The train sitting problem turned out to be ok. I went to the tourist office, and friendly(!) employees showed me where I need to go, what I need to do, in short, my name was on the confirmed list, so I got in :)
On the train, I sat beside 2 very nice Indian families, one was middle class, the other one was upper class (according to my classification :) ). I kept staring at one of the women, she was so beautiful. They reconfirmed my ticket. You could send a text with the ticket number, and a text comes back with wagon and a seat number, because when the ticket checker will come by, he could see that your ticket is a waiting list ticket and ask for 200 rupees to "confirm" it. They told me everything there is to do in the area, offered me very yummy food, and kept feeding me because I said how good it was. The wife went to the husband, see ... she likes it !! He was funny, he asked me why I'm not married yet, and I asked him why do I need a husband, and his chest came so forward as in "what do you mean you don't need a husband!?!!" I told him that I have good education, good job, I can cook, clean, take care of myself, I don't need somebody else to take care for. He didn't really know what to reply to that except that "I do need a husband" :) The problem with arranged marriages is in my opinion they don't work, there is not much love or respect for another (typically a woman). He asked me how old am I, I said 31. He's like, you look so young, my wife is 39 and she looks like an old woman! And pretty much he didn't talk to her, walked in front of her all the time, didn't even look back. She waited until he finished eating, then ate herself. I would love a husband like that !! But he took care of me, he called the hostel to check that they still wait for me and that the driver is already at the station, he walked me to the pickup point and made sure I'm safe. We arrived at 10pm, and he said that if the driver is not there, it's better to stay at the waiting room in the station until the morning. No way!
Stayed in a very nice hostel, it looked like a villa, spacious and clean inside, everything's good except that it was far from center. Again had to sleep under 3 blankets! I'm in a desert now, so days are hot and nights are super cold! I checked the weather online, during the day it's about 20 degrees but feels hotter, and during the night, it's 4 degrees, and yes, it feels like 4 degrees, remember there is no heating anywhere! And in the hotels/buses/trains most of the time the windows don't close all the way.
In the day saw yet another palace, I don't think I need to see any more, had enough, they're all the same! Then saw some cool astrology place, they had signs explaining what it does, but I couldn't understand anything. Tried listening to one guide, but I don't think he had a clue what he's talking about. Then saw a bee hive palace, that one was cool. People approach me and just take my pictures with their camera/phone without asking, so I take pictures of them. You disrespect me, I disrespect you. That's why there are much more pictures of locals on this trip :)
This area of India is known for its fabrics, and most women wear saris. They're so beautiful. While I was walking in the bazaar, I stopped almost beside every store where they showed women the saris, unable to take my eyes off of them. Every sari they would open I would go wooooow, new one, wooooooow.
I went to eat in a very expensive restaurant, I ended up paying over $10, it was a very good service and good food, but it's really not worth it, I'll stick to my $2 dinners :)
Then had lassi which is a very popular drink. It's something like yogurt, but not really yogurt. They also mix it with different fruits or juices. Now I'm having it every day :) In some places they serve it in ceramic cups which they throw out after 1 use. What a waste!
While walking around some puppet guy told me hi, as usual I ignored him and kept walking. He kept following me and asking why nobody wants to talk to the puppet guy. I wonder why? Cause nobody will talk to you without trying to sell you something. Then he said that he studies and just wants to practice English. I told him his English is fine. Then another guy called me "Madam, this guy doesn't want to sell you anything, he just wants to talk to you, why do you run away from him? You should trust people more; he's a very good person. You have the chance to come here and see our culture, but we don't have the chance to go to your country, and the only way for us to learn anything about it is to talk to tourists". After a few more minutes of convincing me to talk to them and the discomfort of an audience who circled us (which they love to do!), I agreed to go sit down somewhere ... it's not like I had anything better to do, and I thought it would make for an interesting story :)
We went to KFC, I didn't have anything because I don't like KFC and because I didn't want to "accidently" pay for them too. They started talking about how life is short, and no matter what happens in it, we have to keep our positivity and be happy. They talked a lot about it, but they didn't seem to be very happy. I think they tried to convince themselves that they are. Donish is 19, he still goes to school to study music and history. His father lost his job a few years ago, so now all he does is drink, but even before he would give 30% to the family and the rest he would drink. In the spare time Donish sells marionettes in the bazaar to support his family, but they're so ugly, I don't know who would buy them. Taj is 27, he travelled a little bit to Indian festivals to Paris, Japan and Mauritius to do marionette shows and play Indian music. He said that he has a little school here where he teaches kids how to play Indian instruments. He read my hand and said that somebody broke my heart and I can't move on, but that I have a pure heart... sounds familiar. Then he said that my throat chakra is blocked (meaning that I don't say everything that I think or feel and keep most of my thoughts inside). I went to 3 palm readers and all of them told me different things. I think they have to come up with something bad so that I'll want to cure it. Buy some stones or do spiritual cleansing which would cost a fortune. Then we went to a tea shop to have some chai, to get there we had to take some shady road and I got a bit nervous, but they kept telling me to trust people more. There were a few people around, so fine, I went. We ordered chai, and it was 30 rupees. When we paid the bill I said that it's quite expensive because on the street it's 5. The waiter overheard me and started "maganabagana" that's it's not the street, it's a restaurant, and he kept going on and on. The bill was ALREADY paid, can't he mind his own business?!?
