Monday, October 31, 2011

Jodhpur, last tourist stop in India

All good things come to an end, and this day was my last of the package tour of India, except for delivering me back to the airport for the long, long flight home. The itinerary called for the tour to be on Saturday, but with an 8-hour drive from Udaipur, it was almost sunset when we arrived so no point in trying to see much.

On the way, Parveen stopped so I could get an action photo of a water pump. The boys drawing water came right over to the car when we slowed down, so I'm happy the camera worked before that. I think the dog stayed where he was.

The tour included the Mehrangarh Fort, with an initial stop at the Jaswant Thada, or crematorium, which includes memorials to deceased rulers and their kin, plus a building not quite a temple, and not quite not a temple. After nearly a week of hearing versions of Hindu history capsules, I had gotten to the point of nodding my head while thinking about something else. No offense to my friends here, but you can understand a tour guide's monologue can be intrusive, rather than instructive, if carried to extremes.

Given it was Sunday, a holiday after Dewali festivities, many people were visiting the historic sites and monuments. I seemed to have gotten farther from the central tourist routes to the Taj Mahal and sites neared to Delhi, so my American/European presence was noted and commented upon. Some people said hello, struck up conversations, asking how I liked India (here's where my practiced Hindi fell out of mind), and were happy to meet me. One guy turned out to be from Northern California (and later in the airport I met two people from Maryland - the SAP hat and bag were a tell-tale). Teenagers, on the other hand, may have said hello, but typically commented to each other about my presence.

When the tour was complete, we went into the city for a market walk. I'm not sure how the tour guide business operates here, whether the word about my likes and dislikes filtered around the network, but I was somehow steered into a textile building with floor after floor and pile after pile of fabrics like blankets, scarves, bedding and tablecloths. My pack is already overweight, and my budget is way over the limit, and after being shown sample after sample I tried to inch my way out the door. The salesperson, while very nice, persisted in asking me if I would buy gifts for families (and the non S.O.) before I could get a card and exit the premises. Everything was beautiful, intricate, seemed reasonably priced, but I was just not interested. I was not even looking, but apparently said "sure" when I should have said "no, not really." I captured a few seconds of his pitch on video, below.

After this shot, these tykes came over asking for money. Can't say I blame them.

Fort on a hill. Apparently Jodhpur and Jaipur duked it out, and the former won. So to speak.

I was struck by how obsolete and useless a grave site is, with a microwave tower for contrast.

City Palace in Jodhpur. Big cheese still lives here.

Makeshift shade. And it's much cooler now in October.

Carrying the laundry; not sure if this is before or after washing?

Good sense of color in the store decorator staffs.

These looked like melons for sale, but I'm fairly certain it is pottery.

Cab stand. "Follow that two-stroke!"

Store, power pole, trash fire. And some ubiquitous two wheel locomotion.

My tour guide said these were jute rope, but I think some may be synthetic.

Jodhpur market

I suspect these chilies are pretty spicy.

Fresh vegetables in the Jodhpur market, near the clock tower.


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