Continued from Jaipur Day 3.
I tried watching TV last night before sleeping, but much of the programming was not in English. I ended up having it on an Indian music channel and just browsed the internet. That was interesting. I saw several music videos in a row where the girl and the guy get in a fight, then the guy leaves, and the video ends with the girl heartbroken. Is that their ideal of a good music video?
I woke up feeling much better this morning. Well, except that I had a dream that my parents, who are watching my dog Redford, told me that he(allergic to everything) ate some flowers, had an allergic reaction, and then died. The dream was so lucid that when I woke up, I didn’t quite know if it had happened or not. I had to call my parents and find out…well, of course all 75 furry pounds of him is still very much alive.
I did basically everything that I wanted to do in Jaipur already, so I spent most of breakfast trying to figure out what I’ll do today. I could make a long trek to another one of the forts, but I didn’t really feel like doing that lest I run another mid afternoon fever. LG, who I met in Delhi, had been through Jaipur and had suggested that I go watch a movie here at the Raj Mandir theater. Sounds good.
I went outside, called a rickshaw, prepared to put up a big fight, and a fight was not needed. 40 INR to the theater.
Yesterday, when I slammed the money down on the ledge, this is the ledge that I was talking about. I think it may be a seat for small children. The rickshaw drivers here in Jaipur also wear blue shirts as their uniform. If they are caught not wearing it, they are fined 200INR by the police.
I went back to the hotel, and my driver told me that he’ll be around outside and if I find him, he’ll give me a ride back to the theater. Sure, why not. An hour later, I came back out and found my driver, and before I said anything, he said “Same price.” Yup, it was that easy.
Sidenote: As I am typing this right now, the power goes out in my hotel again.
Chocolate cake sold at concession stand, yes please sign me up! The guy at the concession just picked up the cake and put it on the plate with his dirty bare hands. Then he took my dirty money with his dirty hands(that’s how I know they are dirty). The cake is the same style of cake that I get in Taiwan. Spongy and full of awesomeness. I’ve been also wanting to mention that all the napkins in India have this high sheen finish. It almost feels like they are waxed, which means they suck as napkins. It’s like trying to wipe your face with wax paper.
Found my seat. The seat was uncomfortable. It had one of those slide and tilt mechanisms. It’s super upright, then you lean back and it’ll tilt the seat back and slide the seat bottom forward. Then you spend the entire time watching the movie trying to keep things in balance.
You can see all the females come in a group through their females only entrance. All the seats down below are the cheaper tickets sold at 50 or 70INR. Typically, I would comment something sarcastic like “Peasants”, but not this time. India really is a poor country….though, if they can afford to watch a movie, then they are pretty well off compared to most of their countrymen…..Well then…”Look at these peasants.”
These are my notes that I wrote down during intermission on my first Bollywood experience.
First of all, there is an intermission halfway through. When the actors and actresses appear on screen for the first time, everyone screams and shouts. The movie breaks down into music videos throughout the movie. I guess it’s considered a musical. There was a scene where the main actor, who is a rickshaw driver, gets into a getaway car and he repeatedly pulls on the handbrake. Everyone laughs, as did I. We all laughed because we’ve all ridden in rickshaws before. Some rickshaws have a lever on the left hand that looks like a handbrake that’s used to start the engine. It’s universal, the purposely designed douche bags in the movie also wear Ed Hardy apparel. The languages goes from Hindi to English once in a while for certain short phrases. The movie feels almost just a Hollywood movie. It’s such a conservative society, but the movie itself is very modern.
Now, I want to find a copy of the movie with English subtitles so I will understand all the other jokes that were lost on me because I didn’t understand Hindi.
I walked into the gate, and nonchalantly gave the guard my composite ticket. He found the spot for Albert Hall, punched a hole, and I went into the museum. I had just cheated the country that had cheated me nonstop since I landed here two weeks ago.
If you look closely, you’ll see that the composite ticket is valid only for 2 days. You’ll also see the date stamp of 15 Mar 2012(the 1 is masked by too much ink). Today is the 17th. Funnily, I don’t feel bad cheating the system, I feel exuberant. These small scams is what greases the country. It’s all about who can out scam each other and I am merely getting acclimated to the culture here. When in Rome…
I wish I had found this hookah for a photo while I was in the National Museum, which sucked. Did I already mentioned that it sucks? The moment I walked into Albert Hall Museum, I already know this is a better museum than the National museum.
The main exhibit in the Albert Hall Museum today was actually a visiting exhibit. I was the exhibit. I had more people ask to take photos of me inside the museum here today than I have this whole week. When they go home with a photo of me, and they show it to their friends, what do they say? “Look at this foreign tourist! Just look at him!” Am I looked upon like HOLY SHIT!!! EPIC WALRUS BEARD MAN!!?(Europe 2011/Verona for reference)
Very unusual looking lawnmower. It looks like someone went to a hardware store, picked up a lot of off the shelf parts, and made a lawnmower from it. The parts did not add up to be greater than the whole. He had to make two passes for each area.
4 people in the front seat, easily another 10+ in the back, and one guy standing on the bumper. I will give this to India, they have some very practical engineers. Look at how this small truck(barely bigger than a rickshaw) is obviously over capacity, and yet, the springs are loaded within their normal range. The engineers understand how everything will be used for not intended purposes and design with that in mind.
Speaking of engineering. All the rickshaws that I’ve seen in Delhi are made by Bajaj, and Indian company. Only here in Jaipur have I seen the Italian made Piaggio rickshaws. The Piaggio are a little bit bigger, but they are definitely not better. I found the Bajaj to ride better, have a lower seat height, and at the same time also have more head room. In the Piaggio, I sit so high that I cannot see out easily because my sight is blocked by the canopy. Score another one for Indian engineering.
When I got on the rickshaw to return from Albert Hall Museum back to my hotel, I negotiated with a driver for 70INR, which was a fair price. The driver talked to another rickshaw driver for directions, and we were on our way. We drove and drove, then he had to stop and ask for directions again from another random rickshaw driver on the side of the road. Apparently, even though Jaipur is much smaller and much less complicated than Delhi, no one here knows where anything is at.
Anyhow, my driver asked for new directions and he mentioned that he had been given bad directions originally when I got on, so we are in the wrong part of town. As we were about to drive away, the guy who gave us new directions said that I’ll have to pay my driver a little more because he’s having to drive farther. To this, I protested, and not a word from my driver. Eventually, we reached my hotel, and as I opened up my wallet to take out money, my driver just said that it was his mistake that we went the wrong way and took extra time. Holy Shit! A rickshaw driver just apologized to me for his mistake instead of asking me to pay for his mistake! I gave him 100 INR and told him to keep the change, to which he was shocked and genuinely thanked me. Nice guys don’t always finish last.
I made another observation from these past two days of rickshaw riding. When I was sick yesterday, looked like shit, and was just low on energy, the rickshaw drivers instinctively knew. They pounced on me like I was a wounded animal just ready to be eaten alive. Today, I felt much better and walked with my head held up high, and no one tried to fuck with me.
I also realized that I will still be traveling for almost another whole month from today. Holy crap…that’s a long time. Tomorrow I leave for Jodhpur and I am looking forward to it.
To be continued with Jodhpur Day 1.