Sightseeing! Today made me glad that I've stuck with Rajasthan.
I saw the magnificent fort
from close up (I can also see it from the restaurant at the top
of my hotel), the very relaxing Jaswant
(memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II), the Umaid
and finally the gardens in Mandore, where I indulged in a little
game of cricket
with the local school kids and teachers. 1 wicket for 1 over with
only 4 runs wasn't a bad bowling average I thought, although I was
out for a duck directly afterwards! (I have to say that I rather
un-sportingly called for a re-adudication by the third umpire, there
was no way that I was out!).
The guys that I spoke of yesterday belong to an organisation called
which has the aim of speading a message of peace, goodwill and ecological
protection (I think!). One of the gentlemen was very animated throughout
the discussions and very friendly - to the extent that, I had been
offered a room in his house, accomodation in his brother's place
in Jaiselmere and use of his car and driver for sightseeing, all
before the night was out! He also offered to show me 'mehndi' -
Indian hand painting being done. This turned out to be a competition
at a local school and was extremely interesting. He then took me
on a tour of the handicraft factory that he owned, and mentioned
that he was looking to expand his export business into the UK and
was looking for a good, honest, simple man to look after the marketing
side of the operations there... I don't know about all that, but
the furniture is excellent (the hand-carved, solid stuff that's
so much in vogue at the moment), so I know where I'll be going when
I want to buy stuff for my next house!
I'm off to Jaislemere on the overnight train this evening to see what that place is like.
All things considered, I really like Jodhpur and am glad that I have to come back (the route works out like that). I would recommend staying at the Govind hotel if you come here - the place is excellent, and the guy who runs it is a star.