Saturday, February 18, 2012

Indian Weddings and Heffalumps

I must say that after Delhi, Varanasi, and Agra, I had had fun, but was overall just kind of over India and ready to head off to Thailand. But Jaipur has definitely changed my perspective. It's more of what I expected to see in India--development side-by-side with third world poverty, which definitely interested my inner but not so inner world politics nerd. 

After just being in the old city for just one hour, Kels and I were already invited to drink Indian chai and go to a wedding. Our guide told us that it's wedding season here in Jaipur, and they are EVERYWHERE. It's not quite what I expected (all my expectations obviously come from Monsoon Wedding), but still so gorgeous. We were just so overwhelmed by all of the colorful sarees and cute little kids that were excited to see some Americans. 

 Kels and I had a HUGE day today. We woke up bright at early at 7:45, ate a rather interesting bit of toast with jam that tasted like koolaide and cornflakes with boiling milk. Hmmm, failed Indian attempt at Western breakfast?? Then we headed off to the Amber Palace, which was beautiful. It's hundreds of years old, and absolutely stunning. 

Some of the inner gardens.

We also visited the Jaigarh Fort (pictured above), which is over 1000 years old. And Kels nerded out in the armory looking a guns after we saw the biggest cannon in the world. The cannon ball weighs about 50 kilograms which is just as much as me.  AHHHHH! 

Some of the gorgeous artwork in the palace. I seriously want someone to do this to my future house. 

True life: snake charmers are not just in Disney Movies!!

After our fort explorations, we rode elephants!! Well an elephant who was 23 years old named Sonya, which is actually the same name as Sophia just in a different language. WE WERE MEANT TO BE!! It was sooo cool. Elephants are probably my favorite animal, and I was just dying. We also got to meet a baby elephant, who was just 5 years old. Her name was the Hindi word for Smiley, and she would not stop dancing. In the picture, Kels is teaching her how to toe-tap, which she picked up pretty quickly. 

After our wildlife adventures, we tried on sarees. AHHHHH! So tempting. I will say that once again, I had another uncomfortable incident with an Indian man. He took me and Kelsey into the dressing rooms separately, and put us into sarees. We had to take off our pants and shirts, which is fine with me. But then he tried to get me to take off the rest of my clothes. It was just really really frustrating. 

I feel like most of what a lot the Indian men that I have encountered know about American culture and American women comes from Hollywood. So they think that we are all so incredibly sexual and just available at all times. They think it's hilarious that we drink beer, and I don't know if they think that they are being forward. I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong. But I also feel like sexuality is kind of repressed here, but society is still pretty oversexed with Bollywood movies and music videos. So when men see white women, it's like a jackpot. This is all speculation though so I dunno. I will say, though, that these three experiences now have really colored my trip in not such a great way. They've made it really hard to just sort of step back and appreciate India for its culture and color and history.

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