Thursday, September 27, 2007


Despite India's best efforts, we're starting to have a good time. Within, of course, the limits of dealing with India.

Jaisalmer in the rear view mirror looks, in fact, pretty good. If you ignore all the people annoying you to buy things from them, the rest of the town's folk are pretty nice, and even--dare I say it--approaching real.

But since my back is way too far gone for me to contemplate a camel ride, after a day wandering around the fort/old town, that was pretty much it for the tourist excitement. So we hopped on a six hour bus ride to Jodhpur.

Now Rajasthani buses are slightly less decrepit than 'ordinary' buses in the rest of India, and they even have an upper deck which consists of sleeping bays for people. But we've been finding that even the best bus rides in India are terribly exhausting, so that once we found a hotel we immediately turned the AC to high and conked out.

The hotel itself was the perfectly spotless throwback to colonialism that I had been looking for in the hill stations, complete with overstuffed chairs inside and a grassy, formal entrance outside. Old pictures of school graduations were on the wall and the 70 year old owner recounted his family's golden days playing polo with Prince Philip.

On Wednesday we headed into downtown Jodhpur, which was slightly more interesting than most Indian cities (which isn't saying much), and I noted the incredible over supply of autorickshaws. Drivers would ask for 50 rupees, but would then fold faster than the finals of an origami tournament, and meekly accept 20.

The main draw in Jodhpur (as if you didn't know it) is the giant medieval fort/palace built on a rock 400 feet above the city. Of course, I had to walk up to it in the 99 degree heat; Maureen was almost a good sport about it. From the top you not only look out towards various buttes and hillocks, but about 60% of the houses are painted a cobalt blue on top, so that the effect is quite, well, blue.

As foreign tourists we had to pay 250 rupees each, but we did get a great audiocassette tour, which lasted several hours of tramping through gates and rooms and palaces before we got to the end of it all.

Then it was back down the hill, wandering around trying to find an ATM, then back to the hotel, where we sat on the verandah for a while and then took our meals in our room.

And, again, that was about it for the tourist part of Jodhpur, and it was off the next morning for the presumably fabled city of Udaipur.


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