A Plan Evolves.

Well the best laid plans of mice and men…..trouble is that after Goa I hadn’t really made a plan, I thought I would just wing it, and that is what is happening. Although, I did book a train from Jaipur to Mumbai on the 26th in order to catch the Heathrow flight on the 28th while I was at home in Ca. I had this vague notion that I would just spend a couple of weeks nomading around Rajasthan, visiting the famous Cities of legend, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer by whatever means presented themselves, train, bus or whatever.Things went a bit awry with the camera saga, I really miss it and am perpetually frustrated with the inexpensive replacement, dreadful shutter lag. I keep missing shots and the features are just inadequate. Stop whining Tim. Ok. Anyhoo, I really had not planned a stay in New Delhi at all, everywhere I read I was advised to give it a miss, I thought I might just go from Goa straight up to Jaipur, this would have been better, but fate intervened and to Delhi I went. I can’t say I enjoyed it, I found it exhausting, everything was such an effort, nothing was easy, it was horribly polluted, the poverty was appalling, the juxtaposed display of wealth and decadence dire, the hustlers overbearing, wandering the streets and alleys I was constantly overwhelmed with offers of which I know not what, I assumed an unatractive aloofness, it was the only way to survive, horrid and cold tho it sounds. Not me at all. Sorry, just telling it like it is. I’m sure you know there is a temptation to compare, I can’t, I simply can’t think of anywhere that compares, even closely. New York in the 70s before the cleanup when it was so filthy and everyone was so rude, maybe. No, not really. Sorry Delhi. Let’s move on.
The nomading plan came to a crashing, ignoble end when I enquired at the hotel’s travel desk for a train ticket to Jaisalmer, calls where made, no dice buddy. All Jaisalmer trains sold out for ten days, Udaipur and Jodhpur too. Well that certainly changes things. Hmm. I thought I would be smart and double check, tuk tuk trip to train station, where, through the hurly burly I did manage to determine that this was fact, though I could add myself to the wait list. Somewhat disconsolate I sat on a wall at the station reviewing the options, and watched the pretty ladies pass by! I can’t stay here for ten days, I could fly somewhere, though my destinations don’t have airports, so it would have to be somewhere different, Goa again ? Somewhere totally different, like a another country ? No, wait, I have a plan, let’s stick to it, A ROAD TRIP.
Inspired, I tuk tuk’d back to the Haveli, bounded into the travel office, well more shack really, and enquired about the possibility. Oh yes, they beamed, where do you want to go, where do you want to stay ? Fortunately I had done some homework and gave them the list of places I had highlighted in my book during a dull phase somewhere. While I was giving the guy the list there was another behind me, on the Internet, opening browser windows for each hotel and checking availability, smart operators these guys. Finished my list, much debating in Hindi, scribbled notes, a couple of phone calls, another gentleman was summoned, a car drew up outside. Finally head honcho says, write down how much you are willing to pay, I already knew so wrote it down, then he wrote a figure down and we compared. Ha, it was one hundred dollars different, in his favor.ok, I can live with that. Here is your driver, here is your car, when do you want to leave ? ! Whoa people, I only arrived a couple of hours ago from the horrible Best Western, today is Friday, how about Sunday. Sure, fine, no problem. So Sunday it is. To the Great Thar Desert I go. Time to get the Atlases out.
Amusing scenes in the old Haveli last night, I was quietly reading my book when a large bus pulled into the driveway and a motley crew of young persons fell out clutching shopping bags speaking with many tongues. They rapidly disappeared, re appearing minutes later dressed in their newly purchased finery. Wow, said I to one of them, glam night or what. Oh no she replied brightly, we are a group and this is our last night together. Turned out they were a G Group (Go India) with members from all over, Denmark, Sweden, France, Norway, Australia etc. Go India seems to be quite a progressive tour group and interestingly offer LBGT friendly tours. Off they went in a multitude of tuk tuks and peace descended. Dinner was fairly decent and I got to chatting with a couple of Dutch ladies on the next table, they found my new pink scarf worthy of discussion, so it was that and this and eating and a beer. I left before them and took to a chair in the wifi lobby. They joined me and they turned out to be a Mom and daughter, the Mom a goldsmith from Utrecht and she and her two sisters each have Ataliers, how exciting, always wanted to meet someone with an Atalier. I saw her jewelry, on her phone naturally, she saw wedding photos and the daughter went to bed. Turned out that they had been out bar hopping the previous night and had got so paralytic they had to sleep in the bar. Admirable. Then the G Group came back from their dinner and chose to sit with us, nice bunch of kids, about ten of them, but easy to talk to and no one tried to dominate, it was all very, um, harmonious. Everybody left for home this morning at five am. Loudly.

