We're back in a big city. Jaipur, known as the Pink City, we've decided is actually more of a tera cotta color, but that's ok. Yesterday, after an absurdly awkward switch in drivers, we are now in better hands. Not only does this driver speak English, he offers tidbits of information while driving, he drives safely, he honks his horn minimally, and he answers questions. Man, we've missed out. If he had been our driver from the start we would have had a much better experience. Oh well, what can you do? Anyway, we started off by seeing the City Palace in the Old City. It really is pink (or terra cotta). Though it was a pretty complex with intricate designs on the ceilings, we've seen so many that we're overloaded. But, this palace had attractions! Heh… I finally got henna. So, I walked around the palace trying desperately not to run into anything. The highlight of the city palace were the giant silver urns that one of the maharajas had made to bring holy water from the Ganges on his trip to England. They were huge!
Just outside of the City Palace exit was the actual highlight of the day. There was a snake charmer with two real live cobras. I'm not afraid of snakes, but cobras are venomous. So, I was a bit nervous getting near them. But, this guy was confident and they seemed still enough for the tourist before me. They were pretty still while he played his horn like instrument, but then they got feisty.
After the city palace we came back to The General's Retreat (our hotel/homestay) to do some internet chores. This is the first hotel on our tour that actually has functioning internet. And it's pretty fast. It's much appreciated.
In the evening we went for dinner at yet another Lonely Planet find, The Peacock Rooftop Restaurant. It was really delicious. We ordered the vegetarian thali (remember, that's a set meal) and it was huge. That alone was enough for the two of us. But, we didn't know that and ordered Chicken Tikka Butter Masala as well. The sauce was really tasty, but you really can't beat the protein in the US, the chicken was ok. That's why we've been mostly vegetarian here. With our meals we drank our honey lassis, and they were excellent.
Today, we went to the Amber Fort. Yet another fort. This one didn't have much to look at inside. It was mostly empty, but cool to wander around. There was an ancient underground tunnel that turned out to be filled with bats. We smelled them before we found them. But it was really neat.
Afterwards we went for lunch at Natraj. Seth has been searching for dosa since we went on the food tour in Delhi, and we found it. Seth ordered the Dosa Paper Masala, and I ordered the Dosa Paneer Butter Masala. God those were good. Seth's was long like a tunnel, and mine was in a triangle shape. We ordered well, because I preferred mine, and Seth preferred his. My paneer was the consistency of scrambled eggs and it was so delicately delicious. We had daal (lentils) and a coconut curry concoction to dip the dosa into. Seth really enjoyed the daal, while I really liked the coconut.
Once our bellies were full, we ran some errands and came back to the hotel, because we had a cooking demonstration. Because it's the offseason, there was no proper cooking instruction available, but the wonderful women at our hotel offered for us to watch as the cooks made us dinner, and they would explain the process while it occurred. We decided that with the right spice kit, Seth could make delicious Indian food.
On a side note. All of the beggars call out to Seth his actual name. They say, "Seth, Seth, Seth!" True story. The coincidence is that seth in Hindi means wealthy person. So, Seth keeps getting distracted and creeped out when people tap on the window at stop lights and call out his name.