Friday, August 24, 2012

If it's Tuesday, this must be Jaisalmer

It's true about the cows in India.
I was going to post earlier about our trip, but before we left I was too busy buying mosquito repellent with DEET and trying to figure out what to pack that was both extremely modest and extremely lightweight (failed! wearing jeans and long-sleeved shirts day after day in mighty heat), and once we got to India my head started spinning and hasn't stopped. This is our sixth day and I am even less certain of what to write than I was on the first when I had a few "clever" observations that now seem completely fatuous.

one of our hotels
A short list of what we have seen: dead cows, live cows, New Delhi, Hindu temples, crumbling mosques, torrential rains, desert sands, magical palaces, sandstone forts, muddy towns, goats, an active outdoor crematorium complete with bone shards, carts pulled by camels, flies, dogs, lovely saris, flooding, donkeys, pilgrims walking barefoot along the highway, bats, peacocks, and bread baking in a tandoor oven.

How hard to build one? 
Of course, that made us think of our cob oven-in-progress back home, as did an old cob house.

The house had a mortar dug right into the floor for grinding spices.

While touring this house, we were photographed by a tour bus group from rural India, all men, who treated us like Brad and Angelina, a surreal experience that I will not allow to be repeated. People stare at us wherever we go. Despite my long sleeves, jeans, and chubby middle age, they stare mostly at me, which feels the opposite of flattering.

The food is amazing except when it is warmed over and mediocre in a steam tray at a hotel buffet. We are eating strictly vegetarian because someone told me it was easier to avoid getting sick that way. I don't miss meat. I have drunk no alcohol or coffee since I got here and, to my surprise, don't miss them either. I drink chai in the mornings. Owen drank some chai, but then felt sick for 36 hours and says he is done with chai forever. Every other conversation starts, "Mom, you know in that game Marvel Avengers Alliance. . . ?" Or, "Who's your favorite superhero?"

Other than that, I couldn't hope for a better, sweeter, more spirited companion.

I miss Mark and Isabel, though. They didn't want to come. I get that and I get that even more now that we are here. India is a challenging place to visit and you really need to be up for it. That said, this trip is a strange, beautiful adventure I wish we were sharing with them.


  1. Wow - what prompted this adventure? Also, your son is AWESOME! Best, Ida

  2. Hi why didn't you say a word about your journey - I would've come...I wish you great days in India and please keep us posted, Susanne

  3. Oh, I would love to go to India. Yes, it is really another earth, isn't it? I have read exhaustively about it, and I have talked with lots of Indians about it, but I am sure there is no substitute for actually being there. I am so jealous! Please tell us all about it when you get back. Is this pleasure or is this work?

  4. You take the best trips! I love how Owen is up for anything. It's nice to have an automatic travel buddy. India seems very enticing and very intimidating as a place to travel to me. Can't wait to hear more about your trip!

  5. What do they do with the dead cows? WHAT?

    Please, please get some building instructions for a tandoor. Thank you.

  6. for a little respite don not miss PUSKAR.. the birth place of brahma.. and all things shanti shanti.. just an hour from ajmer on the way to jodhpur.. my favorite place in india..

  7. sorry its Pushkar.. and not to be missed...