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The view from my chair. At the Bissau Palace Hotel, a Haveli in Jaipur.

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Car enthusiasts will recognize a Willys 6. The hotel will take guests for rides around the City.

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Meeting other guests on a terrace.

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A view from the unused Sunset Bar.

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Can you see those tiny dots in the sky? No, not splodges on your screen, they are kites. I had read about the Rajasthani affection for kites and tonight at sunset there were lots of them. It’s real, I am here.

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11 responses to “A Plan Evolves.

  1. Well this is very enterprising, hope you have a fun time – suppose it is tooooo boring to enquire about insurance!?
    Could you get another rather better camera for this last bit, sounds very frustrating and we want photos, dammit, lots of ’em xx

  2. Wow, those pics of India’s slums are unreal, worse than the “favelas” of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Incredible the economic disparity in our own Marin county and we are a small reflection of the world. Sounds like your trip is going well, if not seamlessly, full of the requisite ups and downs. Glad to hear you are meeting the citizens of the world and not to lonely. Can’t wait to see you approaching my front door with ball in hand….tennis ball that is for my Golden Doodle, Callie….whatever.

    • Wondering Jeannie how that will be, the day I cross the road, tennis ball in hand for Callie. Hope she will remember me and give me one of her huge doggie smiles. I think it will be difficult.

  3. Watch the sunset from top of the Aravali Range, and you’ll have a nice view of Pakistan too! Hang in there, Tim! The pictures are still wonderful, despite the camera issues. đŸ™‚

    • I will I will. I had put Mount Abu on the schedule, just for you my dear, but it was nixed by the planners as to far off the tour. Sorry. Will look forward to that sunset. Thanks.

  4. Oh dear. You sound a bit despondent. Am so sorry that you have had a bit of a blip in your marathon trip which seems to have been caused by your camera letting you down.Would certainly go and have words with the camera shop when you get home.Maddening.
    Maurice pleased with the photo of his car.We thought it might be an Alvis until we got your latest blog.
    Talked to Sally at lunchtime today re waterproofing wall of M’s bathroom.
    have had it redecorated in time for your visit!!
    We are about to find the Great Thar Desert in the Atlas and look up the definition of Atalier!
    Stiff upper lip and all that.
    Lots of love
    Mother and Maurice

  5. Hmm. It all sounds great, even the non-plans. I like the building photos, love architecture in all its forms. I really like the view from your chair. Your ‘road trip’ sounds great. Will google Atlases immediately! Stay safe.

  6. The Great Thar Desert is enormous! Don’t get lost!

  7. Sounds great Dad! Way to make lemonade out of lemons. I have a great picture in my head of you in your pink scarf chatting with people at dinner. Everywhere we go you are so good at meeting new people, so i am not surprised that this is no exception. Hope the road trip is fantastic!!!!

    • Yep, road grip is duly fantastic. Had a funny one last night, met a couple from Alaska who are going to Yelapa for Christmas. Small world. Had a great four hour stroll round the old city today, within the walls of Jaisalmer. Mind blowing. Now back on roof top for lunch and a nap. Talk of a desert safari tonight, I am reserving judgement. Saw you online at Skype once, but missed you.

    • Thanks Nat, always love your positive attitude. Things almost fell apart at the rail road station in Jaipur, amazing how a new plan just bursts into the old brain when challenged. The Flora T needs a wash, it’s getting a bit stiff !

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