couldn't help but feel homesick. Luckily it didn't last for long, with my extremely thoughtful group constantly checking up on me. Adri, whom I was sharing my room with, gave me advise and showed me pictures from their day and the jewelry she had bought, so I didn't feel left out. Harsh was fussing over me like a worried mother, and around 4 pm I did start to feel slightly better, taking my mother’s advice and eating some white bread and banana and drinking coke. And even though I would have liked to see the fort, the jewelry shops and the observatory, I felt really grateful for my incredible group. And though I couldn't join in on their Hollywood dance lessons I watched most of it, laughing the entire time.
And before Adri got back from dinner I was already asleep again.
I felt much better when I woke up at 8 am the next morning, although still ”looking a bit pale” as Richard kindly put it, but my nausea and stomach aches had supsided substantially. I had bananas, white bread and coke for breakfast and off we were at 9 am to the bus station, this time taking the local bus (no AC) for 2.5 hours to the village Abhaneri, Theresa making sure to offer me water, because ”your mother better know I take good care of you”.
Tuk-tuks drove us even farther out in the rural area to our hotel Abhaneri Niwas, where we ate lunch and relaxed in our rooms until 5 pm. This time I had gotten my own room, Adri and Nina sharing, and it was SO luxurious, I can't believe that we’re actually on the Basic trip.
At 5 pm a local guide showed us around the village of Abhaneri, taking us to a beautiful temple and the giant stepping well, which was the main reason we made a stop in the village.
We tried the sugarcane drink we had seen all over India - I thought it was gross, the others liked it.
And back at the hotel we ended up just horsing around on the grass.
The others taught Analyn and I the Bollywood dance from the day prior (which they weren't exactly professionals at), so it didn't matter that much that I had missed it the other day.
Afterward Theresa initiated ”interpretive dancing”, where all of us just danced on the grass to different songs - and for about 10 minutes we all tried (and failed) to twerk. I think the employees at the hotel thought we were pretty insane, but we had a lot of fun.
At 7 pm the farmers and labourers from the surrounding area played, sang and danced for us and soon we all joined in on the dance following the foreign steps of the dancer.
It was a really nice evening that ended in a great dinner in the hotel restaurant. I did feel a bit nauseous again at the end of the evening, so I went to bed early.
This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel before jumping in a private minibus for
3.5 hours to Agra and the Taj Mahal.