We've been calling Jaipur home for the last two weeks, on one of the longest stays in the same city on our trip. Jaipur is known for its textiles, and it has not disappointed. I came to India to research new designs, but also to source new products and suppliers, and Jaipur has had more to offer than I could ever bring back. I have been collecting some antique pieces that will be available as soon as we get back in April (sneak peek coming tomorrow), as well as some exciting new products that will debut at the National Stationery Show in May.
When we aren't sitting in textile shops, we've been walking around the Old City and exploring Jaipur. We've had a love/hate relationship with Jaipur on this trip; I was here for a month in 2007 to study block printing, but this time around it has been completely different. Jaipur sees a lot of tourists just here for a day or two, so people have been shocked to hear that we are here for more than two weeks.
The huge tourist crowds have led a lot of people to see foreigners as walking dollar signs, and some people will do anything to get you into their shop. The most elaborate scam we have encountered was a man who spent an hour talking to us and told at least ten bold-faced lies (including the fact that his friend didn't own a gem shop) to get us into his friend's gem shop. Then on the other end of the spectrum are the friendliest people you could meet, like our rickshaw driver who invited us to come over to his house to meet his entire family and eat sweets, where we spent the evening trying to communicate with his 75 year old grandmother who spoke no English.
Jaipur is a city of polar opposites, and depending on the day we have loved and hated it, but either way we have seen some amazing things. Some days I want to stay forever, and other days I just want to pack up and go home, but I suppose that is the nature of travel and I know I will be back to Jaipur again.