Btw, I asked the guys about salaries, and they said that this waiter, who works everyday for 12 hours a day, gets about $60 a month!
Next day I took Maria who arrived at night to meet these guys again, and we went to see the guru. They told us that he sells stones, but we don't have to buy anything. The guru said a few accurate things, but I think his fault was that he gave me dates and numbers which weren't completely accurate. I think if you give me numbers, they should be exact, otherwise, don't give them to me at all. He said that my major problem is that I have huge trust issues and that I'm very sensitive, take everything personally and because of that easily hurt. In short, my Pluto (especially Pluto!), Jupiter and Saturn are not in balance and I need stones to heal it. I looked at the rings, they were nice and not expensive ($40) with semi precious stones. I thought I should get one as a souvenir anyway, but decided against it. Then we went to Donish's house in the slum. The house is made up from one room and a little space outside for kitchen and shower. There are about 6 people sleeping in a 3x3 meter room. Taj's musical school is not really a school, but one of these rooms, it has 3 instruments and nobody really knows how to play anything! We walked around a little bit (mainly to get out of the room), took some pictures of the kids and garbage. They played and sang for us; did some puppet show, but after weird moves with the puppets and talks about banana preferences, we decided that it's time to go ... now ! Yes, there is a reason after all why I don't trust most people. First of all I'm a tourist, second of all I'm a girl. I trust myself, and that's what counts!
We hired an auto rickshaw for a few hours to see the sights around the city. Saw a fort which was very beautiful but mostly from outside, it was like growing out of the mountain overlooking a lake. Very very nice. Inside we were walking and walking in circles getting lost through corridors which lead to nowhere. What's the point of all that space? There were cobra tamers playing tubes. At first I thought the cobras were fake, they looked like plastic, but soon enough they started to move around, hiss and jump on the people who got too close, at which point I decided that it's better to make use of my zoom in the camera :)
Then we saw a water palace. I never seen anything like that before, it was a huge palace in the middle of the lake, I wonder how it got there? India surprises me with these buildings. It could look like any other city and I'm wondering what the point of being there, but then one look at a building/monument/fort and the jaw just drops!
In the middle of that trip my butt started hurting from all the pot holes on the road, so it was either a choice to safe my butt by sitting on my hands or to save myself from falling out of the rickshaw. It was a tough choice :)
Next we went to a few textile factories. They showed us how they make all the fabrics, how to do block printing, offered us chai, pepsi, but with the smell of the colors, air pollution, noise pollution, I started to get a headache fast and all I wanted to do is bury myself in all these piles of fabrics and never get out! Afterwards went to a monkey temple. It's not really a temple, just a small hill with a house on top, but about 3000 monkeys live there. We hired two 12 year old monkey protectors, so just in case they'll bite them and not us :) but luckily they were on a good behavior and didn't misbehave. I think the protectors misbehaved more than the monkeys! On the top they asked for money, 100 rupees each! (that's how much a regular person makes a day), we laughed at them, they became aggressive, suddenly all the stories about history and monkey behavior turned into accusations with high pitched sounds! And they demanded the money at the top. I said that they'll receive it at the bottom once their job will be done, but they said that there are a lot of kids at the bottom and they'll steal their money. Fine, we gave them Rs 15 each, and sure enough they disappeared right away, and we left all alone at the mercy of these fearless creatures ;) kidding :)
pictures live here: https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/Jaipur