I had just 24hrs in Jaipur as I will be there again soon, and I had places to see in Jodhpur...
I visited the children’s home in Jaipur and they were wonderful. It was lunch time when I went and afterwards we played – Lego and cats cradle. I am going to volunteer there when they get back from their summer holiday in Goa at the end of May- so I plan to be with them for most of June.
I travelled from Jaipur to Jodhpur by bus – a Volvo A/C Luxury bus. The journey itself was ok – 7 hours instead of the scheduled 5, and hair-raising at times – I read my Kindle most of the way, finished The White Tiger (brilliant) and started The Far Pavilions. But getting on to the bus was awful.
For a start the auto which picked me up at the children’s home kept stopping,trying to pick up extra fares. He only succeeded once (we took a young man and his granny a short distance) which was just as well as my suitcase and I took up most of the passenger space and it was boiling hot. I just didn’t feel the driver had his mind on the job and the nearly 1.5hrs I had allowed to cross town (I had been told ‘allow plenty of time to buy your ticket..’) was dwindling. Then he dropped me across a very busy road from the bus station with my suitcase and it’s terrifying crossing the traffic – only me, no one else seems to look left or right.
Where is the Volvo A/C Luxury bus to Jodhpur? Blank. And again. Blank. Over there. Three windows, one says Enquiries and two say Tickets and all are six deep with shouting people waving slips of paper and money, it’s 3.15pm. I was redirected from one window to the next, still dragging suitcase. You need a slip of paper. There are no slips of paper. I found one. I start needing to go to the loo, not badly but I must go before I get on the bus. (Good thing: you hardly need to pee when it’s so hot.) Nice man leant me his spiral bound pad about water resources to lean on to fill in form: name, destination, time of train, age.. (why? Is it India, or is it me?) Jostle, push.
Let’s move to the next window my friend says. I can tell the next window people aren’t pleased but stick with my friend, and new people come pushing forward and stick their slips of paper and money past our faces and through the bars of the kiosk. I’m getting really worried now, it’s 3.45. Please, I say to one man ( I could see his slip of paper and he’s buying a ticket for 2 days time) my bus leaves at 4pm.. Blank. My friend from the water board has now his ticket and I thank him for his help. More people push in. And then.. a new friend. I’m not sure where he’s come from but he’s at the head of the queue. When is your bus? 4 o’clock, I wail. Please, you go in front of me. Bless him. I have a ticket, find the bus. Where’s the loo? It’s 3.55.
I put my case on the bus – and run. 10rps for the loo. No, this one’s torn. Oh PLEASE! I find another.. Oh my god, that loo was awful. And one of the many things that has struck me about gap yearing 35 years after your first one, is how those holeintheground loos don’t get any easier. .. I will spare you the details. Is it my knees? I think it’s my hamstrings. I must do daily hamstring stretches and see if things improve. I felt pretty miserable, but SO relieved to make it on to the bus. I fell into my seat, groping in my bag for the squirty hygienic handwash and there, next to me, was my nice friend from the water board.