Jodhpur, India (Day 8)

This morning we got to sleep in an hour later than usual… wohoo! So I’d gone the whole trip until now without getting sick, but was just a little sick this morning… go figure.. right after the first time I ate dinner at a hotel. That said, I think it was from something I had when we first arrived at the hotel/camp. All the hotels offer small glasses of something when you walk in, sometimes red liquid, others green or blue. This time it was red and I figured I might as well try it once. I tried a tiny sip and it tasted OK, then as I took a bigger sip and was about to swallow, I looked at Hajar and realized it might have water in it, and froze. She looked at me and just said, “..Spit it back.” So I did. Sure enough.. next morning.. a little sick. Boo. Not too bad though.

During our several hour drive back to Jodhpur, I slept since I was up late, as usual, catching up on this blog the night before. When we stopped for a break, I started to buy a Pepsi that was labeled 25 rupees, but the place wanted 100 so I went without. That’s definitely something to know if you visit India.. many items, including packaged food, have the price printed on them on the back.

We keep seeing barber shops out in the open, and I haven’t been able to catch a picture of one yet. At one point in Jaipur, we were going around a roundabout and near the inner edge of the circle, there were multiple men sitting on the ground, shaving the faces of other men! The closest shot I’ve gotten was not on the street, but in a very small room of a building, shot from the car with my cell phone.

Barber shop

Once we were back in Jodhpur, we went to a shop called MV Spices that Hajar had found online so she could purchase some spices. From what the store girl told Hajar, she’s one of seven daughters who took over their father’s spice business after he passed away thirteen years ago. Per usual, we were told the prices were “very good” and were fixed. Per usual, but after longer haggling than the norm, the prices weren’t fixed after all. Each time after haggling once the deal is done, we’re (politel) asked, “Are you satisfied, ma’am?” Another if-you-come-here tip: just because a store says “fixed prices,” doesn’t mean they’re fixed. Just because someone says prices are fixed, doesn’t mean they’re fixed. From what I read before visiting, government stores and some higher end stores will have fixed pricing, but not other stores.

Inside of MV Spices

Just like Maharani Spices, her purchase was placed in a cloth shopping bag to take home.

bag with spice purchases

A couple of days ago, maybe an hour after purchasing several items from Maharani Textiles & Handicrafts, I realized that they hadn’t finished the scarves as they promised while giving their lengthy sales pitch. Without finishing, the scarves will unweave themselves, and I wanted to exchange one scarf I had for one of another color. So we told Gajraj we needed to return to Maharani and he asked his friend to lead us back through the Sardar Bazaar to the store. I had folded my neon pink scarf up and put it carefully in the top of my purse before we left the hotel, and on the way back to the store, it got stuck in the zipper! I was SO upset.

After trying myself for a while, a man at the shop trying, and Hajar trying to get it unstuck, she succeeded but it was left with an unavoidable hole near the end of the scarf. They thankfully replaced it, and allowed me to exchange the other scarf.. I felt so bad that I’d ruined the other and they replaced it, I didn’t ask about the finishing. They took Hajar’s scarves into another room and returned maybe ten minutes later with them.  The scarves looked exactly the same. I don’t think they did anything to them, and am hoping they didn’t downgrade them while out of our sight. If you go to India: resist the urge. Don’t buy from the stores a guide or driver takes you to. They get a decent commission from it so you pay more. Go in, enjoy the show, take note of the pricing and lessons on detecting quality, and go elsewhere.

Blurry logo

On the way to dinner, we saw the logo for our company on multiple eyeglass store signs! We tried to get a picture but unfortunately were unable to get a clear one.

For dinner we returned to Gypsy (upstairs version), but it wasn’t open yet. True to something else I’d read about India before coming, there were two restaurants called Gypsy right beside each other, one upstairs, one downstairs, but without any visible shared passageway…I’m still confused about whether or not they are related as each had a totally different feel. The one that we thought was well rated on Trip Advisor was upstairs through a totally separate entrance, but just below it there was an almost fast food restaurant, same name, same branding, with the same Trip Advisor signs. The weird thing was that the Trip Advisor pictures were of the upstairs place, not the downstairs one. Anyway, I decided to order a Baby Corn Sizzler, a Chinese-Indian fusion dish my friend Vidur had recommended to me. Hajar looked at the menu for a while and decided to go upstairs when that Gypsy opened to have thali again. The sizzler was great! True to its name, it came in a little sizzling cast ion skillet with cabbage leaves holding everything in. It had a base of rice and ramen-like noodles, then red onions, baby corn, peppers, paneer and gravy. It was really good!

Baby corn sizzler

When I was almost finished, a big group of teenagers walked in. I was sitting at one of the few remaining empty tables in the place, which was two booths backed up to each other. A girl came over and asked me something, and I told her they were welcome to sit there. After saying whatever she was saying twice, she got irritated and told me, “that wasn’t what I was saying, never mind,” and left. OK… Sorry for trying to be helpful? A minute later, probably seven teenagers piled into the two booths where I sat, filling all the space except for the seat directly across from me, and more piled into the only other open booth in the restaurant. I felt bad that they were cramming in so kept trying to get the waiter to come let me pay so I could leave and find Hajar. The girl to my immediate left sweetly asked if I was uncomfortable, and I told her I just felt bad that they were cramming in, and that I would leave so there would be more space. While I was paying, Hajar got back from her dinner and we went to the car.

10th Feb: Day 08: Jaisalmer Jodhpur (300 KM)
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel & drive towards the Jodhpur. Check in to Hotel Park Plaza.
Later proceed for half day city tour of Jodhpur visit the Meherangarh Fort, situated on a low sandstone hill. The palace apartments like Sukh Mahal, Phool Mahal, and Sheesh Mahal etc are beautifully decorated and house Jewellery, costumes, armoury, palanquins, howdahs and other remnants of the past. See the Jaswant Thada, an imposing marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II built in 1899. Later the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs were also built here. Also visit Sardar Bazaar and Clock Tower markets where you can see the vegetable, spice, Indian sweets, and textile and silver markets. These colourful markets with tiny shops dot the narrow lanes replete with woodcarvings, wrought iron, lacquer work, silver and ivory ornamentation and leather handicrafts.

Overnight at Jodhpur