A Travellerspoint blog

The Old Lady

sunny 25 °C
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So we started the camel trek at one of the villages in the desert. We were invited into one of the guide's houses for tea. It was made by either his mother or wife and then this old lady delivered it to us, and sat and watched as Carolyn and I drank ours on the rooftop. She gestured to ask if I wanted to take a few pictures of her. I did so and then showed them to her. She kept smiling at me. When we left, she grabbed my arm and put her arms on me and smiled. She looked at my Bushman-made necknacle, touched my shoulders and squeezed. It was a strange, but beautiful moment.

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Posted by JayneHol 02:33 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Jaisalmer and Mr India

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So The Unnamed was far more pleasant than expected. Actually, it was surprisingly nice, except for the fact that our bathroom was joined to the general toilet, separated only by a mesh window. This meant 6am ablution sound effects and de-phlegming. It could have been worse.

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Yesterday morning was spent pottering around the fort and shopping for a few things once we knew what to pay. On the way home, we were asked by some kids for "photo photo." This usually means that we take the photo of them and then we pay. This should generally be ignored, except that the little kids were standing next to a newborn calf and Grandma insisted her grandchildren be photographed next to it. So they were. After the ecstatic kids had shown the entire household their portrait, Grandma wanted her picture taken. And then so did The Mom. And so did The Family together. I was all too happy to oblige even if I did have to pay- photos of the women in their luminous saris is all I want and they are not easy to take without feeling like I've completed violated someone's privacy, space and even culture. But this family did not want any money. We were instead invited for chai. We'll go over there today after attempting to get their photos printed somewhere. How exciting!

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From lunch time we went on a camel safari. It's obviously completely indiscreetly "Tourist", but isn't that what I am? Regardless, it was only me, Carolyn and 3 guides and it was great. Well, the camping experience, the food, and the singing were, but I'm a little undecided about the actual camel ride. When your bum is made up of 20% blubber and 80% bone, it's not the most comfortable experience. I attempted to meditate myself into relaxation and enjoy the lopsided ride on the back of Mr India. I believe Mr India and I bonded.

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We were cooked an excellent meal, consisting of a starter of Pakora and a vegetable curry main. Pakora are potato slices with a curried dough crust that gets deep fried- a delicious camping snack. I am determined to replicate them at home...a homeage to the Thar desert in Rajasthan when I'm next at Beaverlac perhaps?

Anyway, our guides sang for us after dinner, which was cool. They were songs of impossible love, weddings and sadness. This resulted in our being invited to one of our guides weddings when it happens in a couple or few years time. He first needs to save up some (a lot) of money and also wait for his bride-to-be to get a bit older. The story reminded me of the book, Red Tent.

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Despite a brillaint night under the northern celestial sphere, I seem to have developed Plane Virus. I'm bleak. This seems to happen to me after every long flight. I'd prefer it if people who are remotely cold-virused get banned from flying.

We're back a little stiff. I had to say goodbye to Mr India and his constant loud chewing. It was a slightly sad moment.

Photos to follow after we are given a room again, have showered, had tea with the family down the road and have managed to find a way to resize photos and upload videos.

Apologies for spelling errors- this keyboard is about as reliable as the other computer's bouncing screen.

Posted by JayneHol 22:13 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Getting to Jaisalmer

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I believe we’re on day 3. My last 2 blog entries have not been able to be uploaded because of a failure in the connection at the internet café.

We have a driver for the trip from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer. We’re travelling via Osian and got taken to 2 temples there. We’re now in for a good few hours of travelling through the desert. So far, it’s been quite pleasant. Despite the driver’s refusal to let me buy snacks in Osian and the fact that the Desert Café attempted to sell us bottled tap water (I’m wise though), this could be quite relaxing. I’m glad I developed an appreciation for Lotus FM some time prior to this trip because our driver is playing some wonderful Indian tunes. I find it adds to the whole experience and is remarkably therapeutic.

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The sadness at leaving is partly due to my fear of inevitable train trips and losing my bag, despite its 15 redundant clothing items, but mostly because we got invited to a wedding earlier. A western couple are getting married today- Indian style- and needed some guests in the absence of friends or relatives. I could even have been a bridesmaid and worn one of the saris I purchased. Oh well. I guess there must be some other small purposes out there for me...like outwitting DB-conspirers.

We finally have a working sim card and plug. The plug is a forced combination of 3 separate entities- more like a fusion of 4 continents into 3 electrical devices. It works though and we are now able to charge the Travel Companion (the notebook), which is vital because otherwise I’d be staring out the window at the repetitive, dry scenery. It looks like the Northern Cape, but with Indian road signs.

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If I had a choice, I’d use a driver the entire trip. Airports aren’t my friends here and train trips evoke a subtle fear inside me that admittedly has less to do with the loss of my heavy bag and more to do with the possibility of have DB on a train trip and needing to squat in the process. I’m not a natural squatter. I concentrate more on trying to keep the bottom of my pants dry than anything else. My legs aren’t particularly attuned to it either, but that’s likely because I squat too high to avoid being anywhere near the toilet seat.

My favourite things so far are the music and the women in their bright and shiny saris. Just now, we passed some women sitting together in the sand next to the road. They were illuminated. I’m starting to feel dull and identity-less in my regular jeans and black tops.

We have arrived. It’s dry, but beautiful in a dry-Indian-place kinda way. We have no room, so are getting shifted to a windowless place down the road that sounds suspiciously not like a guesthouse at all. This place would have been nice. We’re sitting on the rooftop drinking a shandy and coming to terms with departing for The Unnamed. (Silent prayer for the toilet situation.)

