We started off today at the Amber fort in Jaipur. For some reason, the hawking here seems particularly heavy, a theme that was to continue. The Amber fort, though, is magnificent — it’s a labyrinth of connecting rooms, built through the walls of several connecting courtyards. Strange for me, the most interesting bit was the latrines (historical, not modern day, I hasten to add) and the water system. They had underground storage facilities, a system for elevating the water. In general, though I had a great time wandering through the rooms, finding new places.
Outside the Hotel le Roi is a messy street, but inside it’s nice. The drive here was hectic and smelly, with many miles of crawling through traffic. Not nice at all. We had another near accident when a lorry in the lane next to us lost a tyre and the car was hit with large chunks of Rubber.
As a city Jaipur is like many that we have been too — busy, polluted and unattractive, and also very in-your-face; yes, thank you, I am sure that are many elephants, but I still don’t want your tuk-tuk. We did see the Jantar Mantar observatory. This is a magnificent place, full of angles and careful measurements — Jai Singh thought that bigger was better. Each instrument had a careful description, telling you what it measured and what this measurement was for; although the signs kept of mixing up “accuracy” and “resolution” which bugged me a bit. The thing that confused me was that most of the instruments fall into two categories; those for measuring angles and sundials for measuring time. Time and space all sorted, it seems, but time only measurable during the day and space only measurable at night.
The bus journey wasn’t that bad as it happened. The environmental conditions inside were okay; the heat disappeared pretty quickly; the temperature was nice till sundown, then I put more and more clothes on until I ran out. My feet got cold, but the rest of me was okay. The motion was a bit wierd and rolling, but in general I like travelling overnight and with horizontal. If there was some kind of night bus in the UK, I think that I’d take it pretty often; obviously I’d prefer something that wasn’t packed to the rafters and has some basic safety standards.
The Aussies were made; the bus is squalid. There are seats and bunks. The posh option is a upper bunk over the seats, with sliding windows on both sides. The opposite side is a single bunk which is open. The seats are if you are really poor. The temperature inside the bus is rising from hot to, well, hotter. I have no idea what this must be like when we are not in the middle of a cold spell.