Observations From Jaipur, Jodphur and Jaisalmer

  • It’s a bit unnerving, but I’ve started writing this entry on a bus. No sooner did I take the laptop out than every awake eye around us started staring to see what I was doing. Still, I have no worries about safety as it is a full bus in the middle of the day and I will never see any of these people again once we get off and hop in a taxi to our hotel.

  • A view from inside the Mehrangarh Fort in JodhpurSince Jaisalmer is less than 100 miles from the Pakistan border, there is a lot of military activity in the area. We constantly heard air force jets flying overhead and saw countless trucks carrying soldiers, huge guns and cannons and I even spotted a military train with tanks. Both cool and scary.

  • It is often tough to tell who is helping us because they are generally nice and who is going to turn around and ask for money or some reward at the end.

  • There was a hotel called Swastika Hotel in Jaisalmer…hilarious! Check out a pic here…

  • When a hotel, guesthouse or restaurant is listed in Lonely Planet or a similar guide book it’s like gold for them. They advertise it on the sign, usually have better food, a largely white/tourist clientèle and always charge slightly higher prices…because they can.

  • I rode on the back of my first motorcycle ever…it was actually pretty darned fun!

  • There are monkeys all over the place, though they seem quite harmless.

  • My beard after 2 months of no shavingBefore I shaved it off I had a massive beard that was about two months long.

  • Shopkeepers often say whatever it takes to get your attention. As such, we often heard, “nice beard” or people seeing me with Carrie and saying “very lucky man.” In reality, their compliments are a way to get us into their shops.

  • Carrie and I both miss being able to communicate in the native tongue, like we could throughout Central America.

  • The roads are in extremely good shape…far better than Central America

  • Everyone has a cell phone, and you get service everywhere…even on the dunes in the middle of the desert on our camel safari

  • Sadly, we had our first theft in our guest house in Ranthambore, as Carrie had about $100 in Rupees and a $20 bill stolen from our room. There was no recourse we could really take, as we had a train to catch about 30 minutes after we realized it and if we missed the train we would have missed Avani.

  • With all the time we have to travel, we can occasionally take a day to do nothing and just refuel, which is great after the exhausting breakneck pace we often travel at. This was a luxury we did not have in Central America which led to us being completely burned out after three months…something we hope to avoid this time.

  • Transportation on the streets of India

    Everyone honks their horns at all times to let other people know they are coming, since, as I mentioned last time, no one ever stays in their lane and traffic is insane at all times. As a result, all cities suffer from massive noise pollution.

  • One side effect of the cow being sacred and it being illegal to move them out of smaller towns and cities is that there is cow poo everywhere…often on the bottom of our shoes.

  • The Mumbai attacks greatly hurt tourism, which is both a bad thing for the country and a good thing for us, as there are less tourists around.

  • It may be a sweeping generalization, but it seems that all Indian men freely grab and adjust their crotch freely, in public and with no regard to whomever is watching.

  • We heard that it would happen daily, but it wasn’t until nearly our third week that someone spent an entire train ride staring at us simply because we were white.

  • According to Carrie, a local Indian person snapped a photo of me while I was passed out with my mouth open and head back on a bus. I think it’s great, considering how many photos I sneak of the locals, that they do the same thing with me. I wonder if my picture is on someone else’s blog somewhere 😛

  • If you haven’t already, go see Slumdog Millionaire. It’s fantastic!

  • For a great read about poor life in India, read White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

 

The outer walls of the Jaisalmer Fort
The outer walls of the Jaisalmer Fort