Dec 12, 2012

Zipping around Jodhpur

Posted by Mary |

Worst title pun ever. You'll see.

We got ourselves an early morning bus out of Mount Abu, headed to Jodhpur. As previously mentioned, the bus got down the hill a LOT faster than it went up it. Perhaps a bit too fast, as evidenced by the child puking out of the window constantly in front of me. His father kept wiping the puke off his face with the bus curtains. I promptly traded seat with Beau and took the aisle seat. I'm not touching those curtains. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.

The city view ain't half bad.
The bus arrived in Jodhpur, pulled to the side of the road and unceremoniously kicked us out. Not at a bus station. Oh, no, that would be too easy. No, we were on the side of the road, with two other white girls (one of whom had actually been bitten by a stranger in Mount Abu. At least I only puked my guts out.). All that whiteness made us look like a giant pile of rupees, and the touts were all over us trying to get us into their rickshaws. Fortunately, our hotel had said they would pick us up, so I called them. Unfortunately, I had no idea where we were. I started walking down the road, trying to describe what I saw, to no avail. Beau and the two girls trailed behind me, with the rickshaw drivers following them. I was the majorette in the world's most demented parade.

Finally, I came upon a woman selling cigarettes on the side of the road. I marched up to her and handed her my phone, much to her confusion. After some pantomiming, she took the phone and finally told the hotel owner where we were. We sat by the side of the road to await his arrival, and most of the rickshaw drivers gave up. The owner finally pulled up on his motorcycle, which seemed a questionable choice of vehicles for transporting people back to his hotel. It turns out that his plan was to find us and then bargain for some rickshaws. However, the two drivers that were still waiting near us said they had called dibs and refused to be bargained down much. Beau and I squeezed into one rickshaw with one of the girls while the other hopped on the back of the motorcycle. I suspect that her friend was wondering if that would be the last we ever saw of her.

He hates this picture.
We arrived at the haveli and checked into our room, which had a swing. Yes, I chose this place because of the swing. You would have too. Since there was no restaurant, we wandered down to the marketplace to find some food. And this, weeks into the trip, is when we had our first brush with truly sketchy behavior. As we walked down the road, I became aware that there were several men around us who were walking at our exact same pace. I pulled Beau to a stop and immediately began a fake argument with him. It doesn't really matter what you're saying if you're gesticulating wildly and raising your voice, so I may have screamed and poked him in the chest and crossed my arms a lot as I told him what was going on. The group of men had all pulled to a halt by a car a few yards down the road and were waiting, so we carried on for a bit until they gave up and left. We were far more cautious as we proceeded to dinner, and I gawked at all the shiny things in windows on our way back to the hotel.

Hello, fort.
The next day we took a rickshaw up to the Mehangarh Fort, which towers over Jodhpur.
Giant spikes are great elephant deterrent.

Audio tour, in English. Score.

It's got lots of history and all that, but I wanted to go there for one reason: ziplining.

There I go!
Who can resist flying through the air? Who can resist flying through the air over a fort in India? Not me!

Incoming Beau.

Seems legit.
It didn't even matter that the zip line seemed to be held together with duct tape.

Beau, showing excellent tucking form.

After we were done, we headed had a late lunch at the fort and headed back into the city. We had not showered in Mount Abu because of the cold temperatures and open window in the bathroom. We were determined to shower. The hotel had other plans. First, we couldn't get the shower to work. No combination of turning various knobs would get any water to come out. We finally called in help, and the owner's mother shuffled in and spent 10 minutes fiddling with knobs. She got the water working and told us to wait for hot water. It finally arrived, and Beau hopped in for a shower. When he got out, he sadly announced that the water smelled like pee. It was true. I may have wiped myself down with baby wipes after my shower.

We wandered through the market again so that I could gawk at shiny things. I got drawn into a sari shop and allowed Beau to pick out a banjara sari to purchase. Best of all, I found a fixed-price shops. Items with prices listed on them! No need to haggle! I bought a few items, most notably a set of wrist-to-elbow bangles. I desire to look as peasanty as possible.

The next morning, we tried to get breakfast in the hotel. We went up to the roof restaurant, which was empty. The owner came up and asked us what we wanted, then brought up a tray. It was pretty obvious that they were just giving us their food. We sat on the roof, at the base of the Mehangarh, eating toast and jam, looking over the blue city, pondering the great mysteries of this country. Like, why do all the cats look so raggedy? Beau said they look like Snake Plissken. That's why I love him, folks.

I think this view is worth the $20 spent on an afternoon of zip lines.

Up next: An Alaska reunion in Pushkar

Because smoking is the worst of your health issues in India.
My ego requires at least three pictures of myself per post. Quota met.

India never ceases to amaze with its intricately carved buildings.