As we waited for our driver to come, my friend Drew and I decided to get a couple drinks at the hotel restaurant before our Jaipur excursion began. Whiskey on the rocks for me please, and make it a double! Aaaahh.. delish and always gets the job done!
Our driver’s name was Shankar. His English was limited but it was good enough for us to communicate. He was very friendly and informative and mentioned that he knew all of the great spots for photos. (Well isn’t that just perfect??) First destination he drove us to was Panna Meena ka Kund. Uhhh….. Whatttttttttt???? I couldn’t believe my eyes! It reminded me of the movie Labyrinth or looking at a live video game! I was absolutely stunned at the site! Panna Meena ka Kund is a historical step-well built in the 16th century and was made into a community gathering area. It was a place where people would come for water, take a dip, chat with a neighbor, or just to relax. It was great for visitors especially during the scorching summer months because the water of the kund keeps the place cool. I think I spent wayyy too much time taking photos here but I couldn’t help it because I was totally amazed by this structure.
After some time, Shankar looked down into the well and summoned for us to leave. When we got up, the guard said that we owed him some rupee (Indian currency) for our stay. Shankar informed us that normally there’s no fee but because we stayed so long, he decided to charge us. (Yea, we took wayy too long! Haha) As we left, I was so pumped! I always get excited when I know that I’ve captured an epic photo, especially at such an unseen location. So I couldn’t wait to see our main site, Amer Fort!
When we got in the car, Shankar persuaded us to check out some textiles and scarfs before we went to Amer Fort. I think Drew knew that he was trying to take us shopping so he could make commission off the drive, but I had no idea. I wasn’t aware of this until AFTER I bought a probably way overpriced pashmina (scarf). Haha
**So friends, a word of warning, just be careful because these drivers may take you to shops that will majorly hike up prices because you don’t know any better, to make extra cash. (Raising my hand) You can call me victim number 3,674. 🙂
After that little detour, Shankar asked Drew and me if we wanted to do more shopping. We both looked at each other and simultaneously said, “No, no more.” So he finally drove us to our destination.
We arrived at Amer Fort and it was out of this world!! Just take a look at all these photos!
There were even some locals asking to take selfies and pictures with me. (With all of my travels, I notice that this happens very often. I really don’t get surprised anymore when they ask. I think it’s because they don’t see Vietnamese women often?) Whatever the case may be, I don’t mind. I think it’s cute!
My favorite picture of them all from Amer Fort, is this one! I just adore the details of the structure.
As Drew and I were walking out, we got slightly lost because it was a bit of a maze coming in. A security guard walked up to us and told us to follow him out. I thought it was strange because he kept leading us up the stairs when I knew that the way to go out had to be down. He lead us to the roof which then he showed us an area with a great photo op. He took a few pictures for us then put his hand out for a tip. Like I had mentioned earlier, they are going to try to get money whenever it’s possible so just be mindful of that. Then, he asked for a selfie with us. As I had stated, I get asked this question quite often when I travel so I really didn’t think anything of it. I agreed but when he got closer and leaned in further, I felt something touch me down there.. yes, down there as in my private parts. I looked down as I saw his pinky finger reaching towards me, I was so shocked, I immediately FROZE. I didn’t know what to do or say. For those 4 seconds of confusion, I was just weak. After a few moments, I finally came back to, and everything clicked. I realized what had just happened to me. Drew and I were still following this man out to the exit but I couldn’t say a word. My mind was running 1000 MPH but nothing would come out of my mouth. As much as I wanted to say something, I didn’t because I didn’t want to make a big scene. If I told Drew, I knew that he would get veryyy upset and he would probably do something. Did I want that to happen? Would it cause a huge ruckus and make matters worse? I know that what happened to me isn’t right and I probably should have said something but I had to weigh the outcomes. If I said something, to be honest, I don’t think my accusations would have been justified anyways so I feel like I made the right decision to bite the bullet this time around.
To my lovely ladies, this is my #metoo moment. I really hesitated on sharing this because this is not what your typical travel blogger would write about but I feel that this is very important. I’m here to not only share the beautiful moments I experience with my travels, but also to be candid with all the bad things I encounter as well. I’ve been meeting more and more solo female travelers so it’s vital that we help each other to know what to do in these instances. I can confidently say that if I was back at home in the states and something like this happened to me, I would stand up for myself and say something (possibly even slap the guy) right then and there. But I was in India, a third world country where I can’t speak the language and have no idea about the laws. I just didn’t want any trouble. I’m not sharing this to tell you to just walk away when someone mistreats you and invades your space, but I’m sharing this to remind you to be mindful of your surroundings at ALL TIMES. Some of you might think I’ve handled it wrong and others might agree with me. But what I’ve realized is that we all have our own ways of dealing with certain issues so I’m just here to bring awareness that you are not alone. And I hope you know that walking away doesn’t always mean you’re weak, it can also mean that you’re strong!
Prior to coming to India, I read some articles that said rape has recently been a lot more prevalent. I also even heard from a friend of a friend who is Indian that she won’t even visit because she heard about the rape statistics. To be honest, anywhere you go, there’s going to be bad people who are out there to harm/hurt you, so you just have to be careful that’s all. I’m not going to let one horrible man’s behavior decide how I feel about a whole country. Other than this one unjust incident, the locals have been nothing but kind and welcoming.
If you think I’m taking this lightly, I just wanted to let you know that I’m not. It wasn’t right what happened to me but I’m just not one to dwell on things I don’t have control over. It’s just one of those lessons that NOW I know to be extra EXTRA careful of my surroundings at all times.
Please join me next week as the extravagant parties in Jaipur begin!