JAIPUR, THE PINK CITY, IS ALSO KNOWN AS THE CITY OF VICTORY. With only two more days to go before I finish my India trip, I am ready to claim my victory against this confusing country. Now a cheeky traveler, I always get rooms Rs 50-100 cheaper than the starting price, and souvenirs at half of what other travelers paid.
Proud of my bargain catch from yesterday, I showed the silk scarfs and knitted cotton pashminas, Rs 100 each, to my host, Sunny. I grinned happily when I told them that 2 Chinese backpackers got theirs for Rs 250 each. Heehee~ Sunny suggested that I buy spices from here, they have Rajasthani spices that are only available at these local markets. He brought me to a shop, where the spices are way cheaper than in the tourist bazaars, and I bought all the essential spices he recommended. (Except for saffron because 0.5 grams go for Rs 300)
I celebrated my cheap buys with a Bollywood cinema treat at the Rajmandir Cinema. Known as the largest and oldest in town, the interior decorations are grandiose and is well splurged with crystal chandeliers and expensive carpets. For Rs 150, I got the diamond seating, which has its own lounge to relax prior to opening and gives exceptionally good view. The movie ‘We Are Family’ is far from the stereotyped singing and dancing Bollywood flicks. This comedy-drama earned my tears and two thumbs up for its family-oriented emotional plot.
Wanting to keep on with the celebration, I indulged myself to a special glass of lassi and samosas with chola (chickpeas in tomato gravy). Highly recommended by the Lonely Planet guidebook, this shop serves lassi in clay glasses, emphasizing its Indian authenticity.
Lucky for me because when I was about to board the bus back to my host’s home, he called me telling me that he was nearby. “Frankie, where are you?” he said with much excitement. “I am at Choti Chaupar,” I replied. “What a coincidence, I am near, come find me.” So, my host and I met in the middle of the city. He brought me for tasty Kachori (friend bread with spicy onions) and then home on his bike, saving me even more transportation fees.
Luck struck many times during this day, and I am happy and contended to wave goodbye to India with pride. India may be bewildering and demanding, but this little traveler can soon claim his victory with his patience and strong will.
The Hawa Mahal is one of the most beautiful architecture in Jaipur
“We Are Family” at the Raj Mandir cinema
With Rp 150, you get boxed theater sets with a private lounge to rest before the show starts