The morning was quiet and peaceful. Once everyone was awake, bathed and dressed, we had breakfast. The Sam Camp workers brought plate after plate of aloo paranthas, curd and chai which kept disappearing immediately.
Madu had received a call from his business. He was needed back at work as soon as possible, so we would have to cut the trip short. There would be no overnight at Jodhpur this time. We would have to drive all the way back to Udaipur today.
Around 3:00 we reached Jodhpur without having seen a restaurant since breakfast. Nirmal needed to meet with a leather bag maker for an hour for business, so we dropped him off there. The rest of us would have lunch, order Nirmal some take-out, then we’d get back on the road.
Finding a place to eat in Jodphur again wasn’t easy. We looked up a couple of places which turned out to be closed because it was off season. The ladies wanted a vegetarian lunch. Madu, Pushker and I wanted to go to a locally popular restaurant that specialized in tandoori chicken. After we had located everything with Madu’s GPS, we dropped Rafiq and the ladies at a vegetarian restaurant then returned to the chicken place.
We encountered problems at the chicken place. Because we were there at 3:00, we were way after the lunch crowd and too early for dinner. The restaurant workers were preparing for the dinnertime crowd and didn’t want to serve us. Pushker had to argue strenuously, beg and finally offer to pay more than the usual price. Reluctantly, they took our order.
This famous chicken restaurant was a hole-in-the-wall place, little more than street food with two tables. But just because their kitchen was out on the sidewalk was no indicator of lack of quality. The food was FANTASTIC! We were told they didn’t have naan, only roti, but it tasted exactly like naan. Madu, Pushker and I made short work of a pile of roti and two tandoori chickens. When we picked up Nirmal, he was so hungry he polished off another one almost by himself.
The rest of the day was uneventful. We rolled into Udaipur at around 11:30 p.m.
My friends were the easiest people to travel with and the best travel companions you could ever hope for. There was no friction, no fussiness, no complaining. There was lots of laughing, singing and enjoyment of each other’s company. It was like a nonstop party, which is what it’s like to be around them any time. It was the best road trip ever.