lunching at a palace
31.01.2016 - 16.02.2016 80 °F
Today was a long travel day, but I enjoyed watching the farms and villages go by. Unfortunately, one of the ladies in the group is sick today. I understand she was up all night with diarrhea and vomiting. It is probably “Delhi Belly” which is much like “Montezuma’s Revenge”, just on a different continent. (or incontinent, as the case may be). I am very fortunate that I only have the last dregs of a cold.
In an effort to show us the “real India”, Parveen had the driver stop at a truck stop along the highway. Anytime the bus stops and the guide says she wants to show you something, much like lemmings, we all exit the bus with cameras in hand – even though we have no idea what could be interesting about a truck stop. And since I have never been a trucker, I can only guess that Indian truck stops are similar to American truck stops with one exception: I didn’t see any hookers there. The most interesting thing about this stop was the curious looks we got as our small herd of women got off of a bus and walked up to where a group of men are sitting on cots, cross legged, drinking chai, meanwhile some others are doing laundry. They just stared as Parveen talked to us about them. We must have been a curiosity to them because in India it would be very unusual for a group of women to be travelling together without men in the group.
Later, along the way we pulled off onto a narrow road that led to a village within which there is an old palace that is now a hotel restaurant. The bus dropped us off and we walked about ¼ mile down narrow alleyways only wide enough for a bull or a motorcycle, and the occasional American woman. It is a friendly, colorful, rather primitive village and it was really fun walking through it. Not so fun for a couple of the ladies who got rammed by an irritated bull. Fortunately for one of them, she was just bumped and pushed. But the other was lifted off her feet by the animal. They are both fine. It could have been much worse.
We had a wonderful lunch at the slightly rustic but beautifully painted palace. This is the home of the royal family who used to own the land for miles around and the villagers worked it. When the institution of “royalty” ceased to exist in India, those who were royal kept their palaces and were granted a generous stipend by the government. That stipend was revoked later so the royals needed income to maintain their family home. Many of them turned their palaces into hotels, as is the case for this particular palace. We met the son of the owner. His father is descended from the royals and is the leader of the village. After enjoying the best meal I have had in India, one of the staff showed us around the hotel and let us see three of the rooms. They were simple, spacious and clean. It could easily be the Third Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I loved it.
Our hotel in Jodhpur is new, big, and very nice. It looks like what you might imagine an old colonial hotel would look like when the British were in charge. One drawback is that it is located right under a military flight pattern. Jodhpur has a huge military presence probably because it is only 150 miles from Pakistan. Every once in a while a very loud, very low military jet flies over. (I am hoping they are Indian.) We have been warned that there is a wedding ceremony here at the hotel this evening and that they can be loud with partying guests until late in the evening. I don’t think they can compete with the Indian Air Force.