Jodhpur – the Blue City

Jodhpur-header

The train to Jodhpur

The train from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur took 5 hours arriving at about 22:45. With the poor sleep that I’ve been getting the motion of the train almost immediately made me sleepy. Luckily i had the company of an American girl and a Dutch boy. When they weren’t there i resorted to loud blues on the iPod to keep me awake.

Indian trains are pretty much on time. Which is good because there is little to announce at which station you’ve arrived. At Jodhpur I had to ask an Indian guy who asked a local. The reply was “next station”. Well the train seemed to be waiting an undue length of time so I put on Google’s location device and found that this station, which ever it was, was only about 1. 5km from Stops Hostel, where I’d booked a couple of nights. I hopped off and got a tuk-tuk.

One thing about tuk-tuk drivers that you can count on is that they will quadruple the fare. They appear determined to put their client in the hands of Uber and Ola. Nevertheless I got a tuk-tuk who did overcharge me a bit and then tried for 50/- more at the hostel. I explained that we’d agreed a price and that’s what he was getting. His comment was “I give you Indian price, ok”. “Indian price would have been half” I said as I left.

Stops Hostel in Jodhpur

Stops Hostel Jodhpur
Stops Hostel Jodhpur
Stops Hostel in Jodhpur is well worth a visit. If you are a good sleeper, which I’m not. In none the hostelworld, booking.com type sites do they mention the Imam. Granted, the description does say “Address: Stops Hostel Jodhpur, Plot No. 1, Fort Road, Paota, Opposite Irani Masjid, Next to Balaji Temple, Near Ship Building, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342001”. It doesn’t say that Irani Masjid is a mosque. 05:00 the faithful are called to prayers. Not my favourite part. But the hostel is super clean. Hot water is nice to have. On multi levels with a roof terrace and an attached restaurant , Stops was a nice place to meet other travellers. If you can get a back dorm, away from the speakers attached to the mosque, it would be pretty much a perfect hostel. The restaurant was a tad overpriced but the food that I ate, was good.

Jaswant Thada cenotaph – Jodhpur

Jaswant Singh II, founder of Jaipur
Jaswant Singh II, founder of Jodhpur
On the net I couldn’t find that much to do in Jodhpur. There is the Mehrangarh fort of course, and the text online pushed the Clock Tower over which I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm. Location Google showed me the way. The fort was only a couple of kilometers away, I’d walk. It was a very simple walk with lots of views over the city and some photos to be taken. I passed a huge bronze statue of a Maharajah which needed inspection. This turned out to be man credited with founding Jodhpur, Maharaja Jaswant Singhji II. Tripadvisor comments say it’s difficult to get there but I get the impression that’s in a car. Walk, if you can, you’ll see more.

 Cenotaph to Jaswant Singh II, Jaswant Thada
Cenotaph to Jaswant Singh II, Jaswant Thada
By the side of the Maharaja is a cenotaph. A cenotaph to Jaswant Singh II, Jaswant Thada. It costs 30/- to enter and they charge 20/- for a camera. Pretty reasonable. It’s also worth seeing. A beautiful hand carved marble cenotaph and gardens. I spent a long time there in its relative quiet and away from horns. There are good views over the city, a huge wall that straddles the mountain ridge.

Mehrangarh Fort – Jodhpur

Mehrangarh Fort - Jodhpur
Mehrangarh Fort – Jodhpur
On leaving the cenotaph I carried on up the hill to a Y shaped junction and took the left towards the Mehrangarh fort. It’s a colossal fort perched on top of a hill. Almost red in colour, it’s hard to photograph without lens distortion making the lines curved. Again I decided not to go in and spend too long looking around. Maybe I’ll leave that for the next time. This time I just wanted to get photos of Mehrangarh fort and also get down into the blue city to take more.

The Blue City – Jodhpur

The Blue City of Jodhpur
The Blue City of Jodhpur
Along side the south side of the fort is a footpath. If you follow that it takes you down into the blue city. Suddenly there are blue houses, then shops. The blue is intense. Keeping to the more main roads, if you can really call them roads, they deserve a word of their own, you come down off the hill and into a bustling part of town. I found another another stepwell. Children were throwing themselves into the water from silly heights. Then there was a Ganesh festival with paint throwing. Loads of tractor drawn floats with decorated trailers and Ganesh in prominent view. Many equipped with huge sound systems. Then the schools came out and a Muslim funeral parade started and there was chaos. People everywhere. And then I was silly.

