Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shopping in Jiapur “Oh no, that’s way too much. You give me your best price!”

It was a slow start to the morning, primarily because it was raining and we knew things would be on hold. This morning we were due to visit the Amber Fort which is one hill somewhere, usually visible but definitely not today. So, instead of doing that we went shopping at a fabric/Sari/Pashmina/bed cover/clothing/wall hanging/pyjama/clothing made to order shop. The shop workers are quite shrewd and it is one on one with the customer so that we could not compare prices with one another and drive the prices down. They are also very good sales people who didn’t let up. If you show a slightest hint of interest in something they will pounce and you have to be good to not buy it. We had been forewarned that we would be attending a wedding in the days to come so many chose here to get something made especially for the occasion including me. It was a bit weird being measured up and I am not sure if all the measurements were actually required but the important thing was that it would fit when it was made. Unfortunately for me I also showed a “slight” interest in a pashmina which ultimately led to me buying it (didn’t really need it). I retreated from my salesperson (phew) and waited with the guys who were taking advantage of the free wi-fi to catch up on news and emails. Eventually, everyone stopped buying and we headed off to a jewellery wholesaler. After a demonstration on how to polish jemstones we were let loose in the store. At this place I showed no interest in buying but rather sat back and chatted with those who were also not shopping. Others, though had a field day but overall I think the fabric place was the winner as far as purchases went.
We had lunch at a place that was named by three letters but I can’t remember them but the food there was quite different from the curries that we had become accustomed to. One of the difficulties with eating in India is that the menus are huge. There is often a choice of Italian (pizza and pasta), thai (stir fry) and then the Indian. It can take some time to get through the menu and then there is interpreting what you are trying to order. I had two samosa’s and a potato cake. The potato cake was quite spicy, not hot, just spicy if that makes sense. I only managed one of the samosa’s and managed to give the other one away (phew).
Palace of the Winds. A good landmark to find your way home
 After lunch we were let loose on the shops. Elisca and I quietly and steadily made our way down the street and down some back alleys. For some reason I brought a Sari for 300 rupees (a whole $6.80), some flip flops to go with the top that was being made for the wedding (200 rupees) and a another pair of flip flops to go with my jeans (275 rupees).
Road side saleman with the usual array of bangles
 There is a bit of a story about the sari because I saw it while we were down a back alley and then after several more turns in the maze decided that I wanted it. In order to find it again we had to head out to the street and retrace our steps. This may seem simple but do you think we could find the shop...nope. Eventually, I found what I thought was the shop and eureka, the sales person pulls out the sari I wanted. He had moved it from the pile that I saw the first time which led to my confusion. That alleyway didn’t smell that good either. Elisca proved to be a good haggler and the phrase “oh no, that’s way too much” was used with great effectiveness to her advantage and mine. After slowly making our way back to the hotel (which took 5 hours) we arrived with our shopping. Some of the other girls said that they had had issues with men touching them and if I remember right some got followed back to the hotel. We had none of these issues and totally enjoyed ourselves.
On the way to the sari shop for the second time. Down this alley, turn left, then right, then left, then left again and third shop on the left. Seems so easy now. Getting out of here was another story

Main street
 We went around the corner from the hotel for dinner, listened to some local music and watched a couple of women dance with pots balancing on their heads which would take a bit of skill.
She never looked happy
While at dinner, our wedding costumes arrived. Once we got back to the hotel there was a bit of a fashion parade in our room for us girls and I must say Jackie looked good in her Christmas inspired clothes. Thankfully they all fitted amidst a lot of laughing (mainly at Jackie).

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