|From Jaisalmer we went to Jodhpur with 2 friends we made in Mumbai, Edd and Lucy. Getting in at 5am was killer and we all just slept until about 11. Our guesthouse is called hill view and for once actually does what it says on the tin. The view is amazing. Lots of houses in Jodhpur are painted blue. Indigo is meant to be cooling and repel insects. It is also the traditional colour Brahmins painted their houses but now everyone's at it. So in front of us is a sprawlling mass of bright blue houses tumbling down this horrifically steep hill. Tight winding streets full of people, tuktuks, cows, motorbikes and children playing. Behind us almost immediately are the awesome walls of Meherangarh, Jodhpur's intimidating fort. I can honestly say there is nothing more interesting than watching the sky change over this landscape.
We've been for a tour around Meherangarh, which was fantastic. There are handprints on the wall from the wives of a Maharaja. This was the last time the custom of sati was performed by royalty. The wives coated their hands in red colouring and placed their handprints on the wall leaving the fort for the last time to throw themselves on Maharaja Man Singhs funeral pyre. Inside, some of the palaces are astoundingly decorated walls with mirrors and gold covering the walls and ceilings.
We went to the public gardens and got scared by aggressive monkeys. Bought some ice creams and had these children staring so intensely at us that when Edd turned round and said "Boo!" they jumped a mile. Haha.
We went to a sort of modern palace. It was only 100 years old and was build by a maharaja when the farmers in the area had no work or money due to drought. He employed 3000 workers and it took 15 years to compelete. All in the name of job creation. Despite this philanthropy they don't let the plebs in. Part of the building is a hotel and when i walked toward the middle of the drive to take a symmetrical photo a guard blew a whistle at me. I was quite offended to tell you the truth. There was nothing to say you couldn't walk there. So I whistled back at him before taking my photo and making a swift exit of the palace. Snobby gits.
That was all yesterday. Today, Lucy and I tried to send a parcel each home. It took 2 1/2 HOURS to get our parcels sat in the pile to be sent off. First you have to get your parcel stitched by a parcel wallah and they seal all the seams in wax with a Jodhpurian seal. Yeah you know, like they did HUNDREDS of years ago in England. This is before you even get in the Post Office. Then a guy comes out with 2 forms and says we have to fill these in. So we spent ages having our parcels stitched and then have to remember every single thing thats in them. Err.. 12 bangles, 3 pairs of shoes, umm..one drum, 3 ornaments.. The value?? No idea! What they charged me or whay they're worth?! Your passport number, everything. Then you need 4 copies of these forms but they wont just give you 4, no. You have to go somewhere else and get them photocopied. There's not even a photocpoier in the building. Then you discover that air-mail will cost more than twice the actual value of the parcel and sea-mail will not get there before we do. What a choice. We couldn't be bothered anymore and got sea-mail despite some bloke's offers that if we gave a small donation to his family fund he could switch our parcels to the airmail bag and noone would be any the wiser.
So be prepared for a parcel arriving just in time for me starting uni!
Ash has gone to the market to get his hair cut. You just sit on the floor in the middle of the market and they get shearing. Sent Edd to take some pics which should be funny. We went to the market yesterday as well and I bought some bindis, some more shoes (I know it's becoming an illness) and some brown cloth soap off a hijra. Hijras are a caste of tranvestites, hermaphrodites and eunuchs.
On that note I'll say goodbye for now. We have a sleeper bus tonight to Udaipur with Edd and Lucy and then its the 19 hours back to Delhi before we say namaste to India. I'll be back before too long though. Loving it!