Welcome to Jodhpur - disaster capital of the world

Trip Start Jul 12, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, January 12, 2004

In hindsight, our experiences in Pushkar were only the beginning of our dramas in Rajasthan! While the sick one crashed into bed upon checking into Shivam Guesthouse (which was lovely, if you ever find yourself in Jodhpur), the other two ended up getting stoned - no, not the kind you'd expect of travellers in India (and no, we haven't corrupted mum!) but had rocks pelted at them by feral little street kids. If that wasn't bad enough, mum managed to have a bag of water thrown over her by some maniacal little munchkins as she walked past them.

You'd think these events would be omen enough that we needed to get out of town and fast, but it was brushed off as just another day in good old India. The next morning, anticipating exploring the 'blue city' and it's towering fort, mum got up bright and early and ventured off down the street to buy us some bottles of water. She walked past two of the numerous street dogs that are everywhere in India without giving it a thought - they even appeared to be asleep. One of them slunk over to her and without provocation suddenly lunged at her leg and bit it. Mum came tearing up the stairs and burst into the room and showed us the horrifically massive dog bite which wrapped half way around her leg. At home a dog bite like this wouldn't be too traumatic, just painful, but in India where 30,000 humans die every year from contracting rabies from such incidents, this was a big deal. If you contract rabies, you definitely die, there is no cure and absolutely nothing you can do about it.

We had to get medical attention straight away, which is no easy feat in a dusty, dingy Indian town. Into an auto-rickshaw we all went, to do the rounds of Jodhpur's medical facilities in search of some rabies vaccine. First stop - a deserted, closed hospital with only a confused caretaker around who had no idea what was going on. Next - an evil, dirty hospital of 3rd world doom. This place had rows of 100 year old beds covered in filthy old sheets in the same room as the hospital reception desk. There were literally piles of rubbish on the floor and there was no way in hell we were going to stay there. They didn't even know what to do, they only wanted to give a tetanus shot which mum already had up to date, was this the world's worst hospital?!!

Eventually we went to the private hospital which was much better, and got a shot of a rabies vaccine. After all this trauma we decided to stay and rest for a few days rather than move onto the next town for more sightseeing. We even managed to drag ourselves up to see the fort, which was well worth it. 'Meherangarh' as it's known, is run by the maharaja of Jodhpur and has a long, detailed and interesting history of royal rulers and battles. It's absolutely huge and towers 125 metres above town, with strategically built entrances to help prevent being taken by force or being rammed by elephants. We visited courtyards, palaces, a museum, art gallery and Hindu temple all enclosed within the fort, and saw amazingingly intricate carved walls, balconies and elaborate rooms. The fort overlooked the town where we got the full effect of all the blue painted houses, which looked amazing. Apparently a blue house indicated that a Brahmin lived inside (India's highest caste), but now anyone can have their house this colour.

We then decided it would be best to head to Delhi so mum could get more shots, in case the other towns in Rajasthan didn't have what we needed, so it was off on yet another overnight train ride! This time we thought ahead and actually booked a hotel room and arranged for a driver to pick us up to spare us the drama!
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