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January 6th

Unfortunately, after over a week of good health among our group, Delhi Belly has struck (in Jaipur).  Poor Nick got violently ill in the middle of the night and a doctor had to be called in to our hotel.  A few others also felt ill but not quite as bad.  This was really sad because we had a full day of activities planned.  With heavy hearts, we left Nick and Marian at the hotel and headed to Amber Fort, a large fortification and palace nestled in the hills just outside of town.  Instead of hoofing it up to the fort on the hill, our group opted to take elephants to the top.  It was pretty neat sitting on the seat strapped to the elephant as it slowly lumbered up the walkway to the entrance to the fort.  The scenery was very beautiful as there were five or six other forts perched on hilltops surrounding the Amber Fort and a 23 km long wall stretched between them.  The Amber Fort was built in the 1600s by the same king who built the astronomical devices we had seen the day before.  They say this king, Raja Man Singh I, was so clever that the king of India at the time called him “king and a quarter.”  Thus, two Indian flags fly over the city to this day: one regular sized flag and one that is exactly a quarter of that size on top.  We toured the fort and the adjoining palace.  The king had nine wives and we visited a courtyard where the apartments of the wives looked out.  The king had a secret passage from his chambers to each of his wives’ thus avoiding jealousy (told you he was clever!).  The fort was very ornate and beautiful.

After departing Amber Fort, we headed to Tiger Fort, which was located on a mountain top.  I felt really bad for the three students who were not feeling so hot as we wound our way up the bumpy switchbacks narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic (well, actually the other car mirror checked an oncoming car – scary!).  Nerves of steel come in handy while driving in India, and my experience driving in Malaysia over the summer as well as some of my jeeping experience helped out here.  We arrived at the top and were greeted with a beautiful fort with only a handful of tourists and a commanding view of the city of Jaipur stretching below.

We headed back into the city to see how Nick was doing, and he had improved compared to that morning.  The three others who were sick rested at the hotel while we headed to Peacock Restaurant.  This was a bittersweet meal as there was some trepidation among us about the upcoming meal in light of the recent illnesses.  But the food was excellent (I got tandoori chicken – again) and a banana lhasi, kind of like a smoothie.  We headed back to the hotel and grabbed the rest of our crew and I mentally prepared myself for the trip back to Gurgaon.  It was pretty rough; about six hours packed seven strong in our SUV.  The other car (we called it the quarantine car) was more comfortable for the sick folk holding only six.  We arrived in Gurgaon late and after picking up some supplies for our field work the next day.

 

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Last modified on September 10th, 2015
Posted on March 31st, 2013