Category Archives: Jaipur

Bollywood dance classes. 8th Oct 2016

After a long day sight seeing in the heat theres nothing nicer than to come home to a Bollywood Dance class on the roof of your Hotel.

There were three choices on offer.

1    Bollywood dance class.

2   Bollywood Cinema.

3   Do Bugger all.

The more energetic (I’m trying to avoid using the term younger element) chose the dance classes and Jaki put her name down for this too as she really didn’t want to sit in a Cinema for 3 hours watching  a film where boy meets girl, falls in love, wicked Uncle tries to sabotage plans, love conquers all, happy ending.

Its too much like our story.

I was clearly not in the running for dance classes due to age and infirmity (or as my mate Kev would say. “What, with these feet”?) so I volunteered to be the number one camera man on set.

However our plan went astray when the phone call to Lloyds bank took 100 minutes rather than the ten we’d expected. So by the time we arrived on the roof the rehearsals were well underway and the cast were looking suitably sweaty.

they did a fantastic job of learning this 8 move routine and the end result can be seen on my YouTube site.

Watching them brought tears to my eyes.

Tom out of step, Calum with his tongue hanging out, Luke looking more like a footballer than a dancer. The girls seemed to do OK though.

The Hotel had stocked up a fridge with bottled beers and given us the key so we could help ourselves and pay later which was just as well cause it was thirsty work.

We returned to the roof later that evening where we gave Emily a birthday cake and had a few more beers. At 10 our shirts arrived from the Tailors.

Tom looked particularly dashing in his multi coloured shirt which was just tight enough to show off those big beefy bicep’s.

img_3380
Tom lost at cards so forfeit was pencilled eyebrows all day.

We had a quick fashion show for the group who made all the right noises and told us just how cool we looked (and if we didn’t, we didn’t seem to care).

This mad I Larf which is why its Number 2 on my list

 

 

Advertisements

The great banking crisis. 8th October 2016

Last time it happened we were in Sydney at the start of our trip up the East Coast of Oz.

We went to a cashpoint (ATM) put the card in, entered the Pin and got bombed out.

We spent the subsequent weekend with no cash. Just like Royalty.

On the Monday we phoned home and after a very long phone call we got the cards reinstated and everything worked fine after that.

Before  setting out on this trip we notified Lloyds bank that we were going away and completed the relevant section on line. So we were pretty confident the problems of 2013 wouldn’t be repeated.

How wrong we were.

My first trip to an ATM in Jaipur failed to deliver any cash but as the system is slightly different I wasn’t too concerned though after 4 attempts I realised something wasn’t quite right.

Each cash point has a uniformed guard so it feels quite safe.

However, that evening I used the same card in a Restaurant and it went through OK.

The next day I tried an ATM again this time with Jaki riding shotgun to make sure I did it right. Duh!

However, even with Jaki’s superior brain power and 10 years experience in Financial Services we came away empty handed.

The last day in Jaipur we visited  a textile factory where we watched them printing designs  by hand using wood cut printing block’s. Mr Wedlock take note, if Keith gets a whiff of this your employed for life. Afterwards we were shown a range of Scarves, Pyjamas and Bedding which they had for sale and our group purchased almost everything in the warehouse.

Jaki bought some stuff for Georgia’s Christmas present which we had shipped home and I had a shirt made in Indian style (Kurta). I also bought a pair of trousers (off the peg) to go with it. This was delivered to our hotel at 10 pm that evening so from measure to delivery about 6 hours.

We did some hard bargaining on the price whilst the salesman continued to try to encourage us to buy more. Eventually the total bill including 5000 Rupees shipping was 26000 Rupees. Suddenly we realised just how much we’d spent.

Fortunately there was still some wiggle room and we got the total down to 22500 which with hind sight was still way over budget but by now we were committed.

So, I tried to pay using one of my card’s, which was declined.

Jaki then tried her card, which was declined.

They then produced a different cash machine and miraculously my original card worked this time.

Result.

Back at the Hotel Jaki decided to tackle Lloyds so made a call to them using my mobile phone. It didn’t go well.

There are some security questions you have to answer (so not only do you have to know your date of Birth, address, passwords, account number etc) like, what was the last amount you spent on you card at Tesco in January 1947 or something just as daft.

It was at this point Lloyds told us that an amount of 22500 Rupees had been taken from Jaki’s account which was strange because I had a receipt fro 22500 Rupees drawn against my account. It appears we’d now payed for these Items twice.

By this time I could tell Jaki’s patients was running a bit thin and she was giving the poor guy a hard time. He in exchange was keeping her hanging on for long periods in stoney silence whilst he ‘did things’ on his computer.

