So I ended up in Jaipur, another big city like Delhi (but still not). I was dropped outside the railway station and the traffic was killing me, I had to get away quick.
I just headed straight in between two houses and started walking, instantly shouted at by local people, wanting to bring me there and sell me that. I’ve learned so far to just keep my eyes straight forward, walk with security (not necessarily quick) and to just be polite and short when they talk to me while I’m walking. This works fine.
I went to a Internet spot, figured I might google some good backpacker hangouts. Nothing.
As I walked out on the street, I was greeted by another Indian guy, Zakir. He would bring me to a hostel, and I agreed on the basis that the car ride would be free if I decided to stay on the hostel. He looked at me with a face saying “Who do you think I am? A hustler? A cheating man?”. That’s exactly what I thought…
We took a ride in his car, great car by the way, and the place was just around the corner, literally. We could have walked there within two minutes. He spent a while explaining that his car is everything, and that its “more important than life and wife”. I asked if he was married. “You want to know if I have wife?” he replied. “No are you married to your car, I imagine a big wedding”. He laughed.
He took me to a expensive place (500 rupies), which I declined. I wanted to go down in prices now, down in quality.
We got to a really shitty place, I mean, there was nothing even indicating this was a place to stay (Except some small sign). I felt like turning around and leave, but decided to not judge the book by its cover, and had the owner show me around. There was a English guy sitting in a corner of some dark concrete part of the area, and talking with him gave a lot.
The rooms where OK, and for 300 rupees I got a room with hot water. Trash can and toilet paper was not included. I felt excellent!
Zakir was very eager to follow me wherever i went, and sometimes this was great, he would get down prizes for me in the shops in a way I’ve never seen before. He’d buy stuff with me, and then send me off to the shop and ask myself for prizes. They where always more expensive when I didn’t bring him.
Zakir was also very eager to tell me that he saw me as a “friend and as a brother”. He told me that money is no matter to him, and that I should follow my heart. A good reminder I thought, but I told him. “Zakir I appreciate your words, but they are just that, words. You show me in actions who you are, and in love, and I will trust you.” I think he understood, and actually the only thing I’ve given him so far are cigarettes and beer. For me this is friendship, and not hustling.
The second day I spent here new travellers arrived, from Israel, Germany and the U.S. We all had bear and played a board game (Kerum). Great game! I’ve played it in Thailand before. Its like pool but on a board, and you use your fingers.
Zakir kept taking away the newcomers on “private talks”. I heard the words “friend” and “brother” coming over and over again. It didn’t surprise me… He talked to me several times about the “friend and brother” thing, and once when we had Whiskey he just went loose. “You follow your eyes and your heart sir” (he told me for the tenth time) “and you decide who to trust, you are like friend and like brother to me”.
What he said was true, but for me, when a person tells you ten times to trust him, I loose the trust.
I looked into his eyes, felt with my heart, and decided to not put trust into him, how ironic it may seem….
The owner of the hotel (Liyakat), on the other hand, was a old man, full of joy and age. He put no energy in trying to talk me over, but gave me confident in his smiles when we talked, and good advice when needed. His eyes where shining, and as the days went by he proved to me great honesty, and little to none eager for money. I went down from 300 rupies to 250 rupies in price of my room (moving to one with no hot water).
One evening Zakir wanted another “private chat” which I agreed on. He told me new tourists are coming by train, and they will go by car to try and get them to stay at this hotel. “Help us bring the tourists here, and I will get for you 50 rupees discount”. I gave him a clear “no”, and explained that for me, its important to not give “good advice” to people when you’re actually being paid by someone to give that advice, its just not honest. I realise now that working with advertisement back home, this is exactly what I’ve been doing for 6 years…
Zakir respected me, and they went off. I sat down and had some beer with the German man. One side of me was proud of the fact that I stood up for my honesty, and one side felt that I actually would like to recommend this place to coming travellers, mostly because of the owner. However, going there with the pressure to bring people in, was just not the way.
The next day I went to the train station to get a ticket from Jaipur to Agra (On my way to Veranasi). Standing in line, I could see a group of four travellers, quite confused. I guided them to the “Foreign tourist and freedom fighters” counter, yes, its actually called that. Its a shorter line for tourists to get tickets. I helped them out with the form, realising they where from Russia, and just arrived. They where happy to meet me.
Fifteen minutes later I walked in at the hotel, accompanied by four Russians with big backpacks. I smiled at the owner, and he gave me the biggest smile back. They loved the rooms they got, and everyone was happy. I’m getting free coffee morning time now, that’s a good deal in my way of seeing things.
Jaipur is to big of a city and a bit do hectic for me, so leaving this afternoon will feel good. I’ve spent my days walking a lot, smoking cigarettes, and working my way down in prizes. I’ve gone from 300 rupees western breakfast, to Samosas on the street for 10 rupees each (two of them are enough!).
Nonetheless, its been a good stop, and I’ve spent time with a guy from the U.S called Brad. He’s been travelling with his girlfriend for a few months, and the information I’ve gotten from him is just what I’ve been looking for. Just the feeling of having a good place for Coffee when I arrive in Veranasi is super! The coffee in this country sucks (so far)!