K had a big horrible coughing fit in the morning and has decided to start the antibiotics course in our medical kit, but otherwise she seems OK.
We got an auto-rickshaw to the Hotel Govind in town to have breakfast on their rooftop which has a great view of the fort. A beautiful day, though very hazy in the morning. We ate vegetable samosas, then took an auto rickshaw up to the spectacular and imposing fort. It was impressively huge, if a bit plain; there was a good museum with elephant howdahs and weaponry and some ornate rooms, and an exhibition of contemporary artists painting in the Rajasthani style of the Mughal Period that I thought was a bit too technical and uninspired. However the the view from the ramparts was spectacular, with old cannons pointing out over the warren of buildings, many painted blue to denote Brahmin houses.
They had a museum shop and we decided to buy some Mughal-style paintings, done by students, on vintage paper. After some time deciding we chose six really nice ones, which cost about $250; they should look fantastic framed.
Went back to the hotel for lunch (non-veg thali), and then walked about a kilometre to the Indian Airlines office to book a ticket from Udaipur to Aurangabad for the 26th of December. No problems getting seats luckily, despite some hassles when they wouldn’t accept a worn traveller’s cheque.
Then we had a couple of beers in the garden of the nearby Bhavran Palace, a heritage hotel with an amazing ornate swimming pool and peaceful grounds.
Back at the hotel now. K isn’t feeling well and is in bed, and I’m writing in the courtyard. I walked up the road to the nearest phone office to book a hotel in Jaisalmar for tomorrow night and was hassled by another polite shyster kid which for some reason put me in a really bad mood; so unfortunately I’m in another ‘anti-India’ mood tonight.
Oh, I forgot to mention that soon after we arrived yesterday, while K was eating, I went for a long walk into town by myself to book the train tickets to Jaisalmer. I sat in a cafe and experienced a makhani lassi, a saffron-flavoured iced curd (yoghurt) drink that was tasty, despite having to avoid the lumpy blob of curd in the top! Bought some film at a shop and ended up having a long talk about our itinerary with the shopkeeper, who was nice and helpful.
We strike the occasional nice person but I am sick of being hassled with “yes please you buy” and “you from what country?” and “what is your name?” sweet talking that always seems to lead to some money-making scam or another. It’s difficult to fight against because you want to be polite, so you answer the questions, and next thing you’re being shoe-horned into some scam. This certainly is an incredibly tiring country to travel in, and genuine warmth is very difficult to find, which spoils the experience somewhat.
Also the air is so full of shit everyone’s hacking their guts up all the time, including us.
We ate a delicious dinner in our room.