Friday, January 19, 2018
After several days of very long drives, it was refreshing to only have an hour drive to Jaisalmer. On arrival, the town looked quite lively, our driver recommended two different hotels. At the first one, things looked fairly nice on the surface, but when we saw blood stains on the sheets, we decided to pass. Thankfully, it wasn’t bed bug style blood, and the sheets had definitely been washed since someone bled on them, but it was still blood. Any American hotel would have disposed of the evidence rather than washing them and leaving the stain. The second hotel appeared much cleaner, so we decided to stay there even though our driver said we could keep looking if we wanted.
The Royale hotel that we chose was just a few blocks from the Jaisalmer Fort Palace, so we decided to walk there on our own. The streets were lined with shops that sold interesting, but somewhat poor quality souvenirs. We enjoyed looking, but elected not to buy anything. This town had a few very elaborate Jain temples that we briefly popped into.
We then toured the palace, which had 30 rooms on display. It was quite fun to wander through.
At one point, we got a really nice view of the city.
One surprise is that local tourists kept asking to take photos with us. I guess a family with a very tall dad and two white boys is an oddity that a lot of people want to remember with a photo. We mostly humored them, although the boys quickly tired of it, particularly when some of the other kids tried to touch them. The really weird moment came when one dad pushed his daughter at us and asked if we could take her back to America with us so that she could have a better life. Umm. I really hope that she couldn’t understand English. She was clinging to her dad.
Jeremy was getting a bit sick of vegetarian food, so we found a nice place with meat. I got some delicious Bhuna Mutton.
We went back to the hotel for a rest, then decided to wander the markets for a bit, then we drove to the lake. It was very beautiful!
There were some really nice stone structures, both on the edge of the lake, and in the middle. For some reason, we thought our driver said that there was a better place to go for sunset, so we only stayed 30 minutes, then got back in the car and went to the umbrellas, which are burial grounds.
They didn’t look all that impressive, and it didn’t seem like the sunset would all that great there, so we decided to look at them from a distance and drive back to the lake. The sunset was quite impressive!
Paddle boats and row boats looked like they could have been fun to rent, but we were tired, so decided to skip them.
No one was particularly hungry, so the boys picked up some chips, and I decided to finish off our box of sweets for dinner. Big mistake! Indian sweets often have dairy in them and should be refrigerated after a certain amount of time. At 5:00 A.M., I woke up with massive stomach issues and felt like I was going to die. Jeremy and the boys say that I was screaming from the bathroom about wanting to go home, but I think I was quietly moaning and given the hour of the morning, they thought I was a bit too noisy. I haven’t felt that bad since I had food poisoning in high school. Lesson learned – don’t eat expired Indian sweets!
Saturday, January 20, 2018
For breakfast, I managed to hold down some bananas and toast, but I looked longingly at all the delicious looking Indian food. At this point, one of the boys started feeling bad (he had had a half of one of the expired sweets) and ended up only eating a bite of a banana.
While we were eating breakfast on the roof deck, we observed how the hotel hot water is apparently sometimes produced – some of the workers seemed to be manually shoveling coal into a hot water heater on the roof. It was kind of sad to watch, and makes more sense of why the hot water has been inconsistent. We also met an older French-Canadian woman in the breakfast room, who explained to us how she was traveling around India for a few months, with a driver taking her from city to city.
We checked out, but 20 minutes into the journey, our ill child vomited all over the car. We rushed to get out a saved airsickness bag, but I couldn’t get it open in time. So much for being prepared. The driver was very gracious about cleaning the car, and as much as we tried, he wouldn’t let us help much. We spent the time getting our son cleaned up and his clothes changed. Yay pepto bismol!
After this, we made a stop at the modest-sized Jaisalmer War Museum, which had a very nice display of tanks outside, and documented their war with Pakistan in 1971 (we were close to the Pakistan border).
We continued our drive to Jodhpur, sleeping as much as we could. Given weak stomachs, we ended up making more stops than normal, and even had to clean up the car one more time. Sigh. The baby wipes I brought with us ended up being super useful at getting stains out of the upholstery. Yuck. At least this was the only day of the trip that we had to deal with this.