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19 November 2013

Monday, 18 November. Jaipur

I had to get up early, before 6am. My train left at 06:55 and Swag had to drive me all the way to the station.

It was my first time taking and Indian train, and I was all alone. None of the signs were in English, only Hindi. And the electronic signs were turned off, so it was difficult to figure out where my train car was (I had a reserved seat). The information guy just pointed in a general direction so I just guessed. People were just walking across the train tracks to get to the other platform. When the train finally came, about 15 minutes late (just like Germany!), it was honking very loudly (just like the cars on the street!) so that people would get off the tracks.

I had a reserved seat in the equivalent of business class. I didn't realize that I would be fed - tea, cereal, fruits, and an omelette. Not bad! I spent the ride writing down my thoughts and managed to sleep a little bit. The train stopped randomly for 15 minutes and started backing up. Did we make a wrong turn? Is that even possible? I SAW MY FIRST CAMEL. I woke up with my phone vibrating (Swag had just booked my next day ticket and needed my passport no.) and the train arrived in Jaipur.

I walked out of the train station, and was instantly overwhelmed by the masses. A rickshaw driver could easily see that I was a foreigner and insisted that I ride with him - he clung to me like a leech even though I said no. I walked to the hotel, using my phone (carefully) to guide me there, and dodging piles of trash, cow poop, and general filthiness along the way. I checked in; the hotel is actually nice with a peaceful garden, and they upgraded me to a nicer room. Had some food, washed up, and after a few minutes' rest, I went out to explore the city on foot.

Jaipur is crazy and chaotic. The whole day was spent dodging traffic and trying not to get pulled aside by some shady bazaar vendor into a trap.