Soon after arriving and settling down from my ride in, I found out that a friend of a friend was actually in Jodhpur for the weekend and we decided to meet up. Manni, a fellow British traveler, and myself all met for coffee while meeting other Europeans on Saturday night then met up the following day for the tour of the Jodhpur Fort. The fort is the center of attention in the town and sits atop the hill at the center of the city. Maharajas resided in the fort for hundreds of years and brought it through many sieges that occurred up until the mid- 1900’s when they moved to the palace across town. The architecture of such a historical place in a country so widespread and cultured was the perfect way to take me out of a slump. Being able to be a tourist first in the city that will be my home for almost a year is a good starting out point since I now know the history and stories behind the Blue City. What was also helpful was going on the public buses everywhere I needed to go during the weekend. Hearing the streets and neighborhoods will not benefit me unless I know where they are, so I traveled by bus around the city and back to the village. I am getting used to the people staring at me now, although it can be overwhelming at points.
This week is the week of Diwali, and although it is only celebrating one day, the women have taken the first three days of the week off to celebrate. Yesterday a couple of us went to the market in Pipar City, probably 20 miles from the village, and shopped for Diwali and visited the block printer to buy materials for the crafts center. The block printer was really intriguing and it is amazing to see how some producers still strive to produce quality products with natural ingredients. The block printer is run by three brothers and their families (actually three generations) and they still print all materials by hand while using only natural dyes and fibers. This makes their fabric much more expensive than the machine processed products, but who wouldn’t want natural quality that supports the work of true artisans rather than printed and processed material?
On the way back from the market, however, the car broke down and the we had a flat tire. This always seems to happen to me in foreign countries. Or for that matter, I just have really bad luck when I am anywhere near a vehicle. The driver changed it relatively quickly and we returned to the village to relax and enjoy the quiet week of Diwali.