Ahh, Jaipur. India's pink city is my favorite city in India, not only for the beautiful buildings and exotic food but because it was the first destination on my tour throughout the country. I will forever associate Jaipur with jet-lag, chai in clay cups, saffron infused almond milk, chains of marigolds and wilting lilies, brightly colored fabric and exotic clothing, mountains of gems in secret basements, private rooftop courtyards where you can watch the chaos of the city; traffic interrupted by cows, camels, donkeys, goats, elephants and motorcycle accidents.
My favorite meal in Jaipur was at a street cafe near my hotel. You don't see white travelers after dark (especially white women travelers), but my male friend and I took a chance, and ended up having quite the adventure. We found ourselves sitting in the garage of a mechanic's shop, surrounded by vintage cars in pristine condition, because that was where the cafe had set up their tables and chairs.
Everyone asked me to take their picture, including a group of schoolchildren below. Everyone wants to share advice and bits of information that you can't find in guidebooks. If you're patient enough to sort out the bad information from the good, you can discover some really amazing things. I was on my way to meet a friend at the Observatory when a man pulled me aside and told me about a secret rooftop accessible by a set of hidden stairs. Sounds sketchy, but it was broad daylight, and I decided to believe him. I'm glad that I did, because it afforded me a beautiful view of the city, which I didn't have to share with anyone else.