Day 8- Jaipur/Delhi/Beijing
This was the only sleep in all trip- sing hallelujah! We didn't have to leave the hotel till 11am so nice to mill casually around after what I hope to be the last buffet I see in sometime!
We made our way to the markets closest the city palace, and the locals were shopping here too so felt quite authentic. I had over the last couple of days built the courage for road crossings and worked out to use my hand to halt traffic...as if the pure fear on my face wasn't a visual plead to stop though really?
I was disappointed by the markets though, it wasn't really what I was expecting, more shop to shop like. We bucked our guides options and made our way back to some local stalls along the city palace walls we had seen - and let the bartering begin!
I'm first to say I am a terrible barterer, and have never really enjoyed it - but popped my big girl pants on because here I could see a few things I hadn't seen before, hence wanted! A couple of us quizzed the hotel staff the day before to get the bartering 'rules' for India and I had finally installed a quick formula for currency conversion in my head, I was ready, in fact I have already written a few clue sheets for 'tourist trading' in China and India to share with my gorgeous clients when they book with me!
I had a bit of fun bartering (so much so I forgot to take pictures!) and picking up the gifts I wanted to, rank advancement from beginner to professional! The nerd in me was actually absolutely amazed when dissecting the sales process of the shop keeper I bought the most from, they truly are masters at what they do.
Our guide caught up to us and took us to a very popular and well known local restaurant for lunch, hands down best butter chicken I've had the whole time. Not only were the staff amazing in the kitchen and at the table, but they rescued a phone and wallet left in a bag hanging on the front fence by a young fledgling travel consultant, she was the luckiest person in all of India that day!
Then began the 6 hour drive to Delhi (enjoying our last road side pass by a partying pilgrimage) with thankfully one pit stop as my new Indian husband Bob and I enjoyed a few last Kingfishers on the way- will be certainly looking those up in Dan Murphy's on my return. Definitely the best lager to enjoy with your Indian meal!
Upon checking in with Air China a few of us were offered to upgrade to premium economy for an additional $70 - music to our ears after the hands down the most uncomfortable flight to Delhi. Tara and I got bulkhead seats which were amazing! A must definite 'no thank you' to the Chinese porridge breakfast option (offered just after 2:50am take off?!) and some sought after sleep ensued! We then took the paid lounge option and didn't regret that either!
I said goodbye to my new friends on arrival in Beijing and had some time to burn before the next hotel shuttle, so had a hot date with a cheesy crust pizza at the airport - it'll be a while before I hit the curry and Chinese cook up scene again! Interestingly I had a much better experience in the 72 hour free transit visa queue, so was very relieved!
I had booked an airport hotel that was 1/3 of the cost of the brand names closer by, so was a little nervous about it. It literally cost me $67 for a night with transfers - bargain! On arrival it was clear Air China use it for their attendants so I felt better about it. The room was basic, but clean and quiet. Most importantly the bed was much more comfortable than at the Chang An and I got some well earned sleep.
Back to Beijing Airport of which I feel really confident in being through a few times, and home again home again, jiggety jig!
Thanks for following along with me, I feel incredibly lucky to have enjoyed two of the seven new wonders of the world in the same trip! Looking forward to catching up after I squeeze my little family followed by inhaling a quarter pounder!