Jaipur, Rajasthan 9:40 p.m.
Well, the good news is that we have finally emerged from the rather bleak confines of Paharganj’s Hotel Shelton, making our escape in the dead of night via Toyota Qualis and arriving at 2 this morning to the Arya Niwas hotel in downtown Jaipur. My travel partner Sara, who gamely absorbed a week in Paharganj professing satisfaction with our living arrangements, is convinced she has died and gone to heaven.
The Arya Niwas environment, while not giving the Taj or Oberoi a run for their boutique 5-star money, feels open and spacious and airy and quiet and most of all: clean! The price has risen from 900 rs/night last year to 1200 this year—an even more noticeable increase given the dollar’s 10-15% crash relative to the rupee in this last year—but after a week of Delhi’s relentless noise and grime, I’d gladly pay twice as much. Plus, they’ve now got wi-fi! Yeah, internet from bed, my fave.
And, Sara feels human again, post ‘Delhi belly’ which is always delightful. And, as she mentioned during the five hour midnight drive last night, this is the first trip she’s ever taken where she has not been responsible for the travel logistics—she’s loving not dealing with anything and watching me handle all the details. As for me, it’s not much different than doing all the logistics on my own, as I do every year.
The bad news is, I’m beginning to feel a tad piqued myself—slightly achy and almost feverish and just plain old tired and wrung out. I didn’t want to have such a long day today but I needed to pow-wow with my beeswax candle walas before they launched up to Punjab for the weekend to celebrate a family wedding, so we spent the day with them, which was actually quite sweet. We were working on some new ideas, including adding pure plant essential oils to the candles in a new ‘chakra’ line I’ve been working on, and exploring some non-seeping terra cotta pots in the nonstop effort to improve and upgrade the line. Towards the end of the afternoon, I began to fade and laid down on a cot for 45 minutes as they assembled pricing info etc. I still have that heavy feeling and am about to crawl under the covers and crash. Hopefully I can beat this thing with minimal down time. No firm plan yet for tomorrow which is a rare luxury. I am turning off the alarm and allowing nature to take her course tomorrow morning—usually a good idea, though too easy to plow through en route to exhaustion.
Anyway, I’m beat, so I’ll upload this bereft of any pearls of local wisdom. Hopefully I will be more on my game tomorrow…