Hardly met ya
in Jaipur, India on 11th April, 2012


I had set my alarm to wake me up at seven so I could get to photographing and exploring Jaipur before the mid-day heat. In the morning I opened the door walking into the main dining area of the house I was staying in and then just looked at the walls. They were covered in photos with the owner of the property and his family members escorting the British Royal Family around India. It turned out the owner was a member of the Rajasthani Royal Family and a Colonel in the Indian Army.  I thought it was nice of him to let me stay in his house for £15 / night and greet me when I arrived at two in the morning.

After breakfast I set about getting a rickshaw into town. Jaipur was a very spiritual place. There was a lot of worshipping going on and luckily, people didn't mind me getting up close and snapping a few pics of them. I think the photos in this blog will be some of the most heartwarming of my Indian trip.

Unfortunately, my day of photography was cut short. After lunch I fell ill and headed back to my hotel room.

In the evening I felt well enough for dinner. I walked down the road and took out some money. The cash machine was in a little room that only one person should normally be in at any one time. I took out 5,000 rupees which came out as 50 bank notes. As I counted them a few men appeared behind me with shot guns in their hands. I quietly turned and looked to them. One had a metal box, he set it down. They were there to refill the cash machine which gives out bank notes worth £1.19 regardless of how much money you're withdrawing. They must visit that place ten times a day.

I then headed to an Indian restaurant and had a cheap Indian dish. I was the only customer and chatted to the ten or so guys working there a bit about the cricket showing on the TVs.

When I got back to my room that evening I remembered that I bought malaria pills for Goa. I took one. I fell asleep around midnight but at 2am I woke up feeling violently ill. I spent the whole night being sick; it was worse than anything I had experienced before.

At six in the morning I went to open the front door of the house so I could get to the Maids' house and get some drinkable water. The doors were locked from the outside so I couldn't get out regardless of how much I needed to. I screamed out of the window for someone to open the doors but no one came. I was alone in the house. I went back to my room worried knowing I was locked in. I found a phone in the room and on the second attempt I was able to get ahold of someone to come with water. When the porter entered the room I was laying on the bed with tears in my eyes for the night of hell I'd been through.

I drank the water and dreaded the day ahead. At 7:15 my 8am cab turned up way to early to take me to the airport. As I struggled with my bags the porter came racing up demanding a tip. It shocks me how there is almost no compassion for people's health here, everything is a money game. Throughout this trip whenever I've been visibly weakened or bleeding, people still come begging for money without giving a flying fuck about what I might be suffering through. Heartless beggars. Perhaps they think they're the only poor person in Asia or that I have a few trillion dollars in my heavy suitcase.

I was trying not to think about throwing up throughout the whole bumping and erratic drive to Jaipur International. When I got there I had to beg SpiceJet to print me a plane ticket receipt without knowing my PR number so I could actually enter the airport. Only after a manager came did the find me in the passenger manifesto and printed my receipt.

I had to wait in the first security area for a while before I could even check in my bags. I sat backwards trying to sleep for the duration of the wait. Travel in India is always difficult but it's worse when you feel you'll puke on everyone at any given moment. The only thing distracting me for the entire wait was a professional cricket team coming in for a flight and seeing everyone in the airport go mad.

On the first flight I grabbed three seats and laid down for the hour-long trip.

We arrived an hour later in a city close to the Pakistani border and went through a series of confusing re-checkin steps to catch our connecting flight. I was able to eat a scoop of ice cream but that was it.

Arriving in Goa I had to deal with crowds of men pushing towards the baggage conveyor belts. It was hot and humid when I got to my taxi outside. I was barely able to carry my bags and the trolley bar on the back of my suitcase was now broken. At my hotel I had a porter carry my bag up the three flights of stairs. I then just laid in my bed with some cold water, struggling to breathe but happy I made it.


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