|Ah Jaipur. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I guess I really have lost my force field. First the bike accident, now the riff-raff of Jaipur. It all happened at the Amber Fort. Which if it weren't for the assault, would have been a very nice visit. Here's how it all went down. Brad and our tour guide, Mr. Sharma (no relation to Mr. A. K. Sharma of the NY Consulate), were around the corner taking a picture of me from across a courtyard. I was standing in the window where the ladies stand. But there was a labyrinth of walls because this area used to be the harem so all the routes led to different rooms. As I was walking back to meet Brad and the guide two young boys (age 17 or 18 maybe) blocked my way. Then one of them grabbed me by the arm and tried to pull me towards him into one of the various rooms. I pulled away but not without getting a big scratch on my arm. (It's gone now but I still have the mark from the bike incident.) I screamed of course and called Brad and our guide. This was the first time we had paid for a guide (the Lonely Planet had suggested it because of the maze of rooms) and he went into overdrive. He yelled in Hindi for the police and they came running from nowhere. One boy got caught right away but the other managed to escape. All of us, the police, guide, bad boy, Brad and me went outside the fort to wait for the other boy. There also gathered a small crowd of onlookers, young boys who were probably up to the same no-good and loads of police just eager to make the catch of the day. Sure enough within half an hour the other boy came wandering out pretending to be a tourist. (These boys weren't too bright.) Young Indian boys do not go sightseeing for fun, they go for adventure. I recognized him right away and a policeman was slapping him across the face and grabbing him by the ear in no time! We all went to a small office where we awaited the official town police. When he arrived he also smacked the boys hard in the face and gave them huge whacks on the back of the head. The one boy tried to claim he wasn't involved and even though I don't speak Hindi, I know all the police were telling him he knew exactly what he was doing hanging out with that riff-raff. The other boy didn't say a single word in his defense. I wrote up a statement explaining what happened (not sure who will read it, only our guide spoke English.) Our guide asked me what punishment I wanted for them. Ooh, not my job. I'll leave that one for the police. But according to our guide, punishment could be anywhere between 3 months and 3 years! I'm sure there is more whacking and smacking to be done as well. The whole incident got me a bit shook up but I'm sure I faired better than those guys did. Lets see, now I have had host nationals arrested in Nicaragua, Peru and now India... Some more interesting thoughts on India though: Did I mention the cold? Delhi has it a 70 year all time low! And kite flying is a huge pastime here, colorful squares of paper can be seen high up in the sky or tangled in one of the innumerable power lines. Dogs seem to sleep very soundly in the middle of the day but like to test their lungs in the middle of the night! While men and women don't show affection in public, men do. They often walk with their arms around each other or holding hands. If you visit any fort however, you will see many young men and women sneaking a romantic moment behind a pillar. I should also add that aside from this incident, Brad and I have both felt very safe here and compared to Africa and Latin America, there is much less bothering of tourists.