Okay, not really...
03.10.2008 - 03.11.2008 80 °F
We arrived in Jodhpur late after another 7 hour ride with Narender through tons of small villages in Rajasthan. We loved Jodhpur from the second we got there – the “blue city” has an energy about it that drew us in.
After a tour around the city and seeing the beautiful palace and the Meherangarh (a gorgeous fort on a huge 125 meter high hill), we ditched our guide and decided to get lost in the old city. Our first stop was to a tea shop near the clock tower, where my mom tried hard to explain what chamomile tea was and failed. We headed into the main market and found a busy lassi shop (a yoghurt “shake”) full of locals, where we somehow managed to order two of the white drinks and sit down while being shamelessly stared at by every Indian in the place. I think they were curious if we would like the stuff and we were careful to make no funny faces in case it was not our style of beverage…but it was delicious, although very sweet for my taste.
After a while and a couple of choppy conversations with the people around us, we got up to leave and a couple of young guys stopped me and using sign language attempted to ask me for something. I had no clue what they wanted and as I turned to my mom to see if she understood, I realized the whole place was still, quiet and watching us. Turns out that the guy wanted my autograph and a picture! I’m huge in Jodhpur and I didn’t even know it! ;o) I hesitated, tried to explain why this was an odd request and finally accepted, posed and headed out. We paid for the lassis, which put us back 10 IRS (about .25 cents) and we wondered into the market to see what we would find.
We turned where we felt like it and stumbled upon a beautiful white temple that had been partially converted into a store/hotel/restaurant called Krishna Arts & Crafts (restaurant is Nirvana Terrace Roof Top Restaurant & Cafe). We ended up staying there a few hours after meeting the owner, Ajit and two of his favorite customers from Holland, Case and Lyndia. I was rebaptised and given the name Kushimemsab (happy lady) by Ajit who instructed me to introduce myself with my new Indian name whenever I could. It brought laughs whenever I did it throughout the trip. We had a wonderful meal at the restaurant (the best in India), allowing Ajit to order for us and ate happily overlooking Jodhpur and the fort high up above. The old city is crowded, congested and a bit dirty, but it’s got so much charm.
Jodhpur Queens in Ajit's store
We walked back to meet Narender and made one last stop as mom was determined to buy tea. She entered one of the many stores selling every flavour you can imagine of the stuff and I sat outside waiting, watching and thinking. My daydream was interrupted by the store owner of a tea shop I was sitting near when he offered me a chair and some chai. I gladly accepted and we chatted for a few minutes until he left. I went back to my people watching and got lost in the crowds of people passing by, working, walking, selling, talking…I fell in love with that city that afternoon.
The next day we went back for lunch at Ajit’s place and had another wonderful meal and walked the streets of the market once again. We met tons of local people, bought bangles off some very good saleswomen that slide them on your wrist with no hope of taking them off (hence the purchase), learned some Hindi from kids, bought beautiful scarves decorated by wrapping rice around the fabric and tie-dying it, ate fruit and of course, drank chai. It was time to head to Udaipur and we were sad to leave, but knowing we would be back, we took a plane to the next gorgeous city India had to offer…