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In our Jodhpurs

Written on: Friday March 6th, 2009

A journal entry from: Trails in 2008

Got a 6 hour bus to Jodhpur (yes, it's where those lovely horsey trousers come from) and had a flashback to South America... crazy driver, lots of last minute swerving and a horn constantly shrieking out an irritating melody.  We passed miles and miles worth of shiny white marble for sale, some thinly sliced into tiles, other huge metre blocks all ready for the Homes and Gardens of the world.


The loos have been fairly ok so far, some squat style, some western.  But the one during our bus ride was new to me.  For 'number ones' only, it was like a small handbasin set into the concrete floor.  Oh, the only other loo story is the time at Mumbai train station where I was fairly surprised to see a woman freely squatting over one of 3 'dips' in the ground set up with no walls or door for privacy... until now I was thinking it was for the children...


Jodhpur is a really polluted city of 2 million people, with a huge fort on a hill dominating the houses, most of them painted blue.  I'm still strutting around in my 3/4 pants and a t-shirt which is not exactly culturally sensitive clothing, but way better than some people who are walking around in singlets, short shorts and even boob tubes.  The majority Hindu/minority Muslim cultures like a little bit of cover-up, essentially the shoulders and knees but more is better. However I've been struggling to find anything to wear.  I finally go to a fixed price department store which was completely fruitless for clothes, but imagine how foiled I felt when I saw the real price for my lovely camel leather slippers I was so proud of bargaining hard for in the markets! 


The fort in Jodhpur is pretty amazing, a totally secure place for royalty to hang out, and nice secluded areas for the wives as they weren't allowed to show their face to the common folk. Did the audio tour which was informative, if not a little Monty Pythonesque in tone.  The huge doors have spikes to discourage the elephants from ramming them, there are long entranceways and so much beautifully carved stone - the windows are so finely carved they look like wood.  I paid a visit to Mr Sharma, the resident palmist and paid 300 rupees to hear that I am tempermental and dominating and will live to 84.  Well actually, he said some nice things too, but the really good news is I will be rich and be able to continue our travels for another year! (not).


Waiting at the train station for another overnight train I saw a kid of about 12 striding down the railway tracks stopping to collect all the plastic bottles in his big plastic sack.  There are rats like I have never seen before (in size and number) scurrying along the tracks, and this is the generally accepted place for people to pee, hawyk, and project their snot and any other rubbish they don't want.  The poverty here is a whole 'nother story for another time.  In the meantime, we are happy to see the fort and get out of Jodhpur , the smoggy air is really getting to our throats and lungs.