Friday, November 11, 2005


Girl Power. The women run Haveli Guest House. "Miss America" she calls us. They never tire of telling about the problems they've encountered running the place. Mama needs pain pills everyday for her feet and back. She married off 2 children and is in great debt. You don't have dowries do you? Her son doesn't want to deal with her, money she says. Her husband died of a heart attack years ago. She cries when we leave early and move to another place.

The famous Bundi fort and palace. 450 year old paintings made from crushed minerals, still there on the walls; Rajput rulers and gods in colorful glory. The guide points out every detail explains how they got the elephants to fight each other to the death. He takes us to the Kipling House and around the lake. we wander in the royal cremation grounds, climb on the cenotaphs. Marble he says.

Forays to the main bazaar, trying to buy towels and mossy coils for our budget stay. Bananas, samosas, chai, peanut brittle. No books in English except a dictionary and Ibsen's "A Doll's House". I've read it.

A jeep safari out to the rock paintings reputed to be 15,000 years old. A bone jarring ride through the country side. Villages and washed out roads. Many stops to check directions and see if the roads are OK after the monsoons. Local boys lead the way, athletically jumping from rock to rock. We climb down to the river bed to see faint figures under the overhanging rocks. We walk in a wild and rock strewn landscape with the sun beating down on us. Are they real? Who knows... They are small and faint, but you would be too at 15,000 years.


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