Those extra 2 1/2 hours mattered. We arrived in New Delhi just as I turned 60+1, Manila time. The morning after, I had a birthday candle to blow just before we rolled out towards the pink city of Jaipur. And that was just breakfast time. Sweetness!

IMG_5867-0.JPG

My First Breakfast in India is my Birthday Breakfast!

IMG_5820-0.JPG

And this is my Birthday Lunch in Samode Haveli, a former 16th century royal palace now functioning as luxury boutique hotel with a fine restaurant serving authentic Indican cuisine.

No amount of polluted air, dust and incessant horn-blowing could deprive us of a lovely day. It’s a long drive broken only by a sumptuous lunch in a former palace hemmed in by pomegranate trees. The group counted 16 of us where the average age is pulled down by 3 pretty young ladies who have amazingly acquired a high degree of tolerance towards giggling “young once”. Giggling, and in awe, of this former royal residence not too far  (40 kilometers) from the pink city of Jaipur.  The interiors will floor you, with its display of Mughal and Rajasthani art and architecture. 

IMG_5869.JPG

Pretty Sabrina under the lovely arches counting several hundred years of history. I hear the HBO TV serial adaptation of The Far Pavilions was filmed here.

IMG_5871.JPG

I wonder how old these pomegranate trees are? That’s me enjoying the courtyard gardens — just a tiny square within the entire complex that seems ideal for late afternoon coffee or tea, and a good book to read.

We had to put the rest of Jaipur “on hold” today. Diwali Festival happens tomorrow and dinner was arranged in Diggi Palace. A saree is simply too tempting to buy. Surely, we can forgive ourselves for just dining, wining and shopping today. We had a good preview of the Pink City and we can wait till tomorrow. (Let us off on this one, ok? It’s my birthday!)

IMG_5873.JPG

This patio looking out to the courtyard hemmed in by pomegranate and jasmine trees let that exotic aroma waft in while you comfortably sit yourselves like royalty here.

IMG_5875.JPG

The Master Photographer and his Muse. I’m lucky to have Ernie and Yola Albano in our travel group. Ernie allowed me full access and unlimited authority to use his photos. Surely, I won’t waste that chance.

Sarees, gems, carpet were the order of the day. The bazaar displayed many colors of the beautiful Indian sarees. If only I could learn how to wrap them around me.  (I did learn. Wrapped it in 5 minutes flat. Not exactly perfect, but I just realized I have the aptitude for this. )  Oh, don’t forget the doll gifts from the puppet show I got for my birthday…… and another birthday candle (and some glasses of wine) to blow just as my birthday ended. This time, India time 😄

IMG_5874.JPG

This lovely stairway leads you to the courtyard. I can imagine myself walking , ever so slowly, in my saree of vibrant blue ( I got a pink saree too!) to enjoy some solitude in the gardens.

IMG_5854.JPG

And this is just the BAZAAR! Look at that chandelier, ceiling and balconies. Too exotic for your taste?

Thank you, Chikie and Ernie for some of the photos on this spread. And thanks everyone for celebrating with me.

IMG_5841.JPG

Pretty Joyce beats everyone else in her saree. So resplendent in its shining blue hue.

IMG_5861.JPG

And here are the dolls from the puppet show. The puppeteer kept referring to them as Romeo and Julia.

IMG_6190.JPG

All of 26 1/2 hours to celebrate birthday breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thank you my friends!

Advertisements