We went to a cooking class the other night. Now we have maaaaad Indian cooking skills. Some of you may even be privy to the unleashing of them upon our return home.
The cooking class was really cool- We were basically in this lovely couple's house. Whilst Rhika showed Charlotte a bunch of trinkets and whatnots, her Husband Amil and I headed down to the markets to pick up ingredients. After wading through rats, rotting food and assorted flotsam accumulated in the recent rain's puddles, we picked up some spinach, flour and yoghurt (probably not pasteurised judging by the dirty clay pot the vendor scraped it out of)and headed back to the house.
We cooked, ate, drank saffron lassis and bought some super tasty spices. Good times.
Now we're in Jaipur- The Pink City.
It's not all that.
It moves along at a frenetic pace and there's so many tourists pouring out of big ass air-conditioned buses and four wheel drives, that it's kind of disappointing. Also, all the locals know that these package tourists have money to burn, so they assume that we do also and are attempting to charge insane amounts for everything.
Not that much of a problem, it just makes the bargaining process take ten times as long. It may also stretch my patience a little, but that's how it goes.
Seeing as this place isn't as charming as we'd anticipated, we're leaving two days early to go check out a national park that's conveniently on the way to Agra, our next stop. We'll spend a day or two there, cruise around on some bikes for a while and enjoy being out of reach of touts and persistent rickshaw drivers.
Speaking of Rickshaw drivers, we took a tour with one yesterday and checked out the local sights, including the Lake Palace, which looks like someone has done a super job in Photoshop and placed a big yellow palace in the middle of a vivid blue lake. We even got some photos as a huge rainbow formed over it. That was pretty cool.
We also visited the 'Monkey Palace' which, surprisingly, was covered in monkeys. We waded through the primates until we reached the hilltop palace. We kept them at bay with peanuts, although one decided to use Charlotte's back as a springboard.
Initial consultation suggests she doesn't have rabies.
We did get rorted into being blessed by some lady for the stately sum om 65 rupees. I'm not one to argue with Hindi gods, so we begrudgingly paid our tithings and left, dyed string knotted on our wrists and (recycled) flower wreaths around our necks.
Then we were taken to see the mystic jeweller, who made astonishing summations about our families and current situations. It was incredible and I'm sure all the answers we provided to our rickshaw driver's seemingly innocent questions earlier in the day were in now way whatsoever passed on to this honourable jeweller character.
Tonight, our friendly rickshaw driver is taking us to dinner at his family's place (I think. Family may mean 'people who pay me commission for bringing gullible tourists to their establishment'), and then on to a party some European friends of his are having.
This conjured images of sharing fondue and saunas with some Nordic types, however it may be slightly different. I don't really know.
Will report on the details soon.