Friday, January 27, 2023

Jodhpur, India, January 27, 2023

Last night, Saheed, the owner of the guest house, invited me upstairs to the bar for a drink. I waited until my ring was delivered-

It was cold but they have big fuzzy blankets so that helped. I must’ve sat there for half an hour sort of visiting with him and he made no mention or motion to get this rum he had promised me. So, I decided I was going to go back to my room but he said no, pretty soon.  He was waiting for a family to leave. Shortly after they left and he explained that he as a Muslim he is not supposed to drink so he didn’t want to drink in front of other Muslims.  He said Indians have funny ideas about drinking alcohol. Fine. We had a drink and a very interesting visit. He is 33 and has never attended school, not even for one day yet here he is successfully running not only this guest house but another one in Jaisalmer. He said when he first started working, probably when he was about 12, he always worked in the hotel industry.  He has done every job from cooking to cleaning to maintenance to bartending and now he can do it all. He grew up on a 75 acre farm outside of Jaisalmer and his parents still farm there. They grow lentils, chickpeas, mustard and wheat. Now, thanks to irrigation, they grow three crops a year.  They do everything by hand and put the ripened grain in piles and then some sort of a combine comes along to thrash it. He supports his parents and other family members. He said the tuktuk drivers make Rs.40,000 to Rs.50,000 a month which is $600-$800. That is a lot of money for India. He said that’s why there are so many of them. He has learned his English visiting with guests and he speaks very well and with hardly an accent. He was married for a couple of years but it didn’t work out. It was an arranged marriage like most are but I think he might be gay just from some of his mannerisms.  I was glad I had that drink.

This morning I was awake by 5:30 and finally had a shower at 9:30. I was just getting dressed when the lights started to flicker.  Pretty soon they were off and there was a zapzap sound coming from the hallway.  The zapping got louder and louder and I opened my door to see what was going on.  There was a huge ball of fire on the wall and the hall was filled with smoke. I quickly shut my door and tried to think what I should take if I needed to leave the building. Eventually the zapping stopped and there was quite a bit of excitement out in the hallway. As it turned out the wires crossed and shorted out the whole building. Luckily the buildings in India are made of cement blocks but if we had been in a wooden building it would’ve gone up in smoke. It took until 6:30 tonight to get the power back on in my room.

I went to Makhaniya Hotel for a “world famous” lassi which was very good.  I spent a lot of time in the rooftop restaurant reading my book until I drained my iPad. I wandered around a bit-

visited with people in the restaurant and then went for lunch which was some kind of a hot stew and at another booth I had chai, all for $.80. Seems like all I did today was eat.  I went for supper at a rooftop restaurant-

and had butter chicken.  I wandered around and came upon an art gallery. I couldn’t resist buying this piece especially because everything in the store is made by this man. I think it’s really cute-

A cool shop-

I paid my bill because I’m leaving about 6:30 tomorrow morning and Saheed had the man who did my laundry come speak to me. He said my pants had that hole in them when he got them. I got really angry and told him that he had burned them with an iron. I refused to pay my laundry bill. Saheed had taken them from me last night and I hoped they would be patched today but no such luck.

My bus leaves at 7:15 for Udaipur.  I hope there will be a tuktuk out front that early.  They don’t really seem to get going until around 11!  If not, it will be a long walk!  

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