Friday, January 8, 2010

Jaipur - city of gems

Well, it was going to be difficult to match the beauty of Udaipur, and unfortunately Jaipur did not. The highlight of my 3 day stay there was a rendezvous with my friend from college, Rachel and her husband Scott. They had hired a tour guide and a driver, so we got to see some sites together in the comfort of an actual car and with a very knowledgeable guide. We hadn't seen each other in over a year and so we had quite a bit of catching up to do. Funny that we used to live less than a mile from each other in LA, and did not see each other nearly enough when we had the chance. When you move 5000 miles away, your perspective changes, I guess. And last night I saw my first Bollywood film called "Three Idiots" which was about 98% in Hindi but it was FANTASTIC. IT was 3 houts long, even had an intermission. All I can say was that it had it all. Love, suicide, some seriously emotional male freindship (tears in almost every scene), dancing, singing, potty humor, an emergency birth on a pong table, and the engineering geek wins out in the end! I was surprised how much we understood. And the audience was roaring.

Another highlight for me personally was the gems. Oh. My. God. The Gems. Jaipur is the world hub for gems, so of course I scouted out several factories and got to see how the serious stuff is made. We're talking 20 karat diamond necklaces, massive door-khocker rings, and some serious artistry. I was in heaven. I'm also smuggling some home in my undergarments. I figure that will distract the authorities from the contraband seeds I got at the farm.

I should never have opened my mouth that I was a jewelry designer because at one point in a 6-hour sitting in one factory, (and after about 7 chai teas) I was surrounded by every diamond dealer in a 10 mile radius. I wasn't even in the buying mood, but this guy called every dealer he knew and before you knew it, I was sifting through bags and bags of diamonds - fancy, marquis, rose cut. Shades of champagne. Lovely. All stunning. While I was there, a Japanese woman who lives in Paris came to pick up her orders - she has a fine jewelry line and it's all made in Jaipur. I wish I had thought ahead about this, but oh well, this just means I'll have to make a buying trip to India.

I arrived in Delhi at 5 am today and will fly out at 10pm tonight. I'm now going to trapse through the bazaars of Delhi and waste away the day. Funny how it's not nearly as intimidating than when I first got here. I've already even given out a bunch of travel info to newbies I ran into at breakfast. I've learned the delhi dance!

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