Visiting India. Part 3. Jaipur.

Continuing my Indian observations hellip;

This morning we left Agra and went to Jaipur, Rajastan, which looked a lot cleaner and civilized than everything I “ve seen so far. Much better roads, more civilized people. I asked Ram, my driver, “Why such a big difference? rdquo; He responded, “Hindu people like clean. Muslim people do not like clean rdquo;.

Here “s a new addition to the transportation department ndash; camel-cars. These animals can go without drinking water and eating for a week or longer.

Now I see more open Jeeps that are used as cabs here. If yellow three-wheelers could accommodate 16 people, it “s peanuts for a Jeep. I “ve seen one with about 25 people. Most of the people were winzipped inside, and 6-7 where hanging around the vehicle.

On my question if gasoline a.k.a. petroleum is expensive here, Ram answered, “No, it “s only 50 rupees a liter. rdquo; Let “s do some calculations. 50 rupees is $1.25. One gallon is 3.7 liters. $1.25*3.7= $4.63.

Conclusion: Americans, please stop the f@ amp;k whining about high gas prices until they reach at least $20 per gallon. And then, we ‘ll either invest into a nuclear power plants to minimize dependency on oil, or will also be hanging around someone ‘s SUV while carpooling on New Jersey Turnpike.

After two hours of driving we stopped at the rest area ndash; they call it midway. I got a bottle of cold beer and some nuts . One of the vendors asked me,

“Where are you from? rdquo;

rdquo;The USA rdquo;

He goes, “Pabla Espaniol? rdquo;

I don “t pabla, but given the current situation in the US, this is not a stupid question. It reminded me of an old story. One of our acquaintances immigrated to the USA from Ukraine. She had broken English at the time but managed to find a job in a kindergarten. One day, she was telling a story to a toddler in English for two minutes, the boy was listening to her and finally said, “I don “t speak Spanish rdquo;.

Three million people live in Jaipur. It takes two hours of driving to cross the city. Ram explained that if the name of the city ends with pur, it means that Hindu people rule there. If it ends with bad, it “s under Muslim “s control. Jaipur is also known as a Pink City – all buildings here are painted in terracotta or pink color. I “m not going to bore you with a story why one king was visiting Jaipur “s king, etc.

People of Jaipur quickly recovered of the recent terrorist attack. It “s a tourism-driven city ndash; there is no industry here. The Common Wealth games are coming to India in 2010, which is a big deal for the locals. They are restoring all historical places to be able to show the visitors their historical heritage. They believe that their enemies do not want American and European tourists to come here for the games and try to scare them by setting up terrorist attacts. Terrorists killing peaceful people are animals no matter where they live and what excuses they find for these cowardly acts.

The tour guide was a pleasant and educated young guy. He showed me the Amber Fort, City palace. I “m not into museums, but it was not boring, and especially I was impressed by astronomical devices that Indian people built in 18th century. This short dialog becomes relevant in this context:

“How many high education degrees are required to become an intelligent person? rdquo;

“Three. Grandfather “s, father “s and yours rdquo;.

Conclusion. American programmers! They “ve got more than three! It “s just a matter of time and local Indians will learn how to deal with American enterprise IT from a distance. I already got this feeling, and I even did not arrive to Bangalore yet!

Don “t forget that Indians invented Kama Sutra ndash; they just need to find the right position for America.

I took this picture in Fort Amber too.

The rest of the tour ended by the same scenario as yesterday. The tour guide brings you to a place where local craftsmen show you the secrets of their profession, and then the golden door opens into the store where they show you their commercial goods that will be securely shipped by DHL right to your doorsteps anywhere in the world. I bought some stuff and my only regrets were that my friend Dora (Happy Birthday!) was not here ndash; she “s an excellent bargainer and would “ve saved me some cash. But hey, why not help locals a little bit too?

After 5PM we started moving toward our hotel. In short 45 minutes we “ve arrived. This hotel looked a lot nicer than the first two. Now we are talking! Oops hellip; the last minute decision was to give away the entire hotel to a wedding party, and there is no room for me. To be fair, I need to acknowledge that my guide quickly got in touch with the travel agency that takes care of me in India, and they arranged for another hotel two blocks away. They even offered me to inspect the new room to get my approval.

If you are planning to visit India, contact me and I “ll get you in touch with a reliable travel agent in New York.

Now the good news:

1. On the way to my room I noticed that the lizard running along the corridor sneaked under the door of another room. No biggie. In Thailand, lizards were running on the walls of a lot more upscale hotel than this one.

2. The room was huge ndash; it was more like a suite.

3. After I moved in and decided to take a closer look at the bathroom. Just one call to the reception and the guy came in an got rid of the ants in the shower.

4. Visualize me in the shower. .. I “m hopelessly trying to find cold water. Both facets produce the hot one. Quick call to the reception, “I do not know how to turn on the cold water rdquo;. In a minute the guy comes in again and asks me if I tried the facet that reads Cold Water. I wonder if he just following the steps from an instruction manual “How to provide customer support in the shower rdquo;, or I do not look like an intelligent person? He promised to go somewhere and fix the problem.

Then I “ve realized that to guarantee cold water in a hot day like this, they have three choices

a) run the cold water pipes through a couple of Sub Zero refrigerators

b) run them six feet under

c) drain the water for an hour.

I do not know which solution did they chose, but in about 15 minutes, the cold water temperature was about 45 degrees of Celsius, which is in my comfort zone.

Now “s the quiz time. If you “ll correctly answer what “s this large rectangular thingy attached to the wall in one of the rooms of Amber Fort, I “ll send you a signed copy of my book “Java Programming for the Real World. rdquo;

I “ll post the answer as a comment to this blog in a week.

Till next time.

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