Woke up at 8am today, we spent over an hour on the phone last night to home using Skype.This is good as it only costs a penny a minute. We have been using the internet a lot, most days and it’s good to keep in touch with everyone. It seems weird though to think it’s nearly Christmas and cold and wet at home. I don’t miss any of that and I can remember thinking to myself every single day last winter that in 2006 I would be in India.
We have our breakfast and leave Pushkar at around 10.30, Iram seems pleased enough to see us and we set off for Jodhpur. The roads are absolutely terrible, some of them are no better than rocky tracks. We are traveling over The Great Thar desert and Iram estimates it will take us around four to five hours.
I talk to Alister and Maisie on the way about money and wealth, this is one of the topics that Ali has to cover for R.E in year 8 and his teacher has been very good and supplied us with the curriculum. Having seen extreme poverty first hand it is easy for them to make comparisons between our lives and the lives of some people here. I’m pleased that they can discuss these issues in a sensitive and thoughtful way.
We don’t see much traffic on the way, only a few camel carts and motorbikes. The car we are travelling in is a small Indian made hatchback, called Tata Indicia. We pass through tiny villages and I notice that many of the women have their faces covered. The children are working on the roadside and we see a little girl mixing cement. She is smaller than Maisie although probably older, it’s difficult to gauge the age of children here as they are much smaller than our children.
This also means that Indian people think that our kids are older than they are and I have caught a few young fellas looking at Maisie. The Indian people we have spoken to have guessed that she is aged 13 although she is actually only 10.
We stop off at a truckers stop, Simon suggests we have some lunch but I’m having none of it and tell them to make do with crisps, biscuits and coke. I will try almost any food and I’m not a fussy eater at all but I wouldn’t choose to eat somewhere like that at home and am not about to start in India.
Also of the 4 of us I am the only one to not have had even the slightest upset tummy and I guess that is through being fairly strict about avoiding badly cooked “western food” and being a bit picky about meat.
Another hour or so goes by, I’m quite an expert daydreamer and the time flies by. The kids are being great, we brought travel Scrabble, dominoes, Suduko and cards with us and bought mini chess and a Rubix cube here but we haven’t really used them so far.
We also brought a small radio with us and use Ali’s MP3 player as a transmitter and play our C.D’s through it.. Its quite surreal driving through the deserts of Rajasthan listening to The Stereophonics and Razorlight and what Iram makes of it I’m not too sure!
We arrive in Jodhpur, around 2.30pm and head for The Shivam Paying Guest House, this place was recommended to us by the Canadians we met in Agra and turns out to be as nice as they said. We agree a price of 1100 rupees (6.40) per night; this is for a huge room that we all share. After lunch in their lovely rooftop restaurant, we spend the afternoon generally lazing around. Ali practices his guitar and Maisie practices her Nintendo DS muscles.
We are all knackered and decide to have a quiet day; tomorrow we are going to Meherangarh. This huge palace/fort dominates the city and we have fantastic views of it from our hotel.
I have a shower and wash my hair, we have all showered every day even if the water has been cold (Often) but I was super quick this morning as we were rushing. The shower heads are all fixed and very often nearly all the holes blocked up but large buckets and jugs are supplied everywhere and the best way to wash is to fill the bucket and then pour the water over yourself.
We had some clothes washed at Pushkar and it feels quite luxurious to be clean with clean hair and clean clothes. I have been hand washing a bit of our stuff but as the easy things to wash such as knickers need the most washing and it is very cheap to have laundry done I’m probably going to give up on that.
Simon and Ali go out to get some supplies ie drinks, fruit, crisps and chocolate. We decide we are having Saturday night in, in front of the telly, only difference from home I guess is that we don’t have to go so far for take out and it’s cheaper and better than our local curry house2