November 28, 2010
I didn’t like Jodhpur too much. I’m glad I was there only for one day. I don’t know if it’s because I was very tired because I didn’t sleep much on the train and I might have had some fever, but people were particularly annoying. A man kept looking at me while walking in front of me, with a not-so-nice look, and I had to tell him to fuck off to make him stop. Kids kept coming to me asking for money and pulling my shirt. A kind man invited me to his blue house and at one point he asked to exchange one euro in rupee to pay for his wife medicines, a wife that was on the terrace sunbathing. Another guy started laughing while looking at me. The special saffron lassi is not that good at all. Restaurants are more expensive. So, nothing good.
The fort is nice, built by one of the many mahrajas. Jodphur is also called “the blue city”, because many buildings are painted in blue. A nice shiny blue. Inside and outside. In the past it was only brahmin houses that were painted in blue, one of the highest chastes; today anyone can paint his house in blue.
Now I am in Pushkar, on the shores of a sacred lake. People come here from far away to bath in the lake. I haven’t seen much yet, but the little I’ve seen relieved me. It seems a nice holiday resort. People is relaxed and happy. My room is beautiful, painted in lilac, with green, white and blue strikes. And a warm shower (at least the first two minutes). I haven’t had a warm shower in two weeks.
Pushkar is in Rajasthan, a region in the North-West of India, near the border with Pakistan. In Rajasthan you can also find Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, where I was in these last weeks. On the bus coming here we passed villages where the elder men were wearing turbans in the most bright colors. White, red, red with white dots, yellow, orange; fluorescent greens and fuchsia. Some women wore their sari (the long shawl that they wear on their head and that they knot around the waist) of a super bright yellow. At first I thought it was muslim women who wore the sari on their face, but it’s actually quite common, so to avoid men’s looks. But why do men have to look at women lasciviously in the first place? Why don’t they look at their dirty nails?
There were a couple of trucks on the road that had had an accident. It didn’t surprise me. Here the only rule is that of the strongest. The largest vehicle has all the rights. So when our bus was overtaking another vehicle, if from the other side a motorbike was coming, this last one had two options: either stopping or going out of the road. Pedestrians are treated even worst. Pedestrian crossings or not, it doesn’t matter. The problem comes when you have to cross a large road. To cross a road with many lanes you have to do like in that frog game on the Commodore 64, when you cross the first lane, than the second, you wait among the running cars that the third is free and so on (the same is in China actually). Roundabouts have no rules. You don’t actually do the whole tour if you just have to go left or right, bike or car or pedestrian. And you don’t need to stop to see if a car is approaching when you enter a new road; it will be their duty to see you and anticipate your moves and let you in. But the most dangerous remain overtakings. If there’s a bump or a bend, it doesn’t matter. If another truck comes from the other side you just slow down and go back to your lane. If it’s only a car or a motorbike approaching, it will be their duty to stop or go out of the road.
I was walking on the street and from an open gate I saw a group of people dancing at drums rythm. A bit further there was a procession, with drums and trumpets and people dancing. Men in the front, women following. At the very back, a guy on a horse, dressed like a Mahraja; he was probably someone important. On the side walked some poor guys carrying lamps that seemed very heavy. And behind them a chart with a generator, for the lamps. The noise of the generators fought with the drums, to see who could be heard more. At one point they stopped, while music and dances continued, and from a gate people brought yogurts, that here they call curd and that they eat at any time (it’s the main ingredient for lassi), to refresh the partygoers. I would have liked one too, but strange enough I wasn’t offered one. When the procession started again the street was full of the empy packages. I don’t know if it was a wedding or a religious celebration.
I went out for dinner, but I had to come back to wear some shoes, it’s too cold! Why? We are not that heigh.