July 5, 2012. Jaipur
Wow, so right at 8pm the power went out. This is not unusual as the power goes out several times per day, but this is the first time I think it's caught me at night. And it got really dark. I guess I've noticed that it does get darker earlier here, and I've heard that about the lower latitudes, but it seemed darker tonight than usual. With the power out noises become louder. They're not drowned out by the ac and the tv, if that's on. Tonight though the noises weren't just kids playing, motorcycle engines, and car horns, but strong wind. The past couple of nights there's been some wind storms, getting people excited that rain might come, but no rain had. Until tonight.
In the dark I moved over to the nightstand for my flashlight. Thankfully I'd listened to the curses I'd put upon myself for not always putting things back in the same place. Digression: When traveling, habitual behavior can be good. Even if you find a better place for your nail clippers than where you've been keeping them, don't move them to that better place. Where your hand knows to go unconsciously is the best place to find a thing. You'll always know where to find what you're looking for and you'll always be able to do a quick check, if you're like me and worry that someone's gotten into your money or passport.
So I got my small hand crank flashlight (thanks, Uncle Louis) and unbolted the French doors of the hotel room. The past two places I've stayed at have had heavy sliding bolts with hasps and padlocks rather than deadbolts. The wind assisted in opening the doors it was so strong. The hall that my room is on is open to the air facing east. As I stepped to the open side of the hall, I could feel rain drops on my arms. Lightning was strobing behind the clouds. I closed and locked the doors behind me and carefully made my way down the hall. As beautiful as marble is, I'd learned in Macedonia, that when wet is is as slippery as ice. I always thought marble was elegant and a symbol of wealth and power, isn't that why we use it in our banks and government buildings in the US? But what I maybe associate with the old
So I was going to write all eloquently about how the monsoon arrived turning off the power, the slap and splash of the long awaited rain, the candle that a hotel boy brought me in the dark, etc., but holy crap is it raining here. I can't imagine what is happening to the streets. I imagine there are flash floods rushing down the hillsides of Jaipur. I hope to god this does something for the smell of urine.
July 6, 2012. Jaipur
I talked to a merchant don't the street from my hotel. I asked him about the rain. He said it came down the street in a wave and rose up the the third step of his store. I had wondered where all the water would go. Duh. To the Water Palace. That is a Rajput palace built on a lake to the north of the city of Jaipur. It seems there was never a lack of labor and stone to pursue the untouchable palace for the lord of the manor. Once up on a mountain. When that wasn't good enough, a walled fort on the peak of a mountain. And that wasn't enough, a palace in the middle of the lake. Guess the British took care of that though.
At any rate, the rain was welcomed by the citizens of Jaipur. I just couldn't believe the humidity that followed...and the sludge that must've washed down hill and covered the streets. Wow.