Monday, March 22, 2010

A week away

When I'd finally decided what I was doing(going to midwifery school) I realized that I'd been here in India for almost a year and I still hadn't seen the Taj!! So, Suzy and I decided that we'd go on a trip to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and a small village close to Jaipur where there is a children's home. We looked at the calender and decided that the next week would be the best time to go. We packed our bags and headed down the mountain.
We stayed at Stephen and Amber's for a day first and then headed out the next day. It took our bus over an hour to get to the tunnel, which should only take 20 min! Traffic was BAD!! But, we finally made it to Delhi. We jumped onto the metro and headed to our hotel. Suzy and I stay at the same hotel every time we go to Delhi and we usually even get the same room every time. They know us pretty good by now. We got up at 4 the next morning so we could head to the ISBT and catch the 5 o'clock bus to Jaipur. We got off that bus about 40 km from Jaipur and found the jeep that was to take us to Urdayn, the children's home

Urdayn has just under 60 kids now, all who once used to live on the streets in Jaipur, Delhi and even all the way from Mumbai! It is a beautiful campus out in the desert and everything they need is right there. They have a garden where they grow almost all of their veggies, a school for the children, dorms, and even a small store that is open on Sundays for the kids to buy things from
with their allowance.

 The kids waiting for breakfast before school

We only had enough time to spend that day and night there and I so wish we would have had more time! The staff is wonderful and the kids are amazing!! They get volunteers in quite often and so there is plenty of people around to love on the kids.

Urdayn also does some work with the local village woman and goes into Jaipur to do some work in the slums. It was a lot of fun to see the kids and learn a bit more about all that Urdayn does! I hope to go back and visit for a longer time some day.

 The kids at the start of school. Their classrooms are 
underground so that it is cool during the heat.     

On Tuesday morning we headed into Jaipur in the jeep that was headed there from Urdayn. On the way Suzy asked the guy that was driving what his favorite movie was. He said his first favorite movie was Rab ne bana di Jodi. Then said that his second favorite was Dhoom 2, which he stated very proudly that he's seen 25 times!! It was really funny!!

In Jaipur we went to the Huva(meaning wind) Mahal. Below are a couple pictures.


Then we went to the Amber Fort.

This is one of the giant "pots" they used to cook in       
when people used to live in the fort.               

After we had lunch we went to the ISBT to get a bus to Agra. Suzy said that when she went with her host family in January it took them about four hours or so. But by bus it takes A LOT longer!! We were on the bus for about six hours I think. When we finally got to Agra we went to our hotel, had some dinner and went to bed. The next morning we headed to the Taj Mahal.

After lunch we headed back to Delhi. Again it too MUCH longer by bus than by car!! We got into the south ISBT this time so we had to get an auto since the metro isn't built out that way yet. It was pretty interesting(as usual) trying to talk the auto drivers down to a halfway reasonable price. And even then I know we got ripped off pretty bad. But on a lighter note our auto was pretty pimped out with an AWESOME sound system!! Although we only listened to one song all the way through.
We got to our hotel and there was a new guy there. He was going to show the rooms(even though we tried to tell him we didn't need to see them) when one of the regular guys came up and told him to just give us 301. Then he tried to charge us 450, but the other guy told him "no they get it for 400". It was kinda funny. ;)

The next morning we got up and headed to take care of some business. Then we had lunch and looked for an auto so we could do the tourist thing. We finally found an auto that said he would use the meter!! They are by law supposed to use the meter, but not once have we found an auto who would because their meters are always "broken". We got in and headed to Qutab Minar. But once we got down the road a ways the auto driver pulls over and begins telling us that it's going to be 350 rupees to go to Qutab Minar, Lotus Temple and then back to Canaught Place. We argued with him saying that he said he'd use the meter. But he would have none of it. We finally told him we'd pay 300 if he took us to those two places and then brought us back. But he kept saying 350 as he was driving. He pulled into a gas station and asked for the 300 rupees so he could fill his tank. We gave it to him, but then thought after wards that that was a dumb thing to do. He tried to get us to get out of the auto and stand in front of the station till he was done, but we wouldn't. So, when it was his turn he had us just stand to the side. I'm pretty sure he didn't even get gas because he was only there for maybe 30 seconds. But we got back in and continued on.
When we finally got to Qutab Minar he tried to get us to give him 50 rupees so he could park in the parking lot otherwise he'd get a ticket for parking on the street. We argued with him for a while saying that we'd already giving him 300 rupees and that he could use it to pay for parking. But he said he spent it on gas. Finally I told Suzy that we should go with him to the parking lot and just pay it, cause I knew it wouldn't be 50 rupees. He pulled up to the gate and it ended up only being 10 rupees. He followed us to the ticket booth and I bought a super sized forigener ticket for the two of us for 250 rupees each. Then our auto driver wanted a ticket!! But I was so sick of arguing with him at this point that I just gave him the 10 rupees it would cost for his ticket. We went and saw the big tower that is Qutab Minar, took some pictures and left. We were there for all of maybe 5-10 min.

Then we headed to the Lotus Temple. I had our auto driver pull over at one point so Suzy and I could get some water. And then of all things he wanted us to buy him a Coke!!! For 30 rupees!!! He was bound and determined to get that extra 50 rupees one way or another!
We got to Lotus Temple looked around and took some pictures. We didn't go inside because there was a prayer service going on at the time so we would have had to be inside for 15 min. and because of our auto I was at the point where I just wanted to be done sight seeing. So we left and headed back to Canaught Place.

Our auto driver asked us if we wanted to see India Gate for an extra 50 rupees. We both said no MANY times and thought we'd finally gotten through to him because he quit asking. Besides the fact that India Gate is on the way back. When we passed it he pointed it out and made sure we looked at it, but didn't stop. Then when we were close to the inner circle of Canaught Place he stopped and said we were there. We were both like, "um, no we're not. We want to go to Canaught Place, not just near it, thank you." So we just sat there till he started going again. Finally we got there and got out of the auto. And then he tried to get us to give him 50 rupees cause he showed us India Gate!! HA! You've got to be kidding me!! We just walked away.

We got an overnight bus back to D.D. that night and got there really early in the morning. We spent a couple days at the Clover's house before heading back home yesterday. All in all it was a good trip.

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