The Pink Stink

And here’s George’s take on Jaipur:

Why does Jaipur smell like urine? From the moment we got off the train in Jaipur to the moment we left on a night train in Jaipur the smell of urine was everywhere.  I’m not talking about a little smelly toilet where someone had bad aim.  No, this is all out, call the hazmat team, drowning in urine (and who knows what else) smell everywhere!!  As a note, so I don’t offend all citizens of Jaipur, I am strictly writing about the touristy area from the train station and most of the old city area where all the buildings are painted a pinkish color.

“I hate the north … Everywhere smells like urine!” – Sumathi, Bangalore guest house owner

As soon as you exit the train station you are hounded by legions of rickshaw and cyclo (bike rickshaws) drivers wanting your tourist rupee.  The problem is the smell is so bad that you don’t even want to get in one of the vehicles because people are pissing everywhere and some of the drivers even have the stench on them.  An older cyclo driver approached us and he looked like he really needed our business more than most and since he was the eco-friendly bike driver type we tried to make a deal with him.  Too bad his friend came over to try and swindle us for about double what the going rate was. It was 6:30am and most tourists are too tired to argue with these drivers and usually give in, but not us, cause I’m not a morning person and someone trying to rip us off just made me angry and we started to walk.  I felt bad for the guy who we were trying to hire, but his friend ruined it for him, and did I mention that stench in the air?

So we are walking down the main street and the stench doesn’t get any better and we really don’t know where we are going so we give in and hire a regular rickshaw for 20 rupees to take us to a cafe that Heidi had found in the Lonely Planet, the Peacock Rooftop Restaurant at the Pearl Palace Hotel. Surprisingly, this hotel and restaurant appeared to be an oasis from the chaotic and stinky town.  In fact, the entire street was nice and quite.  The food is supposed to be good here, but we only ordered some fruit, so we can’t make a good argument for or against this place, but it does have a good view of the city from the rooftop restaurant.

After breakfast we headed out on foot towards the old city wall where all the attractions are located.  The distance was about 2 kilometers.  As soon as we reached the main road we were back in the stench as there was a guy standing against the wall of a building relieving himself.  What is the problem here?  Are there no toilets and does every wall look like a fire hydrant? Actually, there are a few public urinals along MI Rd and the smell is several times worse when you approach one of these.  Better bring a mask to protect yourself!  To add to the problem there are many cows on the main street as well and they are pooping and pissing everywhere, too.  I guess they figure it’s okay if the humans are doing it!

From the main entrance to the old city, the City Palace entrance, to the buzzing bazaars along many of the crowded streets the smell never leaves.  I am very confused by this because since I have been in India, I have not had to pee.  I’m not saying that I haven’t urinated, I just haven’t had the urge.  Why?  It is extremely hot and dry in the north, and even though we are drinking more fluids because of the heat, it appears that we are sweating it all out.  So in India, I never have to pee and I am not alone.  It may seem strange, but I have asked many other travelers and they also concur.  So I ask the question again … Why does Jaipur smell like urine?

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