after spending most of yesterday resting from the train journey, we went out to day to explore the city. the main thing to see here is the city palace. they call it the “city within a city”, and it really is like it’s own mini city. inside the palace walls, there is a huge courtyard, actually many different courtyards, and there is a bunch of restaurants, museums, etc. the palace museum was really interesting. More than just being a museum showing different objects, the museum was interesting for the fancy rooms that it was housed in. the palace had all sorts of carved doorways, marble columns, and carved windows with different colored glass in the carved parts.
near the palace, there is this famous temple called the jagdish temple. it’s not that big of a temple, but it was still pretty cool to walk around inside it. i took a few photos of it and these monks that i saw walking around.
india is pretty famous for it’s tea, and although most of the tea drank here is chai aka masala tea, they’re also famous for their regular black teas, especially the ones from darjeeling. seeing as we were still near the palace, we decided to have afternoon tea at one of its fancy restaurants. we had to walk through an uber-fancy dining room complete with gigantic sparkly chandeliers to get there and got a seat on comfy chairs next to a window overlooking the non-existant lake. neither the tea nor the scones etc that came with it were as good as the stuff we had back in england when we went for afternoon tea in brighton, but it was still decent. outside the restaurant, important guests would show up to the hotel, and each time someone drove up, their would be a bagpipe band playing to them and a man would rush out w/ a parasol so that the guests wouldnt have any sun on their heads. man, i wonder what you have to pay to get service like that?!
one of the things that caryn and i wanted to do here in india was to take a cooking lesson. i’ve tried several times back home to cook indian food, but it’s always turned out completely wrong somehow. now was my chance of finally learning the secrets of indian cooking. we had seen a small sign advertising cooking lessons, so we went there and enquired about them. it turned out that this guy’s brother was the one who would give the lessons. 13$ each for a few hours worth of lessons.
we were a bit skeptical at first. how good would these lessons be? did this guy really know what he was doing? since this lesson was at this guy’s home, would we really get a chance to participate in the cooking? or would we just watch as he cooked (kinda pointless)? should we maybe just wait and try to do this somewhere else in a place that was reputable and had nice facilities? well, in the end we agreed to do it, and that night we went over to the guy’s house for the lessons.
despite our concerns, the lesson was actually really good. he taught us all sorts of stuff: how to make a good curry sauce, how to make indian bread out of chickpea flour, how to make daal (lentils), and how to make vegetable pakora (vegetables with a spiced batter around them that is deep fried). everything that we made was utterly delicious, and we ended up really learning a lot. it was kind of trippy that the lesson was just in this guy’s home. we just cooked on this tiny two burner stove that was hooked up to a huge propane tank. the guy’s wife, mother, and children would come in from time to time bringing ingredients. everyone was extremely nice. the only problem was that seeing as the stove was so small, there really was only room for one person to cook at a time, so caryn and i had to trade off on who got to cook and who watched, but other than that we had a really good time. we tried to frantically scribble down notes as to what ingredients he was using and how to make stuff, but unfortunately, i think we didnt get most of it down. oh well though…. even if we dont know the recipes, at least we learned some basics. it’s definitely a start!