Street food Jodhpur
Shouldn’t have drunk the water
I stopped for food. A samoosa and something whose name I’ve yet to find out made with a chilli in batter with spuds. The stall holder was a nice fellow who spoke good english. He explained some of what was going on while I ate. On finishing and without thinking I asked for pani, water, and drank the contents of the metal mug. Wrong move, as I was to find out some time later.

I woke the next day knowing something was wrong! Not a pleasant trip to the bathroom. Followed a while later by the same. Time for anti-diahorrea pills before the Udaipur bus at 13:35. The morning followed in the bathroom – pill game until I left for the bus station some 50/- distant. Warned not to engage a tuk-tuk driver in front of the hostel because they charge more, I mooched off down the road a way. The first tuk-tuk out of the area wanted 1000/-! I just looked at him with my mouth open and said “you’re out of your mind” and walked off. The second guy charged me 50/-.

The bus station in Jodhpur was one of the more organised that I’ve been to. I’d been told that the Volvo buses park off to one side, and there indeed was one. I was quite early so I bought bananas and a fairly dry potato breakfast dish called Poha. Something fairly inert and maybe binding. Still worried, I ate the Poha and a couple of bananas and one more pill. I approached a man possibly my age and asked if he spoke english? He did indeed and extremely well. He wasn’t sure but he’d ask the driver when he passed by. Well it was about 12:15 and I had more than an hour, so we did “world’s problems ” “asian and western differences” a bit of “religion” and along came the bus driver who told us there was no bus to Udaipur at 13:35.

Volvo office immediately. Nice man made a phone call whilst finding me on the computer. Had a chat and said “come”. I went.

In a different part of the bus station administration, my man was in deep discussion with a new man who had also found me on the computer. I showed him my ticket and compared its contents with his monitor’s contents, fired off some hindi and I was instructed to “come” again. Out into the main bus gladiatorial area again. I was marched to stands 3 and 4. “Here or here at 16:30 – computer error. Thanks 🙁 I returned to the company of the elderly man where we philosophised, and fantasised until he had to go. And I waited for the bus to Udaipur and thanked my lucky pills I was still in normal mode.

I was seated next to a young army sergeant, or “holder” as they seem to be called here. Now I’m not sure if that is how you spell it, I suspect not, but that was how it sounded to my ears. His english was pretty good and we chatted for a while until both of us started to nod off. This bus wasn’t going to arrive in Udaipur until 21:30 – 22:00. About two thirds of the way we stopped. Probably near Rajsamand, where I was told by the army that I could get of, go for a pee and have a chai. I got out and stretched my legs. My stomach was going to remain bathroomless on this voyage. The bus honked, we boarded and we set off on the last leg. Macey Gray helped.


A day in Delhi dehydrated

Indian palm squirrel

Lazy Delhi day

I was lazy again this morning and ordered in the breakfast. I hadn’t slept too well, got to sleep after 02:30 and woke at nine-ish. To try and clear the cobwebs I figured I’d walk in one of the many Delhi parks opposite. On the map it looks like a big park with a road going through or over it. It isn’t, it’s two parks. The nearest is well kept and the second is running amok. You can see it on the map opposite the hotel marker.

indian palm squirrelThe trees are full of Indian palm squirrels. They aren’t too worried about people and you can get quite close to them as you can see from the photo. Their bodies are about 18cm long and their tails are the same. They are sacred to Lord Rama. You can read the wikipedia entry I’ve linked but in a nutshell the light coloured markings on its back are from where Lord Rama stroked him.

The park workers around this part of Delhi seem to predominantly be older women in saris. They sit on the ground weeding and sweeping. The men seem to do the cutting of bushes and moving water lines around.

Delhi is humid in the monsoon season

It’s fiercely humid, we’re in the monsoon season here. One of the most humid countries I’ve experienced. The only others that match it were Brazil and Malaysia. And I thought it was bad in Fuengirola. I’m sweating like mad just breathing and I’m having to change twice a day to get rid of the soaked clothing. At least the clothes dry quickly.

flowering treeHaving walked around the two parks for about an hour I knew I needed to get some water in me to compensate for the sweat loss. I could feel myself getting dehydrated. My tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. So I wandered off to the market square that I mentioned in the Imran post. On the way I passed a small shrine set up to Ganesh. The poor God’s trunk was broken off and an urge came on me to get some clay and fix it. I thought he was rather beautiful in his decrepitude.

