Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Jodhpur, Delhi and Home - The Final Countdown

After a four hour drive we arrived in Jodhpur. It's much bigger than I expected but still has that small city in the desert feel. We rock into the RAAS and once again are blown away by a gorgeous hotel. This one is a city hotel and no where near as luxurious as the Serai. But compared to most hotels it is amazing. The view over the blue painted buildings (painted blue to honor the king) to the red stone fort is so lovely and it changes as the sun moves.
We decide to spend the afternoon/evening in enjoying the view, room service and the pool.
The next morning we were all keen to get out into the town. The people here are friendly. In fact I think they could have been the most friendly of the trip. When you get caught with a camera they asked you to take their photo. Not for money like in a few other places, but just so they could look at it on the screen. One woman dressed in a brightly coloured sari was standing in her blue doorway and caught my eye. She asked me to take her photo. Then she in invited me into her home to take more photographs. Her standing by a wall mural, her with a cow, her sister and photos of her photo wall which I think were dead relatives. She then gave me her name and address and asked me to post the photos to her, which I said I would. She held up a calendar asking when it would arrive. After assurances that it would be there in a few weeks I managed to get out with lots of hugs and thankyou's.
At one point Trish and Cassandra were negotiating with a shop salesman about a purchase and as I often have while waiting for Trish to complete her bits and pieces I wandered outside and sat on the step. This often leads to interesting conversations with locals or just some quiet time to watch the world go by. In a lot of ways these bits of the trip have been the most amazing. Having 10 minutes or 1/2 an hour to just quietly take this country in.
And as I sat there thinking about the people we have met and all the intricate and amazing parts that have made up my journey I started feeling so sad that it was almost over. I have many times, wished I could just transport my loved ones here with me and stay. Not forever but for a while. I have missed Andrew and the kids so much. But the day before I left a friend said to me "when you get homesick, pay attention for a moment and then let it go. In a few weeks you will be home and wishing you were back". I think that could well have been the wisest advice I was given.
After a full day of wandering the streets it was time to head to Jodhpur airport for our flight to Delhi and our last 2 days in India.
After a delay, we arrived as the sun was setting. We had orgainised to stay in an area called Manju-ka-Tilla. Apparently according to the travelers bible (the lonely planet) it was a quiet Tibetan corner away from the busy, bustling Delhi. As soon as we jumped in our prepaid cab I got a funny feeling this was all going to be a bit sketchy. We drove for almost an hour with the taxi driver playing rave bollywood type music, he spoke no English and so when we arrived on the side of the freeway with a hole in the wall he just looked at us and said "yes Manju-ka-Tilla!" we looked and Trish said "I'm not getting out of the cab" while I tried to explain to the cab driver that he needed to take us to the front of our backpackers. He kept looking blankly at us pointing at the hole in the wall. Finally a rickshaw driver arrived and told us that cabs were not allowed into the area and we needed to rickshaw it the rest of the way.
Nup, there was no way were were getting out of the cab in this dark area with loads of taxi and rickshaw drivers but no one else.
We used the rickshaw driver to translate to the taxi driver that we were going to find somewhere else to stay and could he start driving us back towards the airport. He didn't want to until we knew where we were staying an so after 45 minutes of us calling every place in and out of our budget in central Delhi we finally found a room. They spoke to our driver and negotiated our fee and off we went. Saturday night is the busiest night as far as traffic goes in Delhi so what should have been another 30 minute drive took nearly an hour. I said to Trish that all I wanted was a clean bed with a bottle shop next-door (which are few and far between in India) but sure enough, luck was very much on our side and the bed was clean ... And low and behold a bottle shop right next-door!!
We hung in Delhi for two nights. There isn't much to say about it really, except perhaps that it put me in the mood to go home. Or maybe I was ready to go home so I saw it through different (annoyed and tired) eyes, but I don't think so. Delhi was big and busy, the air was the thickest yet with pollution. The beauty of the smaller cities may have been there but I didn't see it.
By the time we jumped one the plane home, I was ready to leave, but I felt saddened that my time in India was over.
I wonder when I'll go back? I hope it's sooner rather than later. I can't wait to take AB and the kids over and show them what I saw, and see more for myself.
Before I went on this trip, a lot of people told me "you either love, or hate India". There is no doubt I am the former.
PS. I am home now and re-reading these blog posts I can see how long some of these posts have been (and how many spelling and punctuation mistakes there have been). If you have stuck with me through my journaling, thanks! If you haven't, I completely understand why :) It's good to be home, cuddling my kids and Andrew, and I still can't wait to go back.

2 comments:

Jo said...

Welcome back Leigh! I'm so glad you had a fabulous time. I've really enjoyed reading your posts, thank you for sharing your insights & experiences x

Wondering Willow said...

Thanks Jo. I really enjoyed blogging it. It kind of felt like I was taking the people left at home along with me. We did have a fabulous time but is great to be back home xx

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