Apologies for being so behind on this blog but I just haven’t had a chance the past few weeks. I’m on a flight to Chennai to watch the Proteas take on the Poms in their second world cup game so I thought I’d use the chance to catch up. Where to start?!
The few weeks in Rajasthan were simply phenomenal and I’ve fallen in love with this country. I can’t express what it is about this country but it’s like no where I’ve been before. It’s so unpredictable, so crazy and anything really is possible. And did I mention that there are cows EVERYWHERE. Not a day goes by without seeing a few and where else could one see cows having a nap in the middle of a traffic circle?
I think I have my Indian slogan (thanks Jen) … “That’s just not possible. Sorry, but that’s not possible. But if you need it …” I recall Jen, Pauli and I trying to catch a bus to Phalodi one afternoon. We were told that the bus was only going at 11pm. We reiterated that we wanted to leave now and were told “Oh, you want to leave now. Well hurry then, bus leaves in 5”. Or the time Jen and I asked the internet cafe man where we could find booze at 10 pm on a Friday night. “Sorry guys, it’s just not possible to get booze at this time. No way, it’s 10pm and stores close at 8. Unless you need it. Oh, you do? Well in that case hop on my scooter and I’ll take you to my friend”
Again, what makes a place is the people and I spent my three weeks in Rajasthan with absolute legends – Jen, Hil (the two Californian birds I met in Bombay), Pauli (another Californian I met in Bombay) and Darragh, the Irishman we picked up en route. Along the way we also hung out with another Irishman, a Scotsman and an Italian and the conversations that were going on were something I simply can’t describe.
In fact, there is no way I can explain how much fun I’ve been having. As I’ve said above, this country is something else, the people are so friendly (notwithstanding the fact that they constantly stare and try sell you stuff) and the food is out of this world. I was expecting curries but not the variety of food you find here. And then there’s the Chai – sweet, milk tea served in small glasses that one drinks at least a dozen times a day.
Rajasthan is a spectacular state and one I’d definitely recommend. While Jaipur is really just another big city (with a wicked fort), it was here I was invited in for tea by a local musician. Tea turned into a few games of Keren, the local board game, and breakfast the next day and it was great fun chatting to people in their own home. I particularly enjoyed Jodhpur, with its blue buildings, incredible fort built atop a hill, flashing clock tower, the Omelet man and the wickedly chilled Cosy Guest House. Said Omelet man makes over 1,000 omelettes a day and man, they are wicked! I’d recommend the Masala Cheese guy if you find yourself at a loss with what to order!
Jaisalmer, with its golden fort, is the place to camel safari from and that too is great fun (if a tad uncomfortable!). It was while sitting round the fire at night listening to country music with the Californians, that I went out on a whim and mentioned the line “She ain’t worth a lick”. Simon and I had heard this whilst hitch-hiking home 1 night in Winterpark (way back in 2001) and we’d always joked about it. Why I mentioned it I have no idea but it turns out the present company had heard of it too and Jen had it on her all-encompassing I-Pod. Absolutely phenomenal (and a great tune too). Trish Yearwood … She’s in Love with the Boy
There’s also the wickedly chilled town of Pushkar, where we spent many hours watching cricket on the rooftop of the awesome U-Turn Guesthouse, and the pretty town of Udaipur, scene of the Bond movie, Octopussy. Finally, where else but in India can one see thousands of Siberian cranes feeding the morning and then spend the afternoon wandering around a temple!
All in all, it’s been an incredible few weeks in a fantastic part of the world with very special people. I look forward to Burningman and that Californian road trip guys.