Jaipur Treasures – Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort and Gaitore

An early start with lots to see in Jaipur.  We drove by the gorgeous pink Hawa Mahal, which is actually just a facade.  It is attached at the back to the city palace and was used by the women to watch, behind screens, the life of the city as it passed by below.  Welcome to Jaipur!



Our trip to Amer (or Amber as it is called because of the building color) Fort. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there has been little water in the region for the past couple of years so these fishermen (working on untangling their nets) will, most likely, have little success.


Amer, originally, was the capital of the state before Jaipur. It is an old fort, built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh. This fort is also very popularly known as the Amer Palace. The Amer Fort was built in red sandstone and marble and the Maotha Lake adds a certain charm to the entire Fort. Though the fort is quite old and may even look so from the outside, it is beautiful on the inside and boasts of various buildings of prominence like the ‘Diwan-i-Aam’, the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ and even the ‘Sukh Mahal’. The Amer Fort has influences of both Hindu and Muslim architecture.  Credit

It was quite hot with long lines to ride the elephants so we missed the opportunity to ride the smelly beasts (but I took pictures).  The details of this Fort are incredible and survive these many years later.  Enjoy the collage of photos.

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The summer palace (which will be restored at some point) is a beautiful building in the middle of the lake near the Amer Fort.


We did do a bit of shopping and eating to keep up our energy… and then we went to the Gaitore Burial Grounds, where the maharajas (not the wives who were buried elsewhere) have been laid to rest for generations.  The carvings reflect the different activities of interest to the particular maharaja.

Ending our day were these hardworking men and women collecting and selling wood.

This is Annpurna, our amazing guide!


P.S. I bought the same kurta she’s wearing!  Look for it in the future.

Guess the Meaning

Can you guess what the following sayings found in newspapers, street signs and from conversations mean?

  • Gun shot done here.
  • The auto turned turtle.
  • Traffic goes for a toss.
  • I will check and revert.
  • What’s your good name.
  • Traffic was thrown out of gear.

Here’s a clue to the first one.  Look closely at the left side of the photo below….


Still don’t know?

This is a jewelry store (outdoors) and they do ear piercings with a “gun”.

A Rupee is a Rupee is a Rupee

Yesterday we went to the bank to open our account.  I could have said it was worse than my experience with Citizen’s, but that would be a lie.  In this instance US banking is as painful as it is in India.

As we were leaving we got stuck behind a car and then an armored vehicle.  There was a huge fight going on since the car did not want to pay the 20 rupees (that’s about 30 cents) for the parking.  The guys from the armored car jumped out with their rifle (yes, rifle!) and there were about 8 people yelling to get the guy to pay so they could leave.

Lessons learned:

  • It is easy to rob an armored car in India, just have a car avoid paying and everything grinds to a halt.
  • Our driver got out and paid the 20 rupees so we could leave.
  • The driver who escaped was completely unappreciative.
  • Once the payment was resolved everyone stopped yelling and got in their cars and drove off.
  • 20 rupees is a lot of money to people in India.

The Adventure Begins

It was a spontaneous decision when Eric and I decided to move to Bangalore India for two years. With the girls long gone (or at least Charlotte will be after her May graduation) it was just the two of us. The opportunity came up and we said yes. There actually wasn’t much discussion.

To many that might seem surprising. Uproot your life. Move to a city in a country very far away in both distance and life style. What do you do with your house? Where are you going to live? What will I do while Eric works (I don’t have a working visa)? How do you stop delivery of the Newton TAB?

All these questions were surmountable. The logistics for an international move are much more complex than we expected. They took longer than we would have liked. But we had loads of specialists helping us though the visa, packing, house hunting, etc. processes.

And now we are both, finally, in Bangalore.

This move is a welcome change. An opportunity for Eric to do a completely different kind of job. For me to find a different way to channel my do-good tendencies. And for us to intimately explore and learn not only Indian culture, but also visit many other nearby countries. (I know Australia and New Zealand aren’t really close but it is all relative!).

In this blog I will try to document what it is like to adapt and live in India. It will be especially interesting watching the US election through Indian eyes.

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An observation: Indians have lots of children and they also really love them. Over and over I’ve seen affection shown to kids by complete strangers. It is quite lovely.

Bangalore (or Bengaluru) Adventure

About two months ago Eric was offered an opportunity to run a global marketing center in Bengaluru India.  It took us barely a day to decide that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so we jumped.

Since then we’ve done a lot of online research, collecting things we want to bring over and anticipating our lives for the next two years.

Two weeks ago things kicked into gear and we are heading to Bengaluru January 1 to find housing that is close to Eric’s work that it won’t involve hours in traffic jams.  We also want our place to be near amenities so I can explore the city and we can do things in the evening without needing our driver (yes, we will have a driver!!!)  And, best of all there will be loads of space for friends to come visit!

Once we return from our week visit we’ll have a few weeks to pack up and have stuff shipped overseas while our long-term visas are in the works.  We are targeting a February move.  In the meantime there is much to do – and people to see.

Please follow this blog to keep up with our adventures abroad.