So after 74 minutes on the phone Jaki’s cards were un-blocked) even though we were assured they hadn’t been blocked in the first place. To resolve the double payment issue we had to go back to the textile shop and get them to fax through some information to Lloyds.

Jaki did explain that they may not have a Fax machine, the information may be in Hindi and there was a 9 day holiday starting the following morning. But Lloyds very helpfully insisted this was the only way to deal with the situation!

Then it was my turn.

I was asked how much I’d spent at ‘Cabot’ on a certain date?

I didn’t even know what ‘Cabot’ was till Jaki explained.

So I was given a multi choice security question instead ;

Did I once live at:-

18 Frm Gv or 47 The Brk  or 175 Chr Rd

I chose Chr Rd which was correct!

We went through the same routine as before with Lloyds assuring us they hadn’t blocked the card but then offering to un-block it just in case?

At the end we had been on the phone for over 100 minutes and at £1.80 per minute that was nearly fifty quid!

They assured me they would pick up the tab and offered an additional £25 compensation if I dropped the complaint against them.

One complaint?

I thought there were at least three?

The proof of this particular pudding was whether the cards would now work in an ATM, and fortunately they did.

So, if i understand  the situation correctly and often I dont;

We notified Lloyds that we would be in India and would be using our cards.

They didn’t block them but mysteriously they wouldn’t work.

They un-blocked them (even though they weren’t blocked) and then they did work.

They paid the same amount twice (for goods purchased) on two separate cards at the same time for the same amount to the same person but couldn’t cancel one of the payments.

Dose that sum it up?

After over 30 years with lloyds were gonna change banks when we get home!

 

 

 

 

Palace of the wind. Jaipur

PALACE OF THE WIND.

We visited this place which is supposed to be a Photo opportunity but it seemed to lack something.

It also made us targets for every tout trying to sell Tat.

However, the history behind it is interesting not least because it was built to hide the modesty of the Queen (or Indian Equivalent) who sat behind the screens and watched the peasant’s go about their business without exposing herself.

It was also cool up there (hence the name) as it was designed to catch the breeze.

The building is just a Facade there is almost nothing behind it, the back was apparently hung with sheets so it was dark inside making it easier for the queen to see out but harder for people to see in.

It’s probably not the high point of my trip but others may disagree?

However, I include it as context for our tour of Jaipur.

 

Top Ten activities. India

 

I made a list of my top ten activities of the last week.

I hope I can record most of them accurately in my blog.

So, here is the list.;
1 Rickshaw ride
2 Bollywood dance class
3 Taj
4 Romi
5 Food
6 Camping
7 People
8 Jaipur
9 Chai
10  Cycle Safari

So, in that order.

Rickshaw ride . Jaipur.

We were walking around Jaipur after having visited Hawa Mahal Museum.

img_8859
Walking through Jaipur

It started to rain so we took shelter under a shop canopy (well a sheet of Tarpaulin tied to some trees) to let the worst of it pass.

It was very hot and sticky so Romi organised a fleet of Cycle rickshaws to take us back to the Bus.

img_5082
Jaipur traffic

There was a stampede of Rickshaw drivers all fighting to get us on board their particular vehicle, none of which looked particularly road worthy and weren’t very comfortable to ride in.

Most of the drivers (pedaler) were skinny little guys who didn’t look like they had enough muscle to move the bike and two huge Europeans and as it turned out, they weren’t.

These bike’s have no gears, so getting moving from a standing start is a bit tricky when your only 6 stone dripping wet. The drivers often had to resort to getting off and pushing and in the mayhem that is Jaipur Traffic, thats no mean fete.

img_8889
All equal setting off.
img_8887
Shelter from the rain
img_8892
Victoria and Zoe
img_8888
Aric photographing me photographing him.

Once we got going it was like being in a video game. There was total bedlam with cars and bikes swirling around us, horns honking at us and the diesel fumes made your eye water.
In amongst this, other commuters would pull along side us and want to start a conversation. 
“Hello, where you from”. Was quite common, as was “Indian Helicopter” which we think referred to their motor scooter though no one seems sure.

Tuk-Tuk drivers laughed at us and seemed to find it great fun to see a fleet of Rickshaws loaded with European tourists negotiating the traffic jams.

We were all taking photos furiously but the road surface wasn’t conducive to still photograph due to the Pot holes and rubble that makes up the city streets, so we all took to video which doesn’t really portray the sheer terror of the ride.

NB: Ive put this on You tube so you can take a look. Hope this link works???

We started to splinter as the fitter drivers raced on ahead and the older less able drivers lapsed further and further behind.
When we eventually regrouped I was exhausted from being thrown around but mainly from laughing so much.

It was the best fun you can have with your clothes on which is why it is my Number one activity.