After a long day touring Jaipur our driver Vinod and the guide for the day Amit said Rajasthan Tours had a surprise for us. We only knew it was high tea. They drove and drove then made a right turn into a driveway where the two Sikh gatemen in uniform opend the wrought iron gates and as we drove in the sign said Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel. Were talking 5+ stars here. We were greeted at the front door by four people, two staff members, one who anointed our foreheads with the red dot meaning welcome and the second staff member put flower garlands around our necks. The other two guys were managers of Rajasthan Tours whose headquarters are in the hotel. We had high tea out on the lawn. Indian bone china, silverware and the tiered trays were sterling. At the edge of the lawn area was a retaining wall and beyond that was more lawn over acres of land, manicured with gardens, fountains and a herd of peacocks. Got a slight look at how the 1%ers live. Kuldeep Rathore, Rajasthan Tours asst. mgr. said rooms for New Years Eve started at $1,300 USD.
Crazy and wonderful evening. With the exception of our room and one other room, the whole hotel was booked by the same extended family who meet every year for a New Years Eve reunion. They were from USA, Canada, Australia and India. As the outsiders, we were warmly embraced by all members who wondered who we were. Guess they thought we were new in-laws since a few members were Anglo. A group of really beautiful women. Amazing how many have lived in California. One girl attended the Athenian School in Danville. Had a great time, gratis on the hotel, including a hosted bar and heavy appetizers (dinner). Danced till midnight to India techno beat. Like a rave.
That morning we met the guy in the other room which was not a family member. Arun Singh lives in Raleigh Durham NC and is the CEO of an information technology co. He immigrated to US in 1983. In chatting this morning he mentioned that his father had been governor of Rajasthan. Later this evening he came up to us and introduced us to his 2 college aged sons. The three of them had had lunch at the royal palace with the king of Rajasthan. How cool!
All in all, had to go down as the most memorable New Years Eve ever. We left after midnight but the party continues under our room. Indian techno until 5 AM. Think we will sleep through it.