Two Indian Days Left
30.01.2008 - 03.02.2008
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I know I only wrote a few days ago, but I've got some time to kill before I take the mammoth 19 hour train ride back to Delhi.
I'm in Jaisalmer, about 150km from the Pakistani border. It's a desert area, so it's quite cold. This morning has got to be the coldest day so far. To be honest, I came unprepared with only a sweater and a hoodie, but it's been alright. I had to buy a blanket for the sleeper trains because they don't provide you with one, and there's no heat. There's no heat anywhere actually, and hot water is sometimes only available for a few hours each day. Despite it being a desert, it rained all day yesterday and this morning, the first rain I've experienced in India. Actually, I could probably count the number of rainy days during the entire trip on one hand. Most people come to Jaisalmer to do a camel safari in the desert. It sounds great, sleeping under the stars, bonding with your camel, authentic food. I decided against it, mainly because I don't have the warm clothes and I'm too cheap to buy more. I had also spent the last two days on buses and trains, and hadn't showered due to constantly moving and not having a room, so I was keen on staying put for a couple nights.
Jaisalmer is pretty nice though. It has an old fort perched on a small mountain overlooking the city, and a lot of people still live there. Walking through it is like stepping back in time a bit, if you choose not to look at the internet cafes and 'Italian' restaurants. Before I came here I spent a day in Jodhpur, which also had an amazing fort, supposedly one of the best in India. It came with one of those audio tours, so you could listen to each stop as you went along. It was actually really informative and well put together. Jodhpur is known as the Blue City, as all the buildings are dyed with indigo. Supposedly the blue repels the insects, but I think that's up for debate.
There's a few things about India that I just will not miss. One is the constant hoiking the locals do. I've heard so much phlegm transferred from throat to concrete, it's gross. And things like standing in a line, talking quietly when people are sleeping, and NOT expelling any number of bodily functions in the street are generally lost on them. I think there's just so many people here that privacy no longer means anything. And the constant staring, oh man, when you're eating, reading, on the internet, they just don't care. Even when you look back at them, they just keep staring. I'm not trying to complain, India has actually grown on me and I'd love to come back, but it's a different world.
A few pics:
I came across this guy on the side of the road in Jodhpur. He was boiling milk, most he sold to the freezing public, but they also reduce it down to condensed milk and use it in their sweets. When they serve the milk, they mix in a bit of sugar for good measure, it's really good. Indians make fantastic sweets too, and they're super cheap so I've been loading up.
Another stray pup. This poor guy had ticks burrowed in his ears.
A view of Jodhpur, the Blue City, from the fort. This is just a fraction of the city. Notice the wonderful pollution.
A great sign at a clothing stand. There was another one on a rug that said: 'Magic Rug: No need for Viagra!'
Bring the kids! It took me awhile to realize they meant to say 'chilled' beer.
My flight leaves for Colombo on Monday night, and then I catch a flight back to Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon. Then I'm in the home stretch. It won't be too bad, two people I had travelled with in Vietnam are going to be passing through Bangkok when I'm there, so I'll have some company to spend my final days with. Then it's back to snowy Vancouver on Saturday.