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Welcome to the Pink City

Today we made the journey from Delhi to Jaipur, which is about a 5-6 hour drive. Jaipur is known as the Pink City since the walls surrounding the inner city and the buildings within are all a pinkish color. We are staying in Jas Vilas, which is absolutely the cutest hotel I’ve ever stayed in! Everything is in bloom here and there are so many flowers around the courtyards and pool that our rooms overlook. I’m fairly certain we are the only guests staying here right now, since it is the off season (turns out 110+ degree weather isn't so appealing to most tourists). When we arrived there were painters retouching the intricate flower borders on the ceiling. All the rooms and hallways also have these hand painted flowers! After settling in we ate some lunch in the hotel dining room, which was so good!!! We also met our tour guide, Dependra, who was also our tour guide last year! After lunch we made our first excursion into the city. Dependra said you don't need to book a safari here since you will see dogs, goats, cows, donkeys, camels, and even elephants in the streets of the city! We saw Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of the Winds, which was built so royal women could see festivals taking place on the street in privacy. It is a large wall with many small screens and windows and an icon of the city. On the same street there is a lot of shopping and we spent quite some time searching for wall coverings, jewelry, shirts, and more. The shop owners are pushy, and some inflated the prices up to 5 times what we would pay at another store since we were obviously not from here. But we were able to have a great experience and found many treasures to wear and bring home. Next we went to Jantar Mantar, an observatory built in the 1700s. Here one can find the world’s largest sundial! Once it got dark the site turned into a theater, and the story of Jantar Mantar was told with a beautiful light show. Following the showing we went to dinner at a restaurant called Indiana... We were outside and there were performers there to entertain the group, they even pulled Gabi, Michaella, Allison, Emily, and Yiming from the table to dance with them! The performers wore brightly colored skirts and tops and had bells on their ankles. One danced while balancing 7 pots on her head - and the top one was on fire! We made it back late to the hotel and some of us went for a swim in the pool. Tomorrow we will make a second excursion into the city to see the City Palace, Amer Fort, and more!

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