by Melanie Taylor-Saunders
The students remaining behind at Sariska took advantage of their rest day to have a lay-in, relax and get a head start on their presentations. The students in Jaipur woke to a glorious sunrise, made full use of the breakfast buffet and headed out to the Old Walled City. We visited City Palace, The Jantar Mantar Observatory and the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds). All are architecturally stunning. The palaces teem with beautiful halls, courtyards and towers with glorious windows opening onto city views. The observatory is fascinating with a definite sculptural beauty. The streets are vibrant with bright colours, sounds and smells. There are the ubiquitous street dogs, along with cows and we found a colony of large rats, bringing into mind lectures on disease transmission and human-wildlife interface! It’s easy to see how they thrive in cities like this – food is easily come by, and some of the group saw a gentleman making sure the rat that had been given a piece of chapathi was not bothered by the dogs. Chaotic Bapu Bazaar is an assault on the senses but is great to just wander in with alleyways of fabrics, shoes and more. I wished we had a whole day to spend there. A quick sortie was all we had time for before returning to the coach. More shopping was planned, but some road closures diverted us down ‘quite’ a narrow street. Kudos to the driver getting us through some very tight spots! Lunch was in a very posh but affordable vegetarian restaurant – the food was great and in very generous portions. My dosa was enormous and very tasty. The coach had put up a protest at the narrow street and had developed a leak, so a final bout of shopping ensued whilst the poorly coach was fixed. We then headed back to Sariska as the sunset A brilliant weekend break to set us up for the next 10 days of inspiring teaching.