Leaving Jaisalmer the scenery changes from scrubby stony country to larger sandy dunes and we continue to regularly encounter herds of goats and camels along the roadside.
Rakesh pulls off the main highway and we make a visit to a traditional desert family. The widow, a mother of 5 children lives in a 5 metre diametre circular house constructed of thatched roof and packed mud and cow dung walls. Mum works at a local women's co-op making handicrafts and earns about Rs 2000 a month or about $40. Whilst the appearance may not look much to us, her humble home is surprisingly cool inside and spotlessly clean.
Oldest sister grinding grain.
We are quite shocked at the poverty and we wish Rakesh had forewarned us so that we could have bought some fresh food to help this struggling family. We offer up some old airline biscuits and peanuts that Robyn finds stashed in her handbag and a handful of rupee to help put dinner on the table.
For the next hour of so during our drive Robyn and I consider what we have just experienced and we sit in quiet contemplation and are thankful for our good health, family, friends and comfortable situation at home.
Rakesh lifts the mood when he laughs and comments that we always wear our seatbelts, "take them off and be comfortable" he says. "They're only necessary in the city and only in the front seats". Whilst we are very comfortable with Rakeshs safe driving skills, somehow learning to relax on any Indian road will not be possible during only a 23 day trip.
Mehrangarh Fort Jodhpur.
Three things that we know about Jodhpur:
- Jodhpur is dominated by an imposing 14 century fort perched on a rocky escarpment,
- Jodhpur is known as the blue city, and
- Jodhpur is the origin of the highly fashionable Jodhpurs polo trousers.
Clearly I am a fashion aficionado, but I will be showing considerable restraint and resisting the temptation to acquire a tailored pair of these striking and trendsetting trousers.
We are staying in the narrow lanes of the old town at the KP Haveli Hotel in the shadows of the impressive Mehrangarh fort in the clocktower area.
C'mon Chris...... it's not brain surgery
With a full schedule planned we're straight into our first activity, Rekhas cooking class at a local family business, Spice Paradise. In her family home/spice shop/business, we join Rekha and 3 others in her tiny kitchen (about the size of our laundry) and for the next 5 hours we laugh and joke and taste and also learn some of the finer point of simple Indian style cooking and the preparing of masala tea, biryani, vegetable curry, naan bread, lassi and much more.
Rekha with her excited star pupil.
|Robyn...you're his mothers age|
|What colour do they call this city?|
|Not just a whizz in an Indian kitchen, also pretty flash on a zipline.|
Oh no, not the Delhi Belly!
A sleepless night, stomach cramps, headache and frequent trips to the toilet. Like I said I'm no brain surgeon, but these symptoms sound very much like Delhi Belly. Damn!!!
Off to see Rekha's husband who just happens to be some sort of Ayurvedic medicine man and I'm promptly prescribed some herbal grainy brew mixed with buffalo yogurt.
I haven't got time to be sick there's more of Jodhpur to see and do. So after a short rest, magic concoction consumed, an extra toilet roll in the backpack and a clenched sphincter muscle twitching, it's time to press on.
There's an old Indian saying that I just made up (complete with head wobble) that goes:
"The wery bad Delhi Belly will be finishing and you will be having the most glorious feeling knowing the flatulence you are passing will no longer be soiling your underpants."
And so the wery bad Delhi Belly did pass and I did in fact have the most glorious feeling. So endith the wisdom.