Aug 24, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p26) - Rusirani Village ...

men's of rusirani (plus a tourist :P)
rusirani village, jaipur
rajashtan, india
february 2016

honestly, i was a bit clueless when i heard Syib mentioning our next destination of the day. i had no idea what to expect etc. , other than it'd be a visit to the countryside of Jaipur and good photo opportunity. other than, as the name of the village rhyme with kak ros' name, the joke went on for a while as if we were going to visit her village etc.we gathered at the entrance of the amer fort before heading to the road nearby, waiting for our bus. it was in middle of the day, and it was hot. the stalls at the side of the road became our centre of attraction to get something to quench our thirst. pojie warned us to check the condition of the bottle, as well as the expiry date of the drinks as anything could happen. 

the road in front, where we waited were jam packed with traffic. there was a temple across the road, where locals busy attending.
syib finally gave us the sign that the bus was about to arrive and we crossed the road and waited. it took a while for it to arrive due to the heavy traffic. we hopped on the bus and then made our way to our seat. Manu told us that he'd not be joining us for the trip to rusirani and the bus dropped him somewhere along the way. syib told us we'd be having our lunch at the village, and guess what...the journey was expected to take more than an hour.
well. despite my heavy breakfast at the hotel, i was hungry, so did others. we decided to settle with jajan that we bought while waiting for the bus earlier.with an empty stomach, and bumpy ride, the journey felt like forever. everybody seemed to loose their interest to talk and share the excitement, hence decided to be in own's rem cycle at one point.

i don't recall how long i dived into my rem cycle, but i woke up in the middle of the journey as the bus stopped at the side of the road. the driver was asking the locals on the direction to the village, and it chuckled me as the place must be somewhere in the middle of was literally, as i looked around, other than an arid land, few houses and locals, nothing was painted on my canvas.

the bus made a turn into a junction where the road was not paved. and it was really bumpy, with the bus' poor suspension, it was like going up and down a hilly path. it took a while and finally we arrived at the end of the road. i saw a tractor and few locals wandering around it. and there was a chap that standing, sort of welcoming our arrival. was our host for the visit. let us call him Dev, this time (pardon me, as i forgot already).
there was nothing around as i walked out from the bus and it made me wonder for a while whether we were going to walk to the village etc. Dev greeted us and had us gathered in front of the tractor. and yes...that was our ride to the village. Voila...the excitement crept in at the beginning as the driver turned the local music while we made our way to the carrier.

ok. it wasn't that comfortable as we had to sit down as Dev told us it was not safe to stand up as the ride would take a while. while there was about 13 of us, we had to settle squeezing our bum to get a comfortable sit for each of us. once readied, the ride began.

gosh...the excitement lasted only for the first 10 minutes as the ride was getting rough as we started to ride up and down the hill as the village was apparently located at the other side of the hill that i saw as we parked the bus. it was unpaved road, and bumpy, uneven etc. and it lasted for almost an hour until we arrived at our host' house.phew...that was a very challenging ride. and i reminded me my experience riding the 4WD while descending and ascending the road of Penanjakan. it really felt like a Dakar-rally, if i were to quote.

we got back our excitement momentum as hearing to the kids' voices cheering our ride as we approached the host's family's houses. and the ride stopped, they were waiting for us with their elders, welcoming us with their smile.

'Time for lunch!' ah..finally!


Aug 13, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ...(p25) - man of the fort ... interlude

Man of the Fort
Amer Fort, Jaipur
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

we were entering the sacred part of the fort/palace, the forth courtyard that known where the king's wives and mistresses lived, as we saw the old man sitting at the side of the building. i know, travelling with the group, we were kind of having this habit, chasing all possible interesting subject to be memo-graphed. he was kind enough to entertain us, doing all possible pose that we could ask. usual, we gave him some tips. he was delighted and gave a us a big thank you smile.

Aug 9, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p24) - Amer Fort

the pillars
amer fort, jaipur
rajashtan, india
february 2016

it was a memorable elephant ride, but not in a good way. with all the commotion with the greedy mahout, part of my mood already gone. in fact the back pain as you had to sit in such way, while balancing yourself. yada yada yada. ok i'd recommend for you to skip. 1000 rupee is better spend on something else.

we gathered at the main boulevard, waiting for everybody to arrive. of course, everybody had to deal with the persistent street vendors selling the same stuff that we saw when we were queuing for the ride. some of us fall into the persuasion and bought stuff, but obviously they had the bargaining skill that enough to make the street vendor to surrender with the best price.

as mentioned, Manu was an enthusiastic lad as keeping his momentum to explain to us every single details about the fort, despite the diversion of our interest to clicking our shutter and made our own direction.
fun fact about Amer fort from wikipedia

Amer Fort (Hindi: आमेर क़िला or Amber Fort) is located in Amer, a town with an area of 4 square kilometres (1.5 sq mi)[1] located 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Jaipur, Rajasthan state, India. Located high on a hill, it is the principal tourist attraction in the Jaipur area.[2][3] The town of Amer was originally built by Meenas,[4] and later it was ruled by Raja Man Singh I (December 21, 1550 – July 6, 1614).>

Amer Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake.[3][5][6][7][8][9] It is the main source of water for the Amer palace.

The aesthetic ambiance of the palace is seen within its walls. Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-e-Khas, or "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the Amer Palace.

ok. enjoy the pictures.

it is a huge/big impressive fort, in my opinion. we were there till noon..which more or less means we had spent almost 3 hours, wandering within it. we then made our way to the main road to wait for the bus, which would take us to our next destination that located about 2 hours ride from the city of Jaipur.


