As hoped, our experiences in the blue city got better, however, they were still mixed. We ended up in a guesthouse recommended by our travel guide, which by now never disappointed us. However, this time there are a few adjustments to make. The guide didn’t tell us that this guesthouse is one of the noisier ones, but it is us to blame because we could have expected that given its proximity to the railway station. Johan didn’t sleep the first night due to the never-ending honking of arriving and departing trains, which didn’t bother me at all. At 4am I woke up as well from the noise of an Indian family just arriving at the hotel and thinking they were the only guests here, as they were shouting in the hallway for hours. By 6am we gave up trying to sleep and started to wash our huge pile of dirty laundry. This is the side of India we actually hate.
What we love though are the wonderful hospitable families on the countryside who just want to please and help us, who give us a shelter for the night, warm food and cordial smiles that make us just love them. As they would always tell us: “Our guests are like gods.” Or the people who cannot stop looking at us when we have a break or do some grocery shopping and with who we get quite annoyed with and sometimes even show our annoyance with a grim look so they shy away and stare at us from a distance. However, they would still wave at us after a long while when they finally have to move on and walk away happily when we respond, to make us feel very bad about our earlier behavior. Or when we once wild camped far behind the well of a small village and in the early morning a villager served fresh Indian chai – who cannot love these people? Or when we asked at a police station for a place to sleep and they offered us a room and a camping spot in their courtyard and within five minutes the English teacher of the local government school, who saw us arriving came over to offer us his room as he was about to leave to Jaipur. Do you need any more examples?
And then there are the really annoying Indians: the ones in guesthouses who think they are gods and own the world and behave as if they are the only ones on earth and all around them are their slaves. They are treating the hotel employees like shit, command and shout all day, leave a huge mess in their rooms (they usually eat in their rooms and often even cook in there and as they are used to drop garbage wherever they are, they would also just drop everything in the room, they don’t need dust bins). The second night at the Jodhpur guesthouse we went to bed early as we wanted to leave early the next day and another Indian family just shouted in the hallway again. As the noise didn’t calm down even after 20 minutes Johan got up to tell them that we are trying to sleep and they would not listen to him, but walk away. He of course made himself heard and told them again and they wouldn’t even apologize but just say “we just arrived and will be done in 10 minutes”. The noise went on for a felt eternity. Later on we stayed at a temple in Abu Road for little money and there were of course only Indian families around us who were noisy as well but also very disgusting. In the morning they brushed their teeth just in front of their rooms, even though there were bathrooms and sinks inside, they would just spit on the floor next to their room (actually more or less in front of our room). Garbage was thrown out of the room as there were no dust bins in the room, so after a few hours the outdoor gallery looked like a waste dump. Combined with the spitting spots everywhere, throat clearing noises and our dirty room it was one of a good deal worse places we stayed at (I have to admit that I had an upset stomach when we arrived and spent the afternoon vomiting so these observations might be slightly unbalanced, but I know Johan felt quite the same).
But now back to Jodhpur. It’s a city. It’s a very big city. It’s a very big Indian city and it’s blue, at least around the fort. I don’t think I have to mention that it is chaotic, because every Indian city is chaotic, so nothing special here at Jodhpur. By now we know that we like cycling through unspoiled landscapes the most and that we are more relaxed when we are sitting all day long on our bikes, enjoying the views of the passing and changing scenery. Hence we decided to spend just one day on sightseeing and continue cycling the other day. We visited the massive fort and spent almost three hours in there, it is amazing and beautiful and has gorgeous views over the blue city.
You might wonder why houses are ‘blue-washed’ here and I stole the explanation from another blogger (thank you adventures in wonderland and crazyambivert). Houses used to be coated with “limewash” earlier. Since the climate is more of an arid type, the place is infested with termites, which would often destroy this coat. It was discovered that these termites could be repelled by adding copper salts to the limewash which produces a blue color, but is also more expensive. You would mostly find the houses to be blue near the fort because people belonging to the highest caste, called the brahmins (no more considered the highest caste) used to stay around the fort. Given that limewash mixed with copper salts was more expensive, only brahmins could afford to buy it then.
After visiting the fort we went with our tuk tuk driver to the bazaar at the blue city and the clock tower and ended the day with some housekeeping such as grocery shopping, writing, laundry and getting ready for our departure the coming day.
Happy New Year, we miss you and hope to hear from you soon! Thank you again for reading our blog!