It was a little strange to go out sightseeing and then return back to our hotel for breakfast, but since we left to see the Taj Mahal at 5am, that’s what we had to do. After enjoying a very filling breakfast in the same restaurant, Taj Bano, that we’d eaten in the evening before, we headed back to our rooms to pack up. We would be traveling to Jaipur today!
If you’ve been following along on my India journey, we started out in Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra. Then we headed to New Delhi which is located in the state of Delhi. Our next stop was Agra in Uttar Pradesh. And now we were about to be driven in our tour bus to Jaipur, located in the state of Rajasthan. (I love trying to say all those names out loud!)
It only took about six hours of driving to reach Jaipur, stopping just once for a bathroom break where I saw a rat the size of a large house cat scamper across the floor when I opened the door. (I still used the bathroom knowing the rat was in there. Desperate times, you know.)
We stayed at the Marriott in Jaipur where, once again, we had an exceptionally beautiful and comfortable room. My mom and dad’s room also had an extra living room attached to it which made the perfect place for all of us to gather together. Before we left for India, I had nightmares about staying in places where I had to squat over a hole in the ground to use the restroom. The crazy part is, I would have done it just for the opportunity to see India. But thankfully, my dad has excellent taste in hotels and I didn’t have to.
One huge bonus to staying at the Marriott was that they offered high tea every day for free. This meant we were able to enjoy a breakfast buffet AND dinner for free while we were staying in Jaipur. So after we got settled into our rooms, we went down to the casual dining cafe at the hotel and ordered sandwiches, tea, and a dessert. I had green tea, one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, and a piece of chocolate cake that will forever be imprinted in my brain.
After dinner, our plan for the evening was to see our very first Bollywood movie! When we lived in Singapore, our TV picked up an Indian channel and occasionally I’d watch the Indian soap operas even though they were in Hindi. (I was a weird child.) So you can understand my excitement when I realized I was about to see an actual Hindi movie in India! No matter that I can’t understand the language and there are no subtitles…
Going to the theater is an extremely popular pastime, so we had to order tickets in advance to ensure we’d get seats together. The movie we picked to see was a comedy called Rowdy Rathore. We got to the movie early and were standing around in the ultra crowded lobby when I felt my high tea begin bubbling up in my stomach. Before too long, it was of utmost importance that I make it to a toilet pronto. We found the bathrooms, the only bathrooms, and I quickly discovered my best option was not your average, everyday, flushable toilet. It was a bowl, with a rim, and lots and lots of other people’s business already in it. Like a stationery porta-potty from hell. And I had no choice but to use it. I stuffed the wet wipes my mom had given me into my nose and mouth to keep from gagging, and decided right then and there that I wouldn’t be eating for the rest of the trip if this was what I had to look forward to. Luckily, I made it out with only minimal psychological damage.
After that event, the rest of the evening turned out to be a blast! The movie we saw was three hours long with an intermission in the middle. Until the intermission, I was following the plot line unusually well considering there were no subtitles, and was loving the movie. After the intermission, I felt like we began watching a completely different movie with the same actors. The plot switched from a comedic love story to an action, crime fighting caper in the second half. Despite our confusion, we all left saying it was completely worth the three hours just for the experience alone. Unlike movie theaters in the US, silence is not something you’ll find in a theater in India. I have never seen a more enthusiastic crowd of people watching a movie. Shouting, dancing, whistling – it’s all a part of the theater experience here. If Bollywood movies are this fun in the theater, I can only imagine how exciting a live Bollywood performance must be!