Just a quick recap: on this day I am in the city of Jaipur with my group. In the morning we went to three different places: the Palace of the Winds, the Amber Fort, and the City Palace. Once we finished those, we all went to lunch together. Afterwards, we were released into the city to do whatever we wanted for the next few hours until we all had to meet up again for dinner.
I wanted more than anything to explore the city all by myself and see what I could get into, but our program had a rule about being in groups of no less than three at all times, so me and two other girls went around the city together. We walked pretty far, stopping in at all of the shops along the way. One of the girls with me wanted to buy a Sari, but was extremely bad at haggling (and always paid way too much) so I helped her along the way.
I haggled for her at one shop, and another shop owner heard us and called us into his shop where he gave us lower prices, which I was able to get even lower. While in this shop, the owner’s brother sat and talked with us as we looked at patterns and discussed prices. Once we were done, he told us he owned a jewelry shop a few blocks away, so we walked with him through the city to get to his shop. We stayed there for a while and bought some of his pieces and talked to him. One girl mentioned that she wanted to get henna done, and he told us that his father owned a henna shop! So, he walked us through the streets yet again to his father’s shop.
While there, I talked to the father as another man did the henna for my friends because I didn’t want to get any done on myself. I asked him to tell me about his religion, which was my on-assignment task for the day. It turned out that he was Sikh, which was a religion that I did not know much of anything about, so it was really interesting to learn from him.
After my friends finished their henna, we left the shop and started making our way back to the group’s meeting point, stopping at shops and getting religious stories along the way. Once we met with everyone, they all compared their hennas and the clothes they bought that day, and we then left for dinner. We went to dinner at a place called Anokhi, which was an overpriced cafe that sold a strange mix of western and slightly Indian food. This cafe also had an (also very overpriced) clothing shop attached to it, where we all went to shop after we had finished our food.
We then went back to our hotel to relax for the night, but first I talked to my group leaders because of weird marks I had been finding on my skin. When I showed them, they both got very quiet and told me that it was possible that they were from bedbugs, but not to tell anyone else in the group- who would definitely also all have bedbugs if I did. I was concerned but figured there was nothing I could do about it, so I just swam with everyone else and went on my phone for the first time in a week. I swam until everyone decided to go to bed, and then slept soundly after such a fun, jam-packed day.