Jodhpur

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After Udaipur

the lake city

how was Jodhpur going to stack up?

Would it be blue

or only as blue as Jaipur is pink?

We had to get there first

and not being any trains direct was a problem

in high season India

you need to book trains

in advance

well in advance

we get on a bus

on the outskirts of town

a sleeper bus

with curtains and windows to stop us falling into the aisle

but we wake at 5am in some place

other than the main bus station

no one having woken us

alone but for the sleeping bus boy

and a solo autorickshaw driver

having us at his mercy

we resisted his price

till he looked like he was leaving us

in the dark

on the street

in the middle of nowhere

but he took us into town

to the right hotel

8 k’s away

my compass telling me

which way was north of the gate

rickshaw drivers in Jodhpur having the reputation of taking tourists

to their own favoured hotel 

and

the Shivam Paying Guest House

was open

least the doors were

and our rickshaw driver woke the doorman

though we didn’t want him to

it was 5.30am

we dozed

for two hours

went to the restaurant for another 3

finally got a room

slept

showered

wandered past the hectic ClockTower

got a rickshaw to the train station

and found there was 1 tourist quota ticket to Mumbai on the 31st

we needed two

try the 30th we asked

you said the 31st she replied.

Yes.

I have two

okay then

us holding our breath

confusion reigning

you need a passport xerox

okay, where from?

across the street

we go back

the power is down

queues of people waiting for xeroxs

and incredibly we find a hotel with a back up power supply

rush back with the copies

fill out forms

buy the ticket

but it’s sleeper

when she said there was 3AC

so we have to change and confusion still reigns

behind the counter

and the supervisor changes it

miraculous that after a couple of weeks of trying

we finally get the ticket to Mumbai

international tourist quota works if you’re not pre-planned

like us

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eating in a great restaurant the first night

we go up to the fort at leisure

the 15th Century Mehrangarh over 120 metres above Jodhpur the Maharaja active in restoring it funding trusts

seems like a good guy

the fort full of palaces, carvings, courtyards, musicians and seven gates

and lots of local tourists

 

walking back through the far edge of town

stuff coming at us

turban sellers

spices

where are you froms?

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eating brunch in one of the myriad rooftop Jodhpur restaurants

hoping Jodhpur will grow on us

like places do

when you take the time

have the time

to see the back streets

winding

discovering more as you go

seeing things you didn’t see the first time

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going up the fort again

to the museum

the audio included in the price

only really reinforcing that guides overwhelm the senses

mine anyway

I have trouble absorbing the atmosphere of a place

when there’s too much information coming at me

what do I feel about it?

that’s the thing

the information can come later

still the audio is good

with an exquisite voice

spieling details about the moghuls

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the Johkar restaurant is great

view, service, food and price

and we’re feeling our way by day four

trying out the omelette stand by the north gate

Viccky’s

and it’s good

masala cheese

and even the noise we start to get used to

maybe even the cowpats

and autorickshaws

 sussing that the older drivers are so much better

offering fairer prices

more realistic prices

and driving much better

safer

they’ve lived longer

that says something

the younger guys crazier

same goes for motorcycles

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going up the Clock Tower for a birds eye view

of the market

it’s chaos

and it’s life

it’s Jodhpur

Rajasthan

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and it’s New Year’s Eve and the Maharaja is having a Polo Day Out

and we get a rickshaw out there it’s looking good there’s marching bands, horses of course

the Maharaja throws the ball in

it’s all action, a beer stand but wouldn’t you know it

we have a train to catch 

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~ by Drifting, Rambling on January 17, 2014.

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