So much for staying up late and hoping for a later sleep-in. It was almost 11:00 PM when I shut the lights out, but I was wide awake about 4:30. Unfortunately, the internet wasn’t awake yet, so I processed photos.
As it turned out, despite the ‘wet bath’, this was about the best shower so far – lots of hot water and the water sprayed out where it was supposed to. What a treat! We packed up our bags so that we’d be ready when Kamal arrived and went up to the rooftop for breakfast: tea, mango juice in a box, a marsala omelette with cheese and a banana. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Back in the room, the internet was working now, so we worked that for a while, did some messaging with Bonnie and, with a 1/2 hour to spare, went for a walk. We didn’t get far before we met a dapper looking man who welcomed us to take his photo. He asked if we would mail it to him, so he took us to his house to write down his address….more photos with a friend and an invitation into his house for tea. Of course we declined because we had to leave.
His name is Shive Narayan Banawat, 70 years old. We shook his hand goodbye, but then I experienced something I never have before: Shiva reached to touch my feet. Dass explained to me after that, to show respect, Indian people will touch a person’s feet. For instance, they touch their guru’s feet. I saw it happen once before with Indian people greeting each other at the Vancouver airport, but didn’t understand what was happening.
During our walks around the streets near the hotel, we were asked several times where we were from. When we told them Canada, we were usually asked if we were with the group from Quebec, who were staying at the same hotel. We met a few of them after breakfast, but while we were in the lobby, we met their tour guide, Marcel Poulin. Marcel has been in India for 34 years, but goes to Canada each year to promote his guide business, which he’s named ‘India My Love’.
We checked out then called Kamal to tell him we were ready to go. He arrived soon after by tuk-tuk and away we went to the parking lot. We loaded up the bags and began the drive to our next stop, Jodhpur, about 6 hours away. Again, most of it was on a poor road that took us through more small towns and villages.
Our first stop was to see an old guy running a water wheel operated by 2 oxen. More photos and more rupees.
Further down the road, we saw several women carrying large loads of hay on their heads. Kamal stopped so that we could get photos. We also saw a guy leading a camel carrying a large load of hay and, once again, Kamal stopped for the photo op.
We then stopped at the Ranakpur Jain Temple, which seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere. We paid the Rs 300 entry fee, took off our shoes (can’t wear shoes in a temple) and went in. This temple is very amazing….all marble built over 50 years and construction was completed in 1496. We were free to take photos of everything except the idols. The priests will pray for you and put a ‘tilak’, on your forehead – likely sandalwood paste according to Dass – and you’re expected to make a donation. When I received the tilak, the smallest I had was Rs 50 but, of course, the priest was shooting for Rs 500….too bad. I think they really go after the white tourists, no different than the shop keepers.
We spent about 45 minutes in the temple, got lots of shots and also met up with the 2 Australian girls we had met at lunch, when we arrived in Udaipur 2 days ago.
A few minutes down the road, Kamal pulled into a restaurant for lunch. There was a great photo op at the gate: a Rajasthani man wearing a red turban and full garb with his elaborately decorated camel. We went out to get his photo and, of course, gave him some rupees.
After sitting down for lunch, the guy who had ushered us to our table wanted to give Dass a shoulder and neck massage. Dass told him no and, fortunately, he didn’t come to me; however, he went to the guy at the table in front of us. He seemed to enjoy the massage and several times told the guy “thank you”, I believe hoping that he would stop, but he didn’t: neck, shoulders, back, the top of his head – spent a lot of time on his head rubbing, bouncing his fingers off it, etc. – ears and finally his eyes. By this time, the guy’s wife had joined him, so the masseuse started to message her as well. She told him no, but he ignored her and started on her neck. She got the same treatment, but she also got her arms and hands massaged. Again, he spent a lot of time on her head. Dass had his back to all of this, so I was giving him a running commentary. I told him that he was spending so much time with her head and hair that she was going to be pissed, because he was taking all of the curl and wave out of it.
Finally he finished and, of course, stood there waiting to be paid, but they didn’t give him anything.
Before we left, the 2 Aussie girls showed up there as well.
On we drove and eventually ended up on a toll highway. The next stop was at the ‘Motorcycle Temple’. This is a strange story. A guy got drunk and, while driving home on his motorcycle, he was killed in an accident. The police took his motorcycle to the police station. Several times the motorcycle started on its own, without petrol, and drove itself back to the accident site. The police kept returning it the the station, but the story got out. Eventually some of the people in the area got the motorcycle and built a temple, where people come to pray and see the motorcycle in a glass case. It’s all outside, but you have to take your shoes off to go into the ‘temple’ to see it. When you go inside the outside temple (???), you file past the glass enclosed motorcycle in a clockwise direction. According to Dass, that’s so that your right hand is toward the shrine; the left hand is the one used to wipe your butt, so that wouldn’t be acceptable.
We arrived in Jodhpur about 5:30 and at the Heritage Haveli Hotel about 30 minutes later.
After checking in, Kamal led us down the streets and pointed out where we would find the clock tower, the market and a good restaurant for dinner and then left us to fend for ourselves. The street activity in this area was chaotic….horse drawn carts and, of course, the tuk-tuks, motorcycles, scooters and tons of people. It’s too bad that it was getting dark quickly, since the photo ops would have been great. Instead of eating at the restaurant that Kamal suggested, we decided to return to the hotel and eat there: vegetable Pulao (rice), Alu Mutter (potatoes and boiled pears cooked in garlic tomato gravy), garlic nan bread, tea and water. Sound appetizing?
While we were eating, we heard what we assumed was the Muslim call to prayer coming at us from all directions. They’re not particularly quiet about it!
Things we saw on the road today:
- A man sitting right on the street bathing himself with a pail of water and a dipper.
- 2 guys on a motorcycle with 2 live goats laid across the passenger’s lap. They were facing in opposite directions…head to tail. Dass suggested that was so they could compare notes about what they saw during the trip.
- Sign on a bulk carrier truck: Highly Inflammable.
- A woman carrying an old Singer sewing machine on her head.
- About 10 buffalos bathing in a mud pond on the side of the road.
- A cow in the middle of the busy 2-lane highway, with a calf feeding.
- Forgot to report the other day that we saw a woman standing at the side of the road and laying beside her on the ground was another woman. Can’t say for sure, but she sure looked dead to us.
Kamal will pick us up at 8:00 AM and we’ll continue to Pushkar for the camel fair. We’re really looking forward to the 2 days there.