(or how you get a broken phone from helping someone)
Wednesday 10 October 2012 - Sunday 14 October 2012 33 °C
We arrived at our 2nd CouchSurfing host in Amber, Rajasthan, right next to the city of Jaipur. Room is alright, family is really nice. The actual guy who invited us wasn't there, but it didn't really matter as everyone else from his family was there to greet us: his 2 younger brothers, his sister & cousin, and his parents.
His father, a very knowledgeable and fascinating man, spent 2.5 hours talking to us, about his country, his childhood in a Rajasthani village, his values, Rajput traditions, his religion and the way it has an effect on his whole way of life, from the way his house is built to the way he acts in his everyday life. Such a nice person, there's no doubt. And the mother brought us some hot milky masala tea and then a – very – late light dinner around midnight. Felt like home.
We went to bed happy, filled with the warmth of such an amazing welcome and with a tiny lizard in our room, stuck on the wall above the fluorescent light, snacking on every bugs that passes around. As long as he stays there and eats mosquitoes and flies, me and him will get along fine...
Then the French arrived... around 8 in the morning, the following day.
They already seemed mad at each other but that's none of our business. They dropped their backpacks, chatted with us a bit and left us wondering where we will all sleep at night (only 2 single beds in the room and we were 4!). Our host said he would make arrangements for them to sleep at a friend. Good enough for me. We are being lodged for free, we can't make a fuss out of every surprise that comes our way.
So we went out, got solicited by nearly every salesmen of Jaipur in the Kishanpol Bazaar, tried on sarees with a man that was a bit too “touchy-feely” for our taste, nearly got a proposal from a kid that was about 8-10 yrs old because, as he said, I look “very healthy' (chubby would be a more accurate word)... One thing I noticed... they all want you to get in their store, no matter what. They always say they have the right size for you. “Big size for you ma'am”, they said to me all the time. Sou being a pretty standard size, it's not easy for her to find clothing that fits. For me, it's a whole other story, being the “very healthy” person that I am...
At some point, I was more than tired of hearing the same old “we got your size” and then they don't.
Then these 2 brothers, running their family clothes & fabric store in the Bazaar, started their own “We got your size” thing. I looked at them and said “Yeah right, they all say that, they never do”. Well they finally DID ! So we got a couple of very loose and comfortable tops and I even got my measurements taken for a pair of custom-made trousers... to be ready for the next day. I paid half in advance, sincerely hoping that this family business, held by 3 very nice brothers and their father, would be the answer.
We went back to Amber, with our bags filled with tops and my head full of custom-made pants hopes.
The French came back during the evening. The girl seemed really upset and wanted to call home but couldn't get any cell phone network. So I told her to take my phone and to pay me back the time she used after. The girl and the guy seemed even more angry at each other than the morning, threatening each other and stuff. So she went outside with my phone, spoke forever, came back, and they just couldn't stop arguing. We had to make plans for sleeping, as it seemed that we would be 4 people sleeping in a 2 bed bedroom. The girl said there was no way she would be sleeping close to him, so they took the bed as we were nice enough to say that we'll sleep on the floor (2-3 blankets, no matter how thick, won't change the fact that you're sleeping on a GRANITE floor. Ouch. Never again.).
We finally settle down and try to go to sleep, my cell phone rings, it's the French girl's boyfriend. So I lend her the phone and she goes out, followed by her “friend”. I looked at Sou and told her “I have a feeling that my phone is gonna come back smashed”.
And it did. They got into an argument, he tried to grab the phone, phone went flying and landed on concrete. What a nice way to thank me. The girl promised the guy would pay back, the guy said we could go to the bank the next day. We made a rough calculation, and the phone was worth about 32 000 rupees. Good luck finding that, bro. Especially considering that we lived on a budget of less than 2000 rupees a day.
Sou & I secretly hoped the guy wouldn't run away the next morning before giving me money. Lucky for us, he didn't. I got almost all of it, with an email address to contact when we'll be in Nepal, as he should be there too, and should be able to give me the remainder of the money. Good luck to me.
That day, with one broken phone – lucky for me, I brought 2 - we went back to Kishanpol Bazaar, hoping the family business we went to the day before was the answer to our prayers.
And it was. The pants, very casual, a dark grey-purple color, are just fine. So I challenged them for a couple of pair of patiala pants (you know, like Aladdin or Sinbad wears... very large and puffy), and I picked 2 of the most beautiful fabric they had in store. And the next day again, less than 24 hrs later, I had my pants ready, all perfect and loose. Finally. Because I was getting really tired of wearing the same 2 t-shirts and skirt and pant, to be honest...
And the patialas ended up being so nice too. I love these guys. If we go back to Jaipur to celebrate Diwali, as we plan on doing, we will definitely pay them a visit.
We were also invited to a house party with some friends of our host. A very nice evening, with a lot of dancing and fun. These Indians they know how to have fun! We met a couple of other French girls there too. Lucky for us, they didn't break any of my stuff, hahaha!
Now time to head to Delhi, the capital of India, a 7.5 hrs bus ride. We decided to treat ourselves and go for the Deluxe Volvo A/C bus.