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4th April 2009: The "Shortcut" To Jodhpur
Date Posted: Oct 10th, 2009 at 15:15 Comments (0)
Awake at 5am, it's not my choice, let's blame Jaipur's Hotel Saket, I venture out of the room onto the open ended corridors of Green Park Resort. The sun started rising from somewhere behind the hills and I watch 5 peafowl on the top of a nearby building walking around silhouetted against the brightening sky. On the other side of the hotel people are working in the fields tending an array of crops, possibly of dubious type.
The hotel's internet connection seems to be free and with no-one around I boot up the computer and log on. It's time for blogging to be done but first there's the matter of downloading a free virus checker onto the PC and eradicating the viruses/trojans gained in Bharatpur. Once this is done I can clean up the camera's flash card and finally upload some photos for the folks back home.
No breakfast for Jane this morning, let's blame Saket again, but the kids are hungry - they're always hungry it seems - and we amble up to the only-one-can-eat-at-a-time restaurant. The kids think all their Christmases have come at once when they spot Nutella & Banana Pancakes on the menu.
Happily leaving Pushkar behind we start the journey to Jodhpur, which I've mapped out already and am pleased we'll be travelling on some pretty good roads. Kamal's got other ideas though and soon the roads start crumbling away, then get better, then crumble away again. I start to convince myself that we're lost but at the same time I have faith in Kamal.
Finding a pack of Extra Strong Mints in my camera bag I offer one to Kamal, after asking if he likes mint. He's suprised by the feeling, "they're hot Sir", "would you like another one", "yes please Sir".
The train track crossing near Pipar Road station (I think) has its barriers down and we get out of the car to have a look at the train approaching. My chat with the locals about where we've been and where we're going is so relaxed, friendly and easy. Emilia "spoke" to some children her age and from the look of amazement in their eyes I guess they don't see many western girls Emilia's age. The speaking of course was limited to "hello" and "namaste" but no-one seemed to mind. I ask if I can take a photo, which I do before showing them the image afterwards; they seem pleased. Walking over to the tracks we watch the train pulling out of the station nearby and I take quite a few photos, realising that worrying about frames-per-second when purchasing a new camera is sometimes worth it. This experience has been one of my favourite so far, so simple but so lovely, I'll remember it for a very long time...especially as it turns out I've taken one of my favourite photos of the trip here (see Pushkar to Jodhpur blog article).
Five very hot travellers arrive at the Ratan Vilas in Jodhpur, 240kms in 4.5 hours, it's time for lunch as its already 2:15pm.
I've done a little research on Namaste's Jodhpur hotels and I'm very pleased we're at the Ratan Vilas. With its courtyards, gardens, veranda and also the nice furniture in the rooms, it's may kind of hotel. Our room is huge, possibly the biggest yet, antique furniture, comfy beds and a dividing screen between us and the kids
We just about catch the 3pm deadline for lunch which was served 'silver service' style. (Okay, it wasn't really silver service but it was the closest we'd got so far).
After a sleep, a read and a shower we go for a walk around the 'block' which proves eventful in that my guide book's map doesn't really resemble the road layout. We're on the hunt for the Bollygood restaurant as recommended by IndiaMiker Dhans in one of his many splendid journals that has made the planning of our trip so much easier.
We never find Bollygood but we have a slow walk around the area and seem to have become a focal point of interest for the locals. I'm sure they're staring at the Adonis that is me ( ) but Jane says it's probably the kids they're looking at ( ).
We get a little lost, in fact a lot lost but my macho-never-ask-for-directions once again works, thank God. Popping into the Reliance supermarket near the hotel provides another focal point for the locals, suprised perhaps that we're doing our shopping there. Provisions (read chocolate and crisps) purchased but they've got no water so we head to one of those little roadside stores that seem to be abundant in Rajasthan.
Tonight we ate in the outside courtyard at the hotel and although I didn't feel like eating the little food I did eat was very good. The waiters are very friendly and service is impeccable. My mixed tandoori platter was served with a sublime mint sauce. The best thing is the ambience though; eating outside by candlelight is a favourite pastime of mine.
Internet setup here is very good so a bit of blogging is called for and I catch up with all the nice comments from friends.

Tonight's Hotel: Ratan Vilas, Jodhpur
Related Blog Entry: Pushkar to Jodhpur
Related Blog Entry: Our Best Hotel Yet

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