Tuesday 08 November 2016 – Jodhpur, India.
I was up again at 6:00 am to get a final walk up to the camel fair in. I met Trev in reception and we walked to the small shop we went to yesterday to buy biscuits to snack on as we walked, and to get some small change to give to people if we photographed them. We split up at that point, I wanted to take a bit of a walk around the town to look at and were possible to photograph some if the buildings.
Once the town starts humming around 8:30/9:00 all those frontages turn into shops or stall holdings.
The streets were pretty quiet at 6:30 which was nice for a change. Like yesterday it was quite cool outside, cool enough for many Indians to be wrapped up in jackets and hoodies. I just enjoyed my t-shirt and shorts and the cool air. The town has some beautiful old buildings in it, a lot of them are temples, like the one below. When the streets are busy with life, stalls and the ubiquitous motorcycle I tend to spend all my time looking where I am going, rather than at some of the interesting things around me. If I ever come back to India I would like to come to Pushkar and see it when it is less manic.
After a quick circuit of one side of the town I walked over to the fair ground, the hot air balloons were back, but not attracting such a big crowd today.
I soon found Trev in the field we met the gypsy girls yesterday, he had promised to come back and photograph the last of them this morning. I said a brief hello, but not wanting to be constantly hassled by people wanting money or food I wandered off to where the main section of camel traders were where there we less beggars, but a lot more tourists.
It is really hazy today, I could not see this hills on the other side of the town and the air was rough, after an hour I was coughing and my throat was quite sore. I didn’t see much that I had not seen before so headed back to the hotel for breakfast and to get ready to leave.
It is still quite early in the morning, the breakfast fires are burning and the people and camels are eating breakfast. A lot camp under their trailer on the road side.
There was a minor panic when I was told I had to pay for my room and food in cash and I knew I did not have enough. This sort of info really should be on the booking website as I suspect it does cause issues when cash is not easily accessible. I had suspected this may be the case, so went to pay an hour before I had to leave. The ATM had no money, and the second machine took two attempts before it gave me some cash, there was a brief moment of nervousness. As I am travelling solo today I decided to not get much out, enough cash to see me through. I am glad I got some as the Indian Government changed the rules the following day, I wish I had gotten the full allowance!
The taxi ride from Pushkar to the station in Ajmer, 11 kms away, was not too stomach clenching, only one manoeuvre of overtaking a van that was overtaking a bike that was overtaking a horse drawn cart, while being overtaken by another bike – into the face of oncoming traffic. Whew.
I had a rather dull hour long wait at the station, no other westerners in sight, though I did briefly talk to a family from Delhi who had been down from Delhi for the festival. Thankfully I was not asked about cricket, my knowledge is very slim these days.
The train arrived a little early, I am in two tier AC class carriage, all my trips are in AC2. My ticket said carriage 2, so I waited where the front of the train should be and jumped into the second carriage, which was an AC2, my allocated seat was empty, Yay. But, hmm, so was the entire carriage. I thought that was great, a nice and quiet trip, no listening to other people playing loud TV shows on their phones, a real bonus.
Just as we were about to leave I was informed by the ticket inspector that carriage 2 is the OTHER end of train, about 20 carriages away. Fortunately after some consultation he let me stay as there was no time for me to get all the way to the other end before departure. Whew!
It was a rather dull ride, a lot of featureless plain in the 224km between Ajmer and Jodhpur. I wrote a bit, read a bit, dozed a bit and basically enjoyed the freedom of an empty carriage.
I arrived in Jodhpur about 6:30pm and it was already dark. I took a (ripped-off) tuk tuk to my hotel, which is very near the fort, in fact the fort looms over us, rather majestically I might add. I had dinner in the restaurant at the hotel and then spent the rest of the evening in my room catching up on photo editing and writing.
I am really looking forward to visiting that fort tomorrow!