Wednesday, 4 August 2010

My Diary of India: Eleventh Extract

We woke up early this morning to see the birds at the Keolodo Bird Sanctuary. We wanted to hire bikes but they conned us into hiring rickshaws instead because the bikes, apparently, had no ‘contact’. Anyway, we saw antelopes and monkeys but very few birds, the odd parakeet or peacock. It made the most of the day but it did seem a bit pointless- yet another moneymaking exercise for the owners.

Later we boarded a public bus for the five-hour journey through Rajasthan to its capital, Jaipur. It was hot ad sweaty with mild air-conditioning, but I got quite engrossed in my current book, Shantaram. Now that I’m actually in India, I can understand it a bit more; the words mean twice as much: ‘Europeans do that. They work for a while, then they travel around, lonely, for a while with no family, until they get old, and then they get married, and become very serious!’. I LOVE this book! It’s turning into one of my all time favourites, ‘We know who we are and define what we are by the references to the people we love and our reasons for loving them’. It’s the first book I’ve really battered and it’s worn with the places I’ve taken it to.

When we reached Jaipur, the new part of the city reminded me of the bad parts of Delhi. However, when we found the clearly defined ‘Old City’, which is painted entirely in pink terracotta, it began to look more beautiful. The shopping was beautiful too, as is our hotel, where they painted the Hindu mark n our foreheads and put flower garlands round our necks when we entered.

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