A few friends and I spent last weekend in Johdpur, the Blue City.
We took the train-sleeper class there and Second AC on the way back. Ven Diagram time!
Closed and curtained windows
Sheets, blankets, pillows
sneezing, snoring, farting old people
Benches that can be seats or beds
Open windows to let fresh air in
cute old couples to sit across from
Lots of college-aged Indians watching Justin Beiber music videos on their iPhones and sharing them with us
Small Indian boy walking up and down the aisle wearing his mother’s heels
Men walking down the cars screeching “chaiiiiiii” “garam chaiiiiiiii”
conclusions: sleeper=more fun.
JODHPUR: So beautiful. We saw the Umaid Bhavan Palace: beautiful, built in the 20th century, small museum. The rest of the palace is royal residence and a hotel. You can see the hotel if you eat at the restaurant and spend 2000 rupees a plate.
Mandore Garden: King Louie’s court from the Jungle Book. Monkeys and all. Built in the 15th century. Tombs of royals and temples. We could freely roam through all of them (no charge) and climb up the twisting stone stairs to the balconies/roof with no railings and no surveillance. The phrase most often uttered on adventures like that is “We could never do this in the US.” Plus an Indian guy that wanted Sam to sign a 10 rupee note and “be in friendship with him”
Mehrangarh Fort: I am speechless. It is at the top of a mountain overlooking Jodhpur. We all did the audio tour so we were the nerdy white kids with headphones on in a sea (literally, if we didn’t hold on to each other we were swept away) of Indians. Gates and courtyards and battlements and the intricately patterned windows that don’t allow anyone to see in, but allow the women living in those quarters to see out.
On Sunday we met Megan’s host family’s aunt and nephew (Daksh. so. cute.) We had lunch at her house and it was DELICIOUS. Living with a family in India means you eat real Indian food every day. When you travel and go to restaurants the “Indian” food is BLAND. its all about eating in a real Indian home.
More Jodhpur adventures include my first true Indian shopping experience, where you stay in the store for 2 hours while they present all their finest tapestries to you, serve you chai and then bargain. We became regulars at a Lassi place, we sampled tons of sweets, we sat on the roof of our hotel, Megan became an honorary marwari woman and we had a 14-year-old rickshaw driver that had no idea where he was going.
ps: My internship is with the Jaipur Virasat Foundation and I will be back in Jodhpur with the foundation to work at a music festival! hooray!