Wednesday, October 26, 2005

So.. we have completely changed our itinerary.

The Camel Camp seemed like a bad idea as kari was having some intestinal upset. So we went directly on to Jaisalmer. It's a very atomospheric smallish city. It is built of golden sandstone and the fort is filled with shops, restaurants and hotels. We stayed outside the fort as this reccomended because of the eco system and water usage in the fort. Our hotel was run by 4 brothers all of whom spoke english but only one could read and write. It was a new place made completely of stone and would have been just great if the open sewer hadn't been just under our window. Their roof top garden and restaurant had a wonderful view of the fort, which is lit up at night and was a terrific place to watch the sunset. The city was small enough to walk most places. We booked then cancelled a camel safari to sleep out in the dunes. Other tourists liked their safari but were freaked out by the sand beetles that were everywhere...

On the advice of the hotel people we headed for Ranakpur and a hotel there that was a "resort" It was very nice and in the middle of nowhere. Very peaceful and not too far from the famous Jain temple and nature preserve area. We ended up in a "Delux" tent, as it was larger and nicer than the room that was available. Delux tents are kind of permanent structures with tiled bathroom/showers attached. Quite nice, electricity, fan, all the comforts. Two (western)guests were having a Hindu wedding ceremony there and we watched some of the colorful festivities, though our waiter assured us that a true Hindu wedding generally goes on for 7 to 10 days as cermonies need to be done to many different gods.

The Jain temple is amazing and huge. The carvings inside are very famous and the structure is reputed to have 1444 carved columns. Much restoration has been done to it and it is now a big pilgrimage site as well.

We got a car to Udaipur this morning and have been walking around the city all afternoon. It is a big tourist town which has a few advantages and many drawbacks! There is alot of great shopping here for crafts and art, also good restaurants and hotels. We have a great room over looking the famous lake here.(We bailed on our original booking as it was a budget hotel that, while adequate, was shabby and had no views at all. Luckily this year's rain has replenished the lake which has been dry for a few years! There are plenty of touts and so far have heard the same story from a couple of them about "being part of group of art students who are going to (fill in the city in the U.S.) and will have an art show there and would you be interested in seeing the exhibit and giving your opinion about the art work"...

After this we will head to the Hippie (hashish) haven of Pushkar...

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