Road Trip Day 2

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Bharti slices the miserable bag of apples for our miserable breakfast in this miserable town.

The next morning it was raining hard, which delayed our departure and meant there would be no time for Shahi and Bharti to visit Meherangarh Fort. Once it let up, Rafiq and Madu took off to see if they could find a restaurant open for break fast. Everything was closed:  restaurants, markets, everything! It wasn’t a holiday, it was just Jodhpur. I started really not liking this place. You can find a restaurant open in Udaipur any time of day, in season or off season. All the guys could find to bring back for us was a bag of apples.

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Our day didn’t get any better once we got on the road. Our destination was Osian, only a couple of hours away. But the rains turned a dry creek bed into a river gushing over the road. We saw a man up to his waist in water gingerly crossing the stream. Only big trucks like this one were high enough to cross the rushing water without the engine stalling and heavy enough to cross without being carried away. Everyone else was turning back. We were willing to skip Osian and head straight to Jaisalmer, but Madu was now determined to get there. He wanted to try crossing the water, but we all said it wasn’t worth the risk and convinced him to turn around. It was another day like the day before:  asking directions of everyone we met, getting different and confusing answers, and going down lots of rutted roads. But this time, the roads had water features.

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When we reached Osian, it was blazing hot. We had come to this little known town to see the Sachiya Mata Sun Temple, which none of us had been to before. It had a series of archways preceding the temple entrance which are now covered to protect visitors from the oppressive sun. That made it much more pleasant, since you would otherwise have had to go barefoot up hot marble stairs. Visitors to temples must always remove their shoes before entering.

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Even this short uncovered spot gave you the hot foot. Yeow!

At the top of the stairs, the temple was small and unassuming from the outside. Inside was a small, disappointing room with way too many electrical wires snaking around and rusted fixtures. This was not a marble beauty like Ranakpur. The walls and columns were covered with cheap ceramic tiles, many of which were broken or missing. It was also smoky from years of burning incense.

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What was interesting was the mosaic mirror work on a few of the columns. It looks much better in the photo than it did in person.

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Temple visits always include a prasad: an offering of an overly sweet, mushy cookie.

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A prasad is little more than a small sugar bomb. I had one on my first visit to India, and I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorite tasty treats. I now manage to be somewhere else when they pass those around.

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A shop selling religious accessories near the temple.

On the way back to the car, a woman was following close behind me, yammering all the way. At first I thought she was talking on her phone, but every time I stopped to take a picture, she stopped. And every time I continued, she continued, yapping nonstop. Then she started making the eating gesture, and I knew she was a beggar. Pushker and Rafiq told her several times to leave us alone, but like the sun, she was relentless. If you’re in India any length of time, you’ll soon reach a point where the constant assault of ceaseless hordes of beggars will render you pitiless. Foreigners attract them like flies. It was brutally hot, I was cranky, and I wasn’t inclined to give her anything. No one else did, either, so it wasn’t as if I were the sole heartless one.

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Ready-to-wear turbans for sale in Osian.

As soon as we got into the car and pulled away, we began laughing about it. Silly me. I had been taking pictures of everything else. I should have taken a picture of her.

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4 thoughts on “Road Trip Day 2

    • I *know*!!! Even though there’s no chlorine in the public water system, you’d think the sun would fade those colors down a bit. But clothing colors are rich everywhere, all the time.

  1. Very entertaining post – a ‘road with water features’? Love it!

    Poor woman – she was probably mad, I’d say. (And I have some small experience in these matters!)

    It’s exhausting dealing with beggars. We made a plan in India to donate only to one each morning and one every evening – and strictly adhered to this.

    It seemed to help us stay focused and more calm.

    • She didn’t seem crazy to me, just persistent. She wasn’t talking to herself, she was talking to me. I could understand some of the words in Hindi. She was very specifically asking for money. Nonstop. And yes, it is exhausting being hit on for money all the time.

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