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Regardless, being a bit of a nomad, one shouldn’t get too attached to the ideas of things. For all we know, it could pan out brilliantly, with or without windows, hot water and a western loo…

Posted by JayneHol 03:33 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Jodhpur and Arrival Revisited

sunny 23 °C
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This is going to be backwards because the first entry is sitting on the laptop in the room next door. I do not feel like fetching it, so we'll start on day 2. Day 1 was terrible anyway. It was mostly spent in airports. Many long hours in airports and no sleep. We weren't allowed to leave the airport once we were in either. I kind of get it, but choose not to. A quick visit to a Dehli market would have been nice. But we sat in chairs and changed chairs about 5 times. I'm not sure why- perhaps we were in denial.

Like I am now- writing this with an American guy skyping someone next to me and putting me off with his non-conversation to whoever. He's not very interesting. And I feel quite okay saying this because it's not like he is giving me a choice whether to listen to him or not.

Anyway, back to yesterday, we eventually arrived in Jodhpur. There didn't seem to be phones in the airport, but we were met nevertheless. I think Jodhpur airport is quieter than Upinton's (although better designed, I'm sure).

Jodhupr is beautiful in its own way. It's colourful, vibrant and bustling. I only bought one packet of tea and two saris. I quite like sari shopping. The guesthouse owner and staff tell us not to buy anything from anyone because they rip off tourists. I still haven't quite figured out the alternative, so I shopped anyway.

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We spent the morning at the temple and doing a slightly accelerated tour around the fort. Forts aren't my scene, but I really liked the entertainment room and the nursery in this one. Not quite sure how to explain either, but you can imagine people in them a few hundred years ago. The babies got elaborate cradles, which I'm sure must be quite frightening to them, but I find them far more intriguing than the plastic and stuff we put on our babies' cots.

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We then walked down to the Blue City and wound our way home. The wind home involved an excellent lunch. (He's talking to his sister. He sent her an email about a gift for his dad.) Lunch were two vegetarian curries- one just veg and the other feisty with cashew nuts. They both made me happy.

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This is one eastern country (so far) where I have the urge to try the street food. First, everyone seems to be vegetarian. Second, the dogs look well fed and unphased and third, the cows are sacred. You know you're not going to get chicken feet or discover a dog claw in what you thought was cashew nut chicken. Vegetables are pretty reliable that way, as is curry power, chilli powder and the plethora of other spices I got encouraged to smell yesterday. The real issue is the lingering and deep fear of Dehli Belly (from now on referred to as DB). I'm wondering how it manifests itself...Perhaps it just lurks in the water, which I won't touch unless it comes out of a sealed bottle.

He's on another skype call now. To Ryan. I'm not sure how much longer I can take it. I'll attempt to upload photos instead.

(connection got interrupted, so I couldn’t upload a thing in the end and the days are now uploaded in sequence. Apologies for repetition. I decided to keep things unedited.)

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Posted by JayneHol 03:18 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Arrival

26 °C
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We arrived. It’s 2:59am and we’re sitting at Mumbai airport’s domestic departures waiting for our flight to Jodhpur via Deli at 6:30am. We’re listening to instrumental Christmas carols. I’m sticky and there’s a chatter sitting next to me, who I am trying to avoid. He’s waiting for me to look in his direction so he can talk. I’m a little too sleep deprived to be interested in the prospects of a corn-on-the-cob business and how profitable it may be. I’m also not about to buy fresh juice- I’m bottled all the way, baby.

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Apparently, he doesn’t need me to look in his direction.

I think he’s spent a few too many holidays in Goa. He asked if I knew what was in Delhi. He can’t imagine much happens there. Do I know? I contemplated my answer and instead of saying things along the lines of it being the capital city and a few lines about ancient history, I realized he may not even know the word history, so, instead, I said that I didn’t know because I haven’t been there.

Anyway, we survived Hitler and her crew. Her crew was fine, but she wasn’t quite so fine. A closet convent principal from the dark ages, I suspect. The best way to cope in such situations is simply to obey. One poor soul went to the loo before the plane had come to a complete standstill and she was loud-speakered out enough times for the entire rear end of the plane to stare her down. She remained in the loo until the plane stopped, people jumped up and she could blend in again.

We had to be careful not to be spotted while we packed our bags with as much bottled water and fruit juice as we’d managed to acquire during the flight. Not to mention the leftover wine.

Regardless, we’re here. It’s 26 degrees outside. I’m starting to spin. 12 hours, roughly, to our final destination. Luckily, I haven’t quite reached the temperamental stage.

…It’s 11am. I’ve been awake for far too long. We’re in Delhi and they don’t let you out the airport, so we’re stuck on more airport seats counting down hours until our last flight. Delhi is opaque. The air is hard to breathe too, but that may be because it doesn’t seem to be only air. It’s brown outside.

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I like the fact that India, unlike China, has a queuing system. It’s also nice not to have green phlegm land on my shoe in the departure hall. I think I may like India when I’m eventually allowed out of an airport.
…which isn’t anytime soon- our last flight just got delayed. This is traumatic news.

...We eventually left Delhi around 4pm (slightly humourlessly) and landed in Jodhpur an hour later.
Thank heavens the guesthouse owner was still there to meet us.

We’re staying near the clock tower in the Old City. It’s beautiful. It’s dusty and bustling and colourful. People, scooters and auto rickshaws everywhere. People move for cars and cars move for cows. It’d be good to be a cow in this country.

We had a brief scout around the Sadar market closest to where we’re staying. Completely up my alley!

Posted by JayneHol 03:13 Archived in India Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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