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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Making a run on the bank

Anne told me that there has been some coverage in the world news about what is going on here with the banks and money. It is definitely crazy. This was the crowd outside one of the bank branches in Pushkar this morning at 11am.  

Those folks were much, much calmer than the ones at the branch we went to where there was an incredible amount of pushing and shoving. It didn't take long for us to realize that we had to push back if we didn't want to get shoved further back in the line.  One of my trip mates has a funny picture on her phone of me using my plus sized rear end to hold back a couple of the men trying to shove us out of the way. There are some good things about not being petite, and one of them is that I can hold my ground!  It was never scary, mostly just annoying, though my necklace got broken in the process. We waited outside for an hour, but only 5 people from our group got in the branch to get money because they would only serve one foreigner for every two locals. And that makes sense, because as another group member pointed out, "We need to remember this is just our vacation money, but money to feed their family is people's lives." So Bhivou sent us back to the bus, but before we gave up our positions in line, we moved a couple of the non-rude people up ahead of us.  And now I can say I participated in a run on the bank! 

We had a 4 hour drive from Pushkar to Jaipur. Along the way, Bhivou filled us in on stories of Hindu life including how arranged marriages work (men get to be "king for a day, slave for life"). Unfortunately because we were so late leaving, there was no time for a lunch break. I had my trusty snacks in my bag including granola bars and Slim Jims, something that breaks up the vegetarian monotony quite well!! 

Upon arrival, we went straight to the Amber Fort which was the palace of one of the the maharajah's, I think in the 1600s. 

I thought the style of architecture was interesting, and the colors in the frescoes have held up well to the elements. 

It was interesting to hear Bhivou share about how the arrival of the Mhogul emporers who were Muslim influenced the role of women in Hindi society. I'm not sure how conservative Jaipur is yet. We noticed one bank branch had only women in the queue, and at another there was one line for men and one for women. So we'll see what it is like tomorrow afternoon when we are out shopping!

We are in a really, really nice hotel in Jaipur which has a number of perks. This is the first place we have felt safe using ice, and a cold vodka tonic was particularly refreshing upon arrival. The other plus is having a gym. I've got my clothes laid out to work out in the morning. There was no gym at the camp, and it wasn't safe there to be out walking or running solo (plus it was cold!) I wore my sneakers at the camel fair, and now they smell like camel poo, so I had to wear them today as to not contaminate my suitcase. They will not be making the return trip home.

We ate dinner in the hotel restaurant since they had a buffet, a particularly nice option here where you aren't sure what will be tasty and what too spicy.  In addition to the usual vegetarian options, there was some sort of mystery meat, either goat or mutton, as well as chicken, though the chicken was too spicy for moi.  The paneer cheese dish was good though, so I was fine with that and my trusty naan. 

That's it for today!

Sent from my iPhone

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