Dec 10, 2012

Extended stay in Mount Abu

Posted by Mary |

After leaving Udaipur, we hopped on a bus and headed to the hill station of Mount Abu. My dear friend Rachel had recommended this as an excellent place to visit - more popular with Indians than with tourists. Sold! The bus ride there was mostly pleasant until we hit the base of the hill. It's a long, winding road up the hill. It took us more than an hour to get up the hill, yet only about 20 minutes to get back down when we left a few days later. By the time we got to the top of the hill, Beau's stomach was unsettled from the twisting and turning. We arrived at the Shri Ganesh hotel, and I took care of business while he rested. Signing the guest register, I noticed that the people who had checked in right before us were from Fairbanks. Small world!

Rather than subject Beau to food smells while he was feeling ill, I went to the roof to order lunch. The man sitting at the other table was sporting a Yukon Quest hat, so I rightly assumed that he was from Fairbanks. He and his girlfriend had just arrived to India, so I spent some time writing down some numbers and a few key phrases in Hindi for them. Back in the room, Beau was still ill. I took full advantage to snuggle up to him and steal his body heat all night long. Those hill stations get cold!

The next day, he was feeling much improved, so we headed out to view the Dilwara Temples, a complex of Jain temples carved out of white marble. They were amazingly beautiful. They banned all photography inside the temples, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Or check it out here.

Not the Dilwara Temples.
On the way back to the hotel, we passed the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. If you're ever in Mount Abu, do stop there. It's like Hinduism, explained in dioramas designed by someone who has enjoyed one too many bhang lassis. After the side trip, we decided to go on a sunset hike. The hotel owner promised it would be easy, even for someone with a knee brace. Perhaps climbing up giant boulders is easy for other people in knee braces, but I found it a bit challenging. After enjoying the view, we headed back down to the hotel, where I checked my e-mail and confirmed that I had a job interview set up via hotel telephone in Jodhpur for the following night. Beau and I retired to the room to enjoy some television.

I liked this guy best.

Sometime that night, I woke up to a rumbling in my stomach. I tried to find my way to the toilet room, but the light switches didn't seem to be working. I pounded at them in frustration, and Beau said he'd take care of it. Now, I don't want to get too graphic, but when you're traveling in India, you do a constant self-analysis. Is this it? Do I have Delhi belly? Is it just regular diarrhea? Well, I'm happy to report that when you finally have Delhi belly, you KNOW you have Delhi belly. I was still in the tiny toilet room, in the dark, when it became clear that I was going to be sick. There's no way I was going to be sick in that room in the dark. Beau was still trying to figure out the lights when I ripped open the door and came crawling out on my hands and knees, heading for the bucket under the sink. Once my stomach was fully empty, I crawled back to bed while Beau prepared the first of many cups of Alka Selter. When you're traveling, ALWAYS bring Alka Seltzer. It settles your stomach, delivers painkillers and helps to rehydrate you, all in one fell swoop. (Not a paid endorsement, but Bayer should totally get on their game and mail me a box or something.)

By the next morning, it was obvious that we weren't going anywhere. Beau went to town to find me painkillers, and came back with sweetened lemon juice, salted biscuits and a topped-up sim card for our cell phone. I informed UAF that I would need to do the interview via cell phone, and we setlled into the room for the day. You might think that we were lucky to get sick in one of the few hotels that had a television in the room. You might think that we were even luckier that one station showed a lot of English-language shows. But they only showed Wipeout and Cris Angel: Mindfreak, and I certainly didn't feel lucky after watching back-to-back episodes for a few hours.

At 11:30 pm, I was coherent enough to answer the cell phone and begin my job interview. We only got cut off once, which seems a bit of a miracle, and then I crawled into bed. Since I'd been sick (and thus a furnace) the second night, Beau had taken advantage of my body heat. This night, we hid under four blankets to stay warm. Being sick has its advantages. We had to get up early for a bus ride in the morning.
Bundle of bones and flesh plus floating red breast = human being.
Sadly, not many pictures exist from this leg of the trip. We weren't allowed to take photos in the Dilwara Temples, and I may have killed Beau if he took pictures of me huddled in bed, watching Wipeout.

I have no idea what is going on here.

Next up: Zip lines and sketchy showers in Jodhpur