Liz and I have always said “if it’s good enough for the locals, it’s good enough for us”. Once s/y ‘Full Flight’ and ourselves filled the boat’s water tanks up from a lorry off a dusty dock in Massawa, Eritrea. Whilst the other boat owners looked on in horror, the locals just said “well we drink it”. Of course traipsing the dark back streets of Jaipur in Rajasthan is thirsty work, so these communal drinking taps are a god-send.
When we last left you we’d taken advantage of some holy Jaipurian urinals. Now we cross the street and go check out the rather ornate Jaipur City Palace, the Hawa Mahal (where women could see but not be seen) and mingle with monkeys and elephants. In amongst more wee spots we sample a refreshing beetroot drink and then round the day off with some good old fashioned police brutality.
As a precursor to our Jaipur blog posts I thought I’d post this portrait up of a young man washing outside his home, illustrating the lack of running water in the backstreets of Jaipur. This sight is not uncommon in India, despite its fast-growing economy.
With Liz being short-listed for another writing competition this week we thought we’d start off our Rajasthan series with one of her latest entries, which we’ve also made available for the iPad and Kindle. Beautifully written, this pulls together a number of themes set in Jaipur, Jodpur and Agra (Taj Mahal), the classic traveller trail called The Golden Triangle. The central story, however, concentrates on a remarkable man we met whilst in Jaipur whose quest to empower women from the lowest castes affected us deeply. Setting the scene for the next few blog posts this is moving, brutal yet ultimately uplifting. It is, in my opinion, Liz’s best non-fiction writing to date.