Wednesday, November 2
Location: Down some back alley in the old city section of Jaipur, Rajakstan
After spending 2 days in the heat seeing the sights and amazing forts around Jaipur my throat was thirsty for a refreshing chai. For some reason restaurants are hard to find in the city and for the two previous days I had to settle for banana and saffron lassies to satisfy my thirst but on Sunday night we found a pleasant chai shop tucked up a brightly lit back alley. The streets and the atmosphere in Jaipur were incredible with diwali, the festival of lights and firecrackers creating a Christmas like spirit. As we sought refuge from the masses scurrying to buy up gifts for relatives and a main street to rival Vegas we wandered up a back alley and stumbled upon a quiet chai shop. Just sitting was a relief and when the chai chef showed some flair pouring from an old steel kettle a meter about the glasses it was clear that he was a professional.
The chai itself was not too sweet but made with very thick milk leaving a sticky feeling of eating too much peanut butter in the mouth. The subtle cardamom undertones seemed to suit the desert climate and celebratory atmosphere outside while the thickness drew me in and relaxed my aching flip-flop clad feet. The chai failed to really capture the Middle Eastern feel of Jaipur however and didn’t bring to mind images of the Aladdin like forts we’d been seeing for the last two days the way I had hoped. So as we got up to head back out to the street and the fire crackers I felt refreshed but needing more of the atmosphere of Jaipur at diwali.
PS. In case you were worried I’m fine but my thoughts go out to those hurt and killed in Delhi over the weekend.