Our trip to the third ‘pur’, Jodhpur turned out to be another ripper. The ‘tourist’ buses in India are quite similar to the buses in Nepal only they also offer sleeper! This is a pretty cool feature where on the long overnight trips you can pay a bit extra for a single or double bunk (sitting above the chairs). So now that the coolness is covered let’s cover the not so coolness of Indian tourist coaches. They always seem to run 1-2 hours longer than claimed, stops are regular but why we are stopping is usually unclear (toilet breaks are not that popular), seat bookings don’t mean much when the attendant is trying to sit you on the back bench seat (hold your ground and demand your booked seats, unless of course you want to sit crammed in the back for 8 hrs) and sometimes the chairs are stuck in the layback position cramming the legs of the poor soul behind. You can just imagine the poor locals who have to take local buses, which make tourist buses look like maharajahs carry carriages.
So after our 8 hours journey we jumped off the luxury bus and into a rickshaw to find a guesthouse. We eventually found a great little Japanese/Indian guesthouse in a quiet area, but only after having to threaten no pay for our rickshaw driver after he took us not to the clock tower but to a “very good, cheap guesthouse” where his friend was conveniently waiting for us.
A note about this scam – Its best to get dropped off near a monument or site close to a guesthouse area, rather than to a guesthouse. The reason being, rickshaw drivers get commission from hotels/guesthouses. So, who pays? Not the hotel but you in your accomodation cost. Rather than your room costing 300rps it now costs 500rps. Although rickshaw drivers get paid by you once they want more and our guy even called ahead to his friend, which we suspected may be the case even when we requested the clock town so be firm and demand to be taken where you want to go!
Jodhpur, or ‘the blue city’ actually is blue and the views of the city and the huge fort that grows out of a stony mountain high on the horizon are spectacular. Jodhpur felt less busy than Jaipur but at the same time more manic than Udaipur so for us it felt kind of in between. The old city is where a lot of the guesthouses are and its a good spot to get a feel for local living. The narrow streets are interesting to walk around and you can come across kids playing cricket and cows tethered for milking, although you do have to be careful of the local dogs as we ran across a few that wanted to eat our legs. We also came across a few young men intent on staring or commenting sleazily in Lauren’s direction, which has been pretty common in India. It’s funny the lack of respect many Indian men have for women, or maybe it’s just tourists in general…
The last afternoon of our leisurely stay in Jodhpur saw us take another walk through the blue alleyways of the old city and up to the fort, where we took the complimentary audio guide (worth it) and wandered for a couple of hours amongst the grand battlements, rooms full of royal furniture and canon ball damaged walls. This was one of the more impressive forts of our trip through India and a great way to finish off our Rajasthan adventure.
Before we jumped on our overnight train to Delhi though we had to have lunch at the omelette shop, a tiny little corner store where the same man has been making omelettes for 30 years. He assures us that he sells 1000 eggs and cooks 1000 eggs every day. The masala cheese omelettes are damn good too and come equipped with a gooey mayonnaise like centre smooshed between two pieces of bread. So, if you don’t mind questionable cooking conditions, sharing your stool with the occasional passing cow, speeding rickshaws and suicidal motorcyclists it is definitely worth a visit.