"Happy Fathers Day, guys" said Bernadette as we ran into her in the hallway on the way to breakfast. Since one day tends to blend into another when you're, you know, shut in a hotel room with two newborns -- and we were especially low on sleep and energy that morning -- we'd forgotten. And no French toast, no mimosas in bed from our self-centered daughters, either.
Still, there's no better way of celebrating Fathers Day than being a father, so that's what we did -- changing diapers, wiping bottoms, bathing squirming infants, preparing bottles. And I thought about my dad, and how excited he would have been to have two new granddaughters to welcome.
My dad was an unsuccessful actor, a semi-successful businessman, but a great father.
Remember when I mentioned he always said that I was eight before he finally convinced my mother that he wouldn't eat me? You know who else is developing the same (overly) protective streak?
"What are you doing??" he yelled from the bedroom when Olivia howled as I changed her diaper in the living room. "You're doing something wrong!"
"Wh.. why are you doing it... why are you doing it like that?" as I bathed as squirming Clara. "You can't just pour water on her to rinse off the soap..."
"Don't you think she should be covered?"
|"You do it like this..."|
"Why are you...?"
"Do you want to give her to me?"
He's relaxing little by little, as he realizes that even though they're small, babies are surprisingly tough creatures. Good thing; he'll have a heart attack when I start encouraging them to do things like climb trees and go rollerblading. I'll save the scuba for when they're teenagers. But what's obvious is that he's jumped into this fatherhood thing with both feet. Happy belated Fathers Day to an amazing new dad.
Speaking of adventures, on Saturday, the day before Fathers Day, Adrián and I, Bernadette and Allie all piled into a minivan for the nearly five-hour journey to Jaipur. Adrián and I skipped Jaipur on our last trip to India, thinking it sounded too touristy and not as interesting as places like Pushkar and Bharatpur. That was a mistake: Jaipur is filled with wonders, including Amber Fort, the City Palace and Jantar Mantar, an observatory built in the 18th century by the maharaja of Jaipur. At least, they looked like wonders as we drove past... our main purpose for the journey to Jaipur was purely commercial. See, Bernadette wanted to shop. Anyway, it was 43 degrees out, and who wants to climb ballustrades when it feels like a sauna?
We shared part of Bernadette's mission: to buy a rug for our house, if we ever finish our construction project. I mean, if we ever start our construction project. So driver Satish took us to a shop with a stamp of approval by the State of Rajasthan where prices are fixed and you're not supposed to bargain, just so we could get an idea of prices at other shops. We looked at a few rugs, they quoted a few prices, we left. As we headed out, one of the salesmen ran out to the car quoting a price on a rug that was $200 dollars less than what we'd been quoted upstairs. So much for not bargaining.
We headed to a store where Bernadette and Avey had had a couple of swanky dresses made two weeks prior, an enormous warehouse of every kind of textile imaginable. We thought we'd just look at a rug or two and head out sightseeing. Then they started plying us with masala chai. I'm a sucker for masala chai. We bought a 6x9 camelhair rug for 350 dollars less than the original asking price, and I felt very proud of myself and my bargaining skills until Bernadette bought a 6x9 silk rug -- which should be more expensive -- for the same price. I had failed. Surely the rug was worth hundreds less than I'd paid... but then the salesman threw in two pashminas and I once again felt shrewd.
The original plan was for us to sightsee while Bernadette and Allie finished shopping for textiles, but we found ourselves pulled into a tailor's showroom, and suddenly we were having shirts custom made... buy six, get one free, who could resist? The end result was a driveby past the iconic Palace of the Winds to snap a quick photo, then hitting the road back to Delhi. The trip seemed longer that our outbound journey -- what, with the 230 kilometers of construction, potholes, broken-down trucks, camel carts, rickshaws and an occasional elephant blocking the road -- but Indian highways are a constant source of entertainment.
|Clara's first photo shoot - passport pictures|
The embassy told us they'd be ready today (normal ones, not emergency), but there's been a delay and we're now told they'll be ready on Friday. We head home on the 27th.
Below -- photos of Jaipur and the journey.
|Elephants off-duty from the trip up to Amber Fort|
|A lone elephant makes the trek down|
|At the Water Palace|
Allie and Bernadette rethink their plan for a fish pedicure later
|Sure, we'll take one|
|Someone's worried she left her credit card at home. Someone's regretting he brought his. And someone's just happy its air conditioned.|
|Not what it appears|
|That's one big bum|
|Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds|
|Our driver Satish spotted sisters-in-law, niece and nephew at the side of the road|