The one thing that we haven’t covered in the posts so far is dirt. The city streets are full of rubbish, and there doesn’t seem to be any system for clearing it away (though there is a government sponsored advertising campaign); so it was good to get away to the countryside where there is at least some space for it to go. Here are some happy pigs:
The first village we visited was a two hour drive south from Jaipur and was called Tordi Sagar. After dumping our rucksacks in the room, we went for a little wonder and found this magnificent fellow.
He certainly wasn’t shy. In fact he was the most vain lizard that we had ever encountered. As we noticed him, he noticed us. He climbed up the post and just stayed there, almost smirking, as if to say,
“Come and take some pictures, because I am the best lizard in India!” so we did.
Further on we saw a gang of labourers returning from the fields. They had been working all day in the heat and humidity (which we had been vaguely aware of in the air conditioned bus), and still came back smiling – tough women.
Our group was greeted warmly as we walked through the village. The local potter cast a variety of items from a lump of clay using only a well shaped stone, a stick, his skill (passed down through generations), and the power of centrifugal force. Further on Nikki met a local lady who also had three boys; there was a connection, and a great photo. Unfortunately, I lost it while ‘backing-up’ the files. Same goes for the pictures of the potter, the camel ride that evening, the picture of a snake charmer, and morning walk up to the fort – Nikki has decided to forgive me and it hasn’t been mentioned since.
Some days later we found ourselves in the peaceful town of Orchha, which lies on the Betwa River. The town possesses an unusual variety of temples and tombs. The sight of vultures perching on the structures gave the buildings a gothic air, which was lightened by the fluttering and chirping of the green parakeets. Just as charming were the goats ascending the temple walls, as though they were rocky embankments (which as far they were concerned they were).
Orchha gave us our first experience of glamping, which as far as I can make out is putting the contents of a basic chalet into a tent structure, and then doubling the rent. The conditions on the nearby river were perfect for bugs, so needless to say we were eaten alive that evening.
At the halfway point we had masala chai and biscuits by the river, our guide was very helpful, and he explained that he came on the walk twice a day whether anyone else showed up or not; we could understand why. We did a few skimmers (with varying degrees of success), and moved on.
As we neared the end of the walk we encountered a troop of black face monkeys, known as Hanuman langurs (Hanuman being the Hindu monkey god). They were more elegant than the Macaques, and they didn’t seem to mind us taking photos.
The next day we travelled on to Alipura – a well organized and friendly village, where we stayed in a converted palace.
After lunch we retired to the games room, where myself and Josh played a frame of snooker on a full size billiard table. We even managed to make breaks of more than one shot! It all came down to the black. Modesty prevents me from saying who won, but the view was nice:
The glories of the billiard table were wiped out during the cricket match in the afternoon. Most of the players in our touring group had barely heard of the game, and I had forgotten everything that I had learned. My only moment of half decent hand eye co-ordination was catching Nikki out, which was a relief, as she had been scoring a lot of runs for the opposition. Soon after, Josh finished the game neatly with a six.