Jul 11, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p23) - lady of the fort ...interlude

Amer Fort, Jaipur
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

it felt like a while, listening to all the fun-facts about the Amer fort from our enthusiastic guide. once he concluded his words, everyone that stayed sort of giving a relief sigh and started to wander around. 

the lady caught our attention. perhaps because of the vivid persona of her yellow saree. we approached her and gave a sign to memograph her. she was shy, but without hesitation replying to our request with a sign of 'tips must be given'. we agreed and asked her to stand at one part of the fort with these beautiful pillars. but she was a bit cautious as her eyes told. well..of course, she was on duty, and her act to agree with our request might cause her trouble if seen by her supervisor.

we got our shot, and reward her with the tips she deserved. and she was happy and gave a us the typical head-bobble, a sign to leave and continue her work.

Jun 26, 2016

Memoirs of Rangoli ... (p22) - Amer Fort ... the elephant ride

Amer Fort, Jaipur
Rajashtan, India
February 2016

it was (only) our fourth day in India. as much as time was really flying, i felt like we'd been in India, longer than that. perhaps, because we'd been really taking our time embracing our time there, memo-graphing any possible moments. like they said ... we stopped and took time to smell the roses, and it just that that we didn't encounter the scent, other than ... what i mentioned in my previous posts. eheh.

the visit to Hathi Gaon, the day before, left me to ponder and agreed, commercialism always a threat to such life. i mean, while it should've been paving the path for people to find the 'right' opportunities, the greediness will always creep in, and taught them a different story. easy they said. i was stunned as seeing the welcoming mahout, traded his manner for sake of 500 rupee per person tips, instead of relying on our honest generosity.

anyway, we'd be visiting another major attraction in Jaipur which was Amer fort. i read somewhere, it was also known as Amber fort. we gathered at the hotel lobby, once had the buffet-spread for the breakfast. it was good, and i think it was the first time i got my self to taste the famous ' masala chai'. well...i must said, it was too strong for me...the herbs/spices that they put into the drink. it took away my imagination of this would be like a tasty 'teh tarik halia' that we could have in our mamak's restaurant in Malaysia. 
some of us were hit by the most common problem when travelling in India - diarrhea. probably, it was caused by the 'masala chai' that sold by the street before, as other than that every of us had food from the same restaurant etc. i don't recall any of us trying any street food. anyway, they had to live with the situation, rather than let themselves missing the opportunities like visiting the fort etc.

the ride took around 20-30 minutes, as we left our hotel. the guide, let us call him Manu, this time, was really enthusiastic. as far as i recalled. i mean, he was good and kept his momentum explaining all sort of thing while we were already in our own mood, upon riding to the fort. we were there early, i think we arrived around 8am, as Syib told us that we gotta beat the crowd if we wanted to ride on the elephant, that would take us to the fort.
apparently, we were not the earliest, as the queue was already long by the time we arrived. but Syib told us it was not that bad, as last year, the group joined when the tail of the queue was already at the nearby garden. we had to pay another 1000 rupee for the elephant ride, which it thought was already part of the package.

while waiting for our turn, we had to deal with the street vendors that selling stuff like souvenirs, hats, pashmina and even the travel magazine. they were very persuasive, as once you made contact with them (eye or speak), they would follow you as far as permitted. well...the starting price always on higher side, but with a good bargaining skill, you could get things at a reasonable and/or cheap price. for example, the magazine/book about all forts in India which make a good coffee table book was offered to Pojie and Kak Ros, ridiculously at 2000 rupee at first, but then was sold for at 200 rupee just before we entered the forbidden zone for the vendor. seemed very reasonable...and i think almost half of the group bought the same book later.
how about the ride? hmm... it was not that comfortable and gave me a backpain for a while. i mean if you can see from the picture above, we approached the elephant, and our seat from the side, and had to sit like that all the way up to the fort. the total ride took about 20 minutes, more or less. i think my elephant ride back in Chiang Mai was much more comfortable as the seat was arranged in such a way that you facing the front.

we were about to approach the fort, when our mahout finally opened his mouth to chat with us. a typical question on where we were from etc. he then suddenly made a stop as we were entering the fort, and told us that we have to give him tips. and he mumbled something about small salary etc. we just nodded and told him don't worry, as we were planning to give him. but what stunned us when he asked for 'hundred ringgit' each for the tip. ah...he knew ringgit, as we told us we were from Malaysia.
'what!' that was my reaction as he spoke of the 'hundred ringgit each' tips. and guess what he was very firm on the request, and didn't want to make a move. a short argument happened, and we told him 'no' and finally each of us gave him 100 rupee for the tip.that incident was really disappoint me and it spoiled my mood for a while. it reminded me the incident we had with the mahout at the Hathi Gaon that we visited the day before. 

i saw the signboard as we left the platform, telling that tips should not be entertained, and we should report any misbehavior to the fort authority. anyway...we didn't care much, as it'd be a long story.
ah...we discovered others only paid 50 rupee each for the tips...and obviously me and pojie had been badly scammed. uhuh...we waited for everybody to arrive, and then followed Manu for our guided tour of the Amer Fort.

so..the elephant ride? well..for 1000 rupee extra, and with uncomfortable ride that gave me backpain, plus the bad experience with the greedy mahout, i won't recommend. a walk to fort at your own pace, would be much better option.