Jaisalmer - The Golden City

Trip Start Jul 01, 2004
Trip End Jan 03, 2005

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, October 22, 2004

Took a 6.5 hour bus ride in from Jodhpur. Got extorted out of 20 rupees by the baggage guy.
Went to the Khuri sand dunes for sunset, followed by Rajasthani food, dancing and tribal music. This was my third experience with Rajastahani food. My advice is to avoid it, it lacks flavor. The opposite is true of the clothing worn here in Rajasthan. Everyone is dressed in extremely bright colors. It's quite a spectacle watching everyone flaunting vibrant shades of orange, pink, green, blue, black, and virtually every other color.

Batteries in India are $0.13 a piece and probably not even really worth that much. 4 fresh batteries for my camera allow me to take 6 or 7 pictures. Then I have to throw them away. I'm becoming part of India's environmental problem.

I'm staying in a hotel that is 1 km out of town. As I was walking in this morning I got picked up by a rickshaw driver who agreed to take me in for 10 rupees (after asking for 20). My smallest bill was a 50. Of course he claimed not to have change, so I set off to find some. No store will make change for you unless you buy something. Eventually I found a store where I bought a water for 10 rupees, took my change and handed 2 5 rupee bills to the driver. He wouldn't accept them because one had a small rip in the middle. I told him to work it out with the guy behind the counter cause it looked fine to me. As I walked out, the driver chased me down and asked for me to go back and request different bills, because the guy behind the counter wouldn't help him. Sighing, I returned to the store and asked the guy behind the counter to please exchange the bills for bills that the rickshaw driver would accept. After a brief exchange of words, and a threat to return my water, acceptable bills were found. Nothing is simple here.

Due to the garbage crevice experience and my long bus ride into Jaisalmer, I've hired a private car to take me to Udaipur. The advantages are that I'm going to stop at one of India's nicest Jain temples along the way, that I can stretch out in the back seat, and that my luggage is safe. Plus, no bus connections to make and an 8 hour trip instead of a 12+ hour series of bus rides. The disadvantage is that I'm going to spend 6,000 rupees ($133) instead of 250 rupees ($5), and that I'm using money to insulate myself from the harshness of India (which I consider to be part of the experience of being here).
Then I feel the throbbing in my eye socket. India has given me the business enough for a little while. ;)
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