Shrine to Ganesh
A sorry God Ganesh

The guy at the water stall is beginning to know me. I bought 3 litres, a one and a two, and did the one litre bottle without stopping. I really needed it. As I had another dental appointment booked for 15:00 I came back to the hotel, showered and processed these photos. I had met a tuk-tuk driver with good english on the way to the market and he’d promised to collect me at 14:15 to take me up to the clinic. I wanted to get some grub in me before I went in.

the hot pot
The Hot Pot for great curries
mango drink
Mango drink that’s laced with sugar but yummy
Rajy turned up about 15 minutes early and waited outside for me. I’m probably going to take a spin with him on Sunday to see some of the sights of Delhi, but that’s to be confirmed. He dropped me at the HOT POT, the street vendor I ate at one of the first days. I chose the egg curry. Nearly defeated me again and blew my head off at the same time. Having about 35 minutes to wait I bought a mango drink (600ml again, laced with sugar as I subsequently found out) and sat in the park in the shade of the trees cooling down and drinking it. Have to admit it did taste good and knocked the spots of a coke.

Today’s lunch – 70¢

Curried eggs.

curried eggs
Today’s lunch

One of the many Delhi parks

Delhi parkDelhi park

The dentist laughs

The dentist laughed. The turmeric (curcuma) in the curry had stained the temporary crowns bright yellow. She’s replaced them. It feels weird to have teeth again.

So tomorrow is the big day – bone grafts and the implant pins. Apparently, from the scans and imaging I’ve had done, they can see that my bone has deteriorated and that there is very little space to put the implants without damaging the sinuses. Hence the bone grafts to build up the height. I don’t know what they are going to use, I’m assuming it’s a generic bone material.

I’ve been told to have a big lunch because I suppose I won’t be able to eat for a while. Ice cream I think is on the menu for tomorrow.


Street vendor for food.

greater kailash road

Street vendor for breakfast

greater kailash market square
Streets empty at 10 am
I went in search of breakfast navigating the traffic with no mishap, walking in the road as the indigenous people do, down to the marketplace where Imran took me last night. It seems that it is a night time or afternoon place as most of the shops were shut when I got there at about 10:00. I bought my breakfast from a little street vendor in roadside food stall set up under the trees and sat by the roadside eating it.

street vendor breakfaststreet vendor mango juiceI don’t know what it was but it was very spicy and cost me about 10p. It seemed to be a slice of bread filled with vegetables and covered with a thick batter of egg. It was very good and pretty filling too. I then went in search of a drink. I was tempted by the coconut milk served in it’s green fruit case but I opted for a huge mango juice that was considerably more expensive at about 40p. But it was delicious. I’m sure that as I get used to this country the prices will come down.

Dental appointment

dr-priyank-sethi
Dr. Priyank Sethi
I had my first dental appointment at 14:00. Thinking they’d have a quick squint in my mouth and I’d be out of there I hadn’t bothered to eat. I was seen fairly promptly and it took nearly two hours. My dentist is Dr Priyank Sethi a friendly, approachable, clearly spoken man that took the trouble to explain a lot of things to do with the various forms of dentistry and implant options that were open to me. I liked him immediately.

Street vendor for lunch

I was sent out with one of their staff to have a 180º scan made of my mouth (it cost £5) and told to go get lunch and come back at 16:00 for the evaluation results. So I shot across the road from their practise and had an egg curry from another street vendor. His operation was on a much more professional level 😉 That cost me about 34p and it very nearly defeated me it was so big. Talk about spicy, aside from the relative humidity, up in the probable 90% area, I burst out in a formidable sweat. Needing to get some fluids in me I searched out another street vendor that sold coke for a bit of a sugar/caffeine jolt. The bottles here are 600ml, not half a litre, and was charged the princely sum of 40p. I shall be going back today when they start my dental treatment.

MacBook Pro gone wrong
New MacBook Pro needing repair after less than 2 months.
Because I’d eaten so late I decided to give the evening meal a miss and get on with this blog only to arrive back at the hotel to find that my brand spanking new MacBook Pro had developed a problem. It appears that I’ll need a new motherboard, graphics card or possibly screen. It’s going to be fun finding an accredited Apple dealer over here to get the thing repaired. I have none of the purchase documentation with me, one doesn’t expect a £2000 computer to go on the blink within 2 months. I don’t know if I’ll lose my programs for processing photos or video. I hope not as they are on the hard drive. But I guess there is a chance that this may be one of the last entries in this possibly short lived blog.

But I’ll have new teeth 🙂


New MacBook Pro needing repair after less than 2 months