Random thoughts and photos from Jodhpur and one day in Delhi

I had pre-booked a room in a small guest house for my first night in Jodhpur but ended up staying four nights just because the people who ran the place were so darn nice. The bed, bathroom, water supply, common areas and overall state of cleanliness and repair were truly awful. If you’re looking for a world class shit-hole in Jodhpur, you won’t find much worse than Baba Haveli. 

On one of my daily walks I came across the courthouse in Jodhpur.  Lawyers, advocates, stationers and stamp makers do business from desks set up under a shade structure beside the courthouse.  I love these funky painted desks and know they’d sell in Toronto’s retro furniture shops but I’m afraid the shipping costs on such bulky items would be prohibitive.

I could probably move these metal trunks as well but the army officers who use them are unlikely to sell at any price.

I didn’t get this gentleman’s name but he told me that he was a stationer. His entire stock consisted of a box of 24 cheap pens and a dozen or so plastic file folders. He makes a living selling these items.

I was under the impression that “same same” (but different) was a Thai expression but you hear it often in Rajasthan as well. After watching a dead body being carried through the Jodhpur train station, I asked if these people were traveling to a wedding or a funeral. It wasn’t clear if the two were related.  Several people replied, “same same.”  

This gentleman said his name was S S Karnawat and that he was an Advocate. He has friends who have moved to Vancouver and his nephew recently moved from Toronto to Windsor. “Like Windsor Castle,” he said. “Yes, same same,” I replied.

These guys were building an elevator shaft at the train station in Jodhpur. When complete, handicapped people will have a much easier time accessing the platforms from the overhead walkways. The workers, however, are still moving wet concrete one small metal pan at a time.

I’m eating and drinking street food daily and so far no issues!  Unfortunately I’m not losing any weight, either.

This is the office where foreigners with “work” visas must report every 30 days.  

Market produce is displayed on the ground alongside the cow patties but tea (something you soak in boiling water before serving) is sold from clean bowls in immaculate shops.

I suspect they do something to the ears of these horses when they’re young as this just ain’t natural!

I stopped for chai at this stall in a rather grim looking Jodhpur neighbourhood. The men who were chatting in the back room worked as groundskeepers at the nearby cricket stadium. They would have watched my videos of Burning Man for hours but I wanted to get moving as I was completely lost and it was getting dark.

The Duck Face is clearly an international pose.

Even the horses of Jodhpur love to pose! This guy whinnied when I walked past him on the other side of the street so I crossed over and approached him. He whinnied some more as he struck this pose. When I left, I said goodbye and he whinnied again. Next time I’ll shoot video!

This tailor was hemming and ironing pants.  Note the decal on the window.

These “goodfellas” were part of a band-for-hire. They were preparing for a wedding parade that I caught later that evening.

Wedding celebrations include a parade where the bride walks and dances and the groom rides a white horse. 

There’s one in every crowd!

McDonald’s was one for the few business that would accept a 2000 rupee note for a small purchase so I stopped in once. Or twice. Maybe three times.  The Chicken Maharajah Mac was tasty but it’s the “large” Oreo McFlurry (middle) that had my name on it. This would be considered kid size in America. The third pic is the regular size.  FYI: Ronnie doesn’t serve any beef in India.  

Open air restaurants are cheap and plentiful in Jodhpur. Here the daily thali special can be had for about $2.44 CDN, including a 750 ml. bottle of Aquafina.  The bill is delivered with a dish of what I’m told is fennel seed.  It tastes something like  Greek ouzo and would be consumed after a meal as westerners might take a handful of mints.

If you Google “clock tower Jodhpur” you’ll probably be served up with an opportunity to book tickets for the century old Ghanta Ghar, also known as the clock tower of Rajasthan. I don’t know who falls for these things but the tower is in the middle of the public market and it’s free to look at. If want to climb to the top, an old man at the base will ask for a donation of 10 Rupees (22 cents). No $30 advance tickets required! 

If I’m reborn I want to come back as a middle-aged Indian woman. No matter what the body type, everyone looks good in a colourful saree.  

I don’t know what to say about this one.  

There still aren’t official Apple stores in India but Steve Jobs’ face is everywhere.  This woman was selling posters with inspirational quotes.

Antiques and reclaimed building materials for export in Jodhpur.

Sweet chai makes up a good portion of my total caloric intake some days.  

Who could resist (knockoff) Spirograph for a buck?  Not me!

These horse drawn carts appeared to belong to rural people who were selling produce at the nearby Sardar Market in Jodhpur.

For a nation of tea drinkers they sure do love their Starbucks.  I’m sure SBUX is seen as a status symbol in this upscale Delhi shopping district.

Who came up with this idea of serving sealed cups of water on planes? I don’t know if this is limited to Asia or if its a worldwide trend, but airlines here often give you a cup of water that is sealed much like an individual serving of yogurt. The foil seal is so secure that I defy anyone to open one without spilling half the contents. The other half will be spilled when you hit even the tiniest bit of turbulence. What was wrong with small resealable bottles of water? 

Here’s one Delhi business that probably won’t be expanding to the US for the next four years.

When pre-booking a guest house it’s always a good idea to ask if your window is directly above a fishmonger’s stall.

Working class men appear to stop for a shave on the way home from work.  This Jodhpur barber shop was open at midnight. 

Side entrance to the courthouse in Jodhpur.

More cool desks and the water cooler outside the courthouse in Jodhpur.

Attention hotel door manufacturers: Stop putting the keyhole below the door knob. This might be acceptable if your target market is people 3″-6″ and under but the rest of us struggle to insert the key in the right place when it’s obscured by the knob and we’re standing in a pitch black hotel hallway as I did every night in Jodhpur.  (The photo didn’t turn out very well.)   

Few people in Delhi use the term tuk tuk to describe the three-wheeled motorized taxis that are the city’s main form of transportation for “the final kilometre.” It’s more common to hear them referred to as “autos” which is short for auto rickshaw. What some countries call a pedal cab is a rickshaw and what I think of a rickshaw (a man pulling a cart) is pretty hard to find these days. Just to clear things up, here are definitions of the most common forms of public transit in Delhi:

– rickshaw: 3 wheels, no motor 

– auto: 3 wheels with motor

– taxi (as shown above): the license plate is self explanatory 

– metro: 200 people jammed into a rolling aluminum canister 

– bus: similar to a taxi but often responsible for multiple deaths at one time

You can travel from the heart of the city to the Delhi airport in air-conditioned comfort on a dedicated line for 80 rupees or $1.73 CDN. Fares for similar distances on regular lines within the city are much cheaper (and slightly more chaotic).  

While train stations in India are pretty basic, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport was voted “World’s Number One” in 2014 and 2015. Trust me, Toronto’s Pearson International could take a few pointers.

So long, Delhi.  It’s been a slice.

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