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Published: January 29th 2010
The Blue CIty
Jodhpur is known as 'the blue city' because in the old part of the city they paint the houses blue... obviously!
I left you at Jaipur train station, right before someone very cleverly (and my hat goes off to them because I have no idea how they did it) stole my wallet from the front of my rucksack, which was on my front… they literally stole it from under my nose! Luckily it only had about R350, my credit card, some malaria, anti sickness and anti histamine tablets, my lip salve and a usb stick in it. I was very lucky… my train ticket was in my other pocket and I had back up cash and back up credit cards. So, after taking a deep breath (and telling the man next to me on the train that it wasn’t funny and he shouldn’t smile; poor man!) I called Nationwide and cancelled the card and tried to put it behind me. The people in my carriage were very sweet and in true Indian hospitilaty I did not go hungry and ended up sharing chapatti’s and curry from two different people; actually it was rather embarrassing because they kept on giving me food and I really wasn’t that hungry and with all eyes on me I couldn’t discreetly chuck it out the window
THis is a typical Rajesthan - y style of painting.. and i found it on an outside wall of a building! They were everywhere, which was so pretty!
so in the end I had to make a big deal out of how nice it was but how full I was and then give it back! I also spent a fair bit of the journey with a little 2 year old boy sitting on my knee looking out the window (Indians don’t seem to mind handing over their children to the first available sucker!)
Jodhpur; The Blue City. The Meherangargh (fort) looms large over this city, looking down from the massive rocky cliff type landscape high above the city. The blue paint apparently is a good insect repellent and keeps the houses cool… I wish my hotel was this colour as I was covered in bites within an hour of arriving! I would thoroughly recommend staying in the Old City and even in my guest house (Sadar Haveli - I burst into tears when I arrived which was incredibly embarrassing, especially for the poor man who was showing me the room who, in his desperate attempt to cheer me up; and because I think he thought I was crying at the price he’d just quoted me(!) - told me, ‘oh no, don’t cry, It’s ok, if It’s better
The Fort, Jodhpur
It was very majestic looming large above the city... well worth the massive fee just to hear the audio tour!!
you have it free! You happy, I’m happy!’ - poor guy… I hasten to add that I did pay, but a very reasonable price! I should also add that the reason I burst into tears was quite beyond me but I think I was just over tired and suddenly emotional about the recent theft… clearly a female moment but it didn’t last long you’ll be pleased to hear!!) So after a lovely sleep in a really nice room, adorned with blue and pink curtains from every available bar, I headed to the sites in a tuk tuk driven by the man I had burst into tears on the night before (!! He obviously had recovered from the shock of my emotional outburst and I figured I owed him so paying him to drive me about seemed a good deal for us both!!) The Mandore gardens, with the monkeys and beautiful temples/monuments was lovely, especially since it was a beautiful day. We then went to the Meherangargh which was really beautiful and the audio tour was hysterical! I wish I could have recorded it and put it on the blog! The guy voicing it was Indian but very majestic/British posh sounding
children dancing for money
This is one of the many ways of trying to get money... the little girl seemed to enjoy it but the little boy (as you can see in his face here) seemed to hate it...
and he really hammed it up. Because it’s so high above the city you also get to see the mass of blue houses below which looks so amazing. We then went to the Jaswant Thada (Marble memorial) which again was beautiful. To end the trip I went to the Clock tower which is in the centre of the Old Town and which is surrounded by the markets. I then went on a mission to find a Thali (a large dish with small bowels of the following on it; rice, chapatti’s, daal, veg curry of some sort, raita, some other yellowy looking number and a sweet thing of some sort - in Jodhpur they are known for a sweet dish called mawa katchori which is delicious! ) Anyway after much hunting I found an amazing place … amazing thali not amazing location (on the side of a very busy road!) called Hotel Priya restaurant (catchy name!!) It really was very good and well worth hunting out if you’re ever in Jodhpur!
So after an evening of markets, fresh juice, internet, chatting to the bank/ my mum and sisters and general ‘pottering’ about I have been chatted into staying another day
THe Haveli, Udaipur
This was the room i burst into tears in!! .. a very nice room after so many very boring ones!! .. the pink and blue curtains were hysterical!
and so will not leave for Udaipur until tomorrow night… on a BUS!! I am NOT looking forward to the journey, but I have been assured it is only 6 hours and since it’s a sleeper bus (and a tourist one at that) it should be ok… we’ll see.. I’m not convinced but there is no train line so I have no choice! (I was seriously considering changing the destination in order to catch a train but decided this would be going too far and I should ‘man up’ and try out a night bus!! Fingers crossed I get there in one piece without too much of an adventure!!)
So. The sleeper bus to Udaipur. Now, when they say ‘sleeper’ bus I think this is serious false advirtising! There are, indeed, lovely beds located above the usual row of seats and these looked very comfortable and clean, however if you have ever travelled by road in India you will know that they are anything but straight and flat. I lay in the bed for about ten minutes but was thrown about so much I had to sit on the seat… sleep I did not! However I had met two
Boys on bikes
The lovely French boys on their bikes!!
We saw such a lovely side to Udaipur from the 'open road'.. i love motorbike travel!! (i can understand why people travel the whole of India on an Enfield Bullet!)
lovely French boys who I was to hang out with for the next few days, so the 8 hour journey was passed with listening to music with Jeremy whilst Romain tried to sleep in the overhead bed.
