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Jaipur India: The Pink City

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When we arrived at our new home around 4:30pm, we were immediately greeted by Tarpan Patel, whose family owns the complex. Tarpan is thirty years old and a total Indian hipster. Scruffy beard, longer hair, tighter jeans and a sculptor. Him and his wife, Saskia, who is a photographer from France, met at the University of the Arts in London. What a neat couple. How many people do you know have such a serendipitous story like that? I'm from India, I'm from France but let's meet in London.

This AirBnB was so appealing. It had a common area in the front, a bedroom in the middle, a fairly large bathroom at the end and a wonderful semi-outdoor balcony on the side. It was a pretty big size and relatively modern apartment for $63 a night. Plus, Tarpan's father, Ankit Patel, is a renowned sculptor and a lot of his artwork is sporadically displayed throughout the place which acts as great decor. As a way to welcome us to Jaipur, Tarpan had Chai Tea, toast, an omelette and a delicious rice dish (that had a surprising kick to it) sent up to us since he knew we hadn't eaten lunch yet. It definitely hit the spot. We could tell this was going to be an enjoyable next four nights.

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Tarpan and Saskia created a folder for all their guests that had restaurant recommendations, sightseeing options, wifi details and other miscellaneous information. To make this even better, it was all laminated. They had me at hello. I love lists, I love itineraries and I absolutely love when they are laminated. Yes, I am a nerd but at least I embrace it.

After we settled in and took some time to chill out, it was around 8pm. We decided to walk about ten minutes to Peacock Rooftop Restaurant for dinner, which was one of their recommendations (and of course cross referenced it with TripAdvisor, our travel bible). The ambience was adorable. It had lights all over and an impeccable view of Jaipur City. Not to mention, the food was superb. We asked for Indian spicy and they sure delivered. It was so lovely to sit outside and not be freezing. Days here seem to be warm and sunny and nights seem to cool down a little but nothing like what we were experiencing in the previous cities. It sure was a fun little date night.

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The next morning, January 29, I woke up feeling like the smiling pile of poo emoji. I had been up all night with what I am self diagnosing myself as a fever - sweating then freezing and let the cycle repeat itself for eight hours. Not fun. It sucks to be sick regardless of where you are but it sucks even more when you are halfway across the world, without your mom (some things you never grow out of). So I called her via FaceTime and that helped comfort me a little. I laid in bed for another hour and once I could feel the drugs slowly kicking in, I showered to help wake me up.

Since we were in Jaipur for 4.5 days and I wasn't feeling great, we decided to have no agenda and save the sightseeing for the next day. Instead, we walked to a charming little cafe that was recommended in a few different places called Anokhi. It was a very Westernized looking cafe but it was perfect for what I needed. We got a french press coffee, a banana chocolate biscuit and a bagel - all organic. How unauthentic of us but sometimes you just can't have Indian all day everyday.

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After breakfast, we stumbled upon a super duper wonderful store that was attached to Anokhi - imagine an Indian version of Anthropology. All locally made clothes but not your traditional styles. They put a cool, hip, trendy twist to them. I bought my first scarf and Vinny bought a headband to help keep his hair tamed because without gel, it's like a lion's mane after running freely in the wind, all over the place.

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When you're not feeling good and your energy level is low, all you want to do is sit at home, watch a movie or stream Netflix and rest up. Unfortunately (but really fortunately), our AirBnB doesn't have a TV and we can't stream Netflix here. So instead, I was hoping to go see a Bollywood movie at the famous Raj Mandir Cinema but the only film playing was a war theme (my Dad would have been all over this). Not exactly what I had in mind though. I was envisioning rich colors, endless singing and dancing and a heartfelt romantic love story. Not Airlift. Maybe we'll have better luck in Mumbai.

Today is our sixteenth day in India and the limited amount of toiletries we brought with us were starting to diminish. We had read about The Country Store and decided to check it out hoping we could find a few things we needed (well not really needed but would like to have - the word needed has a whole new meaning since being in India). What a neat experience. I think this is the closest they have to a Target yet a tenth of the size. There was food (fresh, frozen and packaged), toiletries, drinks, electronics, medicine, household cleaning supplies, etc. Vinny wanted to get a few snacks for the apartment and as he did his price analysis (once a finance guy, always a finance guy) comparing local products to brand names (Lays, Pringles, etc.), he realized that the brand names were not only skyrocketed for India terms but for American terms as well. It was almost three times what we would pay back at home. So we decided to try out the local goods (which wasn't really a question to begin with, just more curious to understand the pricing structure clearer). To top this off, I found a small section of products called Organic Harvest. They had face products, skin products, hair products - all organic (apparently). This made me so happy because I probably had four drops left of my toner and those that know me, my facial routine is crucial. So I went with the Green Cucumber, Alcohol Free, Paraben Free one. This was better than getting money from the tooth fairy. And, it came to about 365 rupees, which is around $5.36. I was used to paying $25 so even if it's not as good, it will do. We also bought more Dove body soap and more Colgate toothpaste. I mean how exciting are we today? Either way, mission accomplished.

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The Country Store was located in a cute little area so we just wandered for a while and took in all the sights, smells and sounds (as you can tell from previous posts, this is our favorite thing to do). The weather was perfect so we didn't want to go back inside (and the drugs were helping so I didn't feel as sick, although being in the dusty air can't help my situation). While aimlessly roaming the streets, we saw:

A local fruit and vegetable stand...

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A little boy with no pants (which we've found to be very typical)...

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A man sleeping on the job, literally...

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Curious cows...

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A non-alcoholic Tuk Tuk...

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A fancy horse (which I believe was for an Indian wedding that night)...

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A "school bus" with young boys in uniforms...

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And we added another animal to our already extensive Noah's Arc list, a camel...

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That night, we walked to a well rated restaurant called Jaipur Modern. The nice thing about where we are staying is that it seems to be very central so we've been able to walk almost everywhere so far. Jaipur Modern is an Italian place. I know, today is so not cultural of us with dinner and the cafe this morning but we felt like switching things up a bit. We were told an Italian family that lives in Italy (go figure - just didn't want you to think it was an Indian Italian family. Does those even exist?) consulted with the chefs for a year and a half on how to make authentic food. We ordered Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino (spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chili pepper), which is a traditional Napoli dish and a margarita pizza. Both were tasty, even to Vinny's very particular Italian palette.

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What a wonderful day we had. I'm definitely liking Jaipur more than Delhi but then again, it's only been 24 hours.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the cow flies bite:)

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Author kimvinny2016Posted on February 5, 2016