Once in Udaipur I was amazed at how touristy it was, yet also how much I liked it. It is a lovely place and probably my favourite in Rajesthan. When we arrived at the hotel it was 5am and there were no rooms till 9 so we were given a large sofa type affair to sleep on in the roof top restaurant. When we woke up at 9 we were surrounded by diners eating their breakfast and enjoying the view!!
Jeremy , Romain and I hired motorbikes and went for a spin to see the surrounding area. It was great fun and we practised our French/English over the next few days (I even bought a French book in the hope that I will improve!) We ate great food, saw some lovely landscape and enjoyed the freedom of being able to go wherever you like that a motorbike brings. We also took a cooking course which was great fun - we learnt how
me and Jeremy on the bike
the women all sit side saddle on the back of bikes.. it was surprisingly easy to balance.. and very lady like!!
to cook ten (yes ten!) different dishes in the space of three hours and ate them all!! The next day we pottered around Udaipur, visited the City Palace and watched the sunset over the lake palace (Udaipur has 7 lakes and as many palaces) I also bought more bits and bobs and sent them to the UK; I will be amazed if they arrived as the post office consisted of a woman sitting behind a table In a room that looked like a walk in wardrobe - without the clothes!
As much as I tried to persuade Jeremy and Romain to come south with me they were heading North to Agra so I had to say goodbye. I met a lovely English guy in the internet/travel shop whilst I was trying desperately to get a train to Mumbai (if ever you go to Mumbai be warned that the trains book up way in advance and you always need to book ahead… I hadn’t done this so was finding it hard to get there without spending a week in Udaipur… as much as I loved Udaipur I wanted to make the most of my last week my seeing somewhere new!)
You can see the Lake Palace in the background... a lovely view of the whole of Udaipur as the sun sets.
Well I overheard Phil (the nice English guy I was about to meet!) telling the travel shop man that he was heading to Mumbai via Mount Abu so I leapt up (literally) and insisted he tell me how I could do the very same thing! He, being the lovely guy that he is, ended up booking (and paying for - although I did pay him back the following day - very trusting of him!) my train ticket. So the next day at 8am we met at the bus stand and took a bus (not a sleeper I might add!!) to Mount Abu. Now the only thing I knew about Mount Abu was that It was a big hit with Indian tourists and is the cheapest of Indian hill stations and it is possible to do some trekking. Well. Those things are all true, but I think the Lonely Planet should mention that one day is more than enough time to spend here! … we however had two full days to kill here…and it was a struggle! We went on a half day trek (God I am unfit after 6 weeks of no exercise!) and whilst I say ‘trek’ really a
our cooking class
We learnt ten dishes.. it was great, but i prefered the Keralan cooking course i did.
long walk is more accurate!
So after a day here and feeling desperate to leave we bumped into Philip from Brussels who was feeling the exact same way, so we spent the day aimlessly wandering around Mount Abu waiting for our evening train to take us to Mumbai.
And that is where I am now. It left on time and I am sitting here thanking my lucky stars for Phil who has decided to splash out on a ‘posh’ hotel once we are in Mumbai and has said I can join him. YAY! THe posh hotel being the Taj Lands End ... an incredible place. We are on the 22nd floor overlooking the bridge. The room has FOUR pillows, the cleanest sheets i've seen in 6 weeks (heck, the cleanest i've ever seen!!) and the bathroom is so posh it has a heated toilet seat with all kinds of buttons that i have no idea how to use!! It even has a BATH (this is unheard of!) So to say i am finishing my India 'leg' of my trip in style is to put it mildly! I am finishing off this leg of the trip in a style
sending a parcel!
In order to send a package in India you have to get it sewn (yes, sewn) into a neat white sheath (!) .. you can get this done at the post office (takes forever) or by a local tailor!....
that would suit my twin sister... and that is saying something!! (Ems you'd love it... it even has a spa, a swimming pool and more staff running round after me than i can shake a stick at!!) AWESOME... Phil rocks!
So, my Indian leg of the journey is coming to an end. I have loved travelling in this amazing country. I have eaten a huge variety of delicious vegetarian food. I have seen some of the most beautiful temples, monuments, views, forts and palaces. I have met some lovely tourists who I hope I will be able to share stories and photos with in the future. I have seen a huge expanse of country from the door of a variety of different trains (which is still one of my favourite memories!) I have learnt to cook curries using an massive amount of spices. I have been to a headphone party! I have swam in two different seas and watched many different sports being played. I have travelled by train, boat, bus, moped, auto rickshaw and cycle rickshaw. I have visited 19 different towns/cities in 39 days. And I have loved it. I will come back, of that I have
Road Sign, Udaipur
Yep.. this was a real road sign.. i had already past one saying, 'don't drink and drive i'm not ready to meet you yet, God' and another saying 'love thy neighour ... but not while you're driving'... i almost fell off the bike i was laughing so much!!
no doubt. I would thoroughly recommend India to anyone and everyone. It is an incredible place. But more than that it is filled with incredible people; their faces light up when they smile. They are kind, helpful, generous and honestly want you to enjoy their country. Some are very wealthy, some are very poor but they all live amongst the dirt, dust and smells of the cities, filled with spices, markets, chai sellers, street food stalls, colourful sari’s, cows rummaging through bins, endless stray dogs with every disease under the sun, people urinating anywhere and everywhere, rubbish being chucked liberally on the streets and endless tourists who come en mass to experience their country. And I think that, quite rightly, makes them feel proud of this amazing country. If you get a chance, go to India. IT ROCKS!
Next stop Thailand …
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