Day Nine: Road to Recovery and Onward to Jodphur
Annnnd I’m back. It’s so good to be back. In the last three days, I’ve experienced the pits of Indian food sickness in combination with dehydration, even worse than the first bout that struck not even a full week ago. Delhi belly is what they call it.
Three IV sessions, two antibiotic intravenous pouches, various colored tablets, more bananas and water bottles than I could ever count on two hands, more love and care from Wylie and Sono than I could ever imagine, and one hot shower later -- I am FINALLY feeling like a human again. So thankful we were in Bikaner (3rd largest city in Rajasthan) during this episode and that the hospital was conveniently adjacent to our hotel. Still, the process of trying to communicate with doctors that speak little to no English under the most nauseous spell of your life is an experience that I hope you never have to go through – but if you ever do find yourself in that situation, you know who to call!
Now, back to the more uplifting stuff.
Today, we finally were back on schedule. As we left the hotel, the owner (who we also learned was the great grandson or something to that effect of a powerful Army Minister of Bikaner) bid us farewell on our journey, which would have made it the third or fourth time he’s asked how I was doing. That’s the beautiful thing I’ve learned during these sickness bouts – everyone is genuinely concerned and wants to know how you’re doing. You become the talk of town (or hotel, really). I guess it’s a bonding experience, since the locals must see this happening quite frequently. The moral support from over here and back in New York (you guys know who you are) have meant the world to me, and all that healing energy and positive vibes are just what I needed. Thank you <3
So, not too much to report during the daytime, since most of it was spent on the road to Jodpur, otherwise known as the Blue City. We spent about five hours taking in the arid country scenes, which included an open-air cow hospital (split between a stable for the holy healthy cows and a stable for the malnourished recovering cows), a full car stop while a colorful train passed by, and a shepherd leading his herd of at least 50 sheep across the desert road – all while hearing intermittent spurts of Indian musical jingles and the most high pitched honks blasting from oncoming cars and motorbikes. Also, unlike back at home, trucks become interesting moving paintings to watch as they are covered head to toe in colorful almost cartoon-like images, always with a “horn please” sign for encouragement and safety measures.
We finally made it to Jodpur as suggested by the nonstop honking and rising developments emerging around us. Good ole Sono drove us right up to the hotel we’d be staying at, called Kuchaman Haveli. These were the VIBES right here -- colorful frescoe ceilings, a ridiculously ornate courtyard with a fountain and plotted plants everywhere, and look alike stain-glassed walls running along the hallways. Plus, various framed posters of ancient Indian temple priestesses were tucked away in several wall cutouts along the halls.
Upon Sono’s recommendation, we decided to take an early evening sunset walk into the Old Town. In my mind, a walk through an old town famous for its colorful fabrics, exotic spices and bazaars was just the remedy for idly sitting in a car and being bed ridden for three days. Within minutes of walking however, all the spicy smells, sounds, buzzing traffic, and loud noises everywhere blasted us all at once – think Delhi times five and jam packed into streets just half the size and without any semblance of a street sign anywhere.
For better or worse, we pushed ourselves through it, and think we’ve made J-walk progress since Delhi. It’s really all a game of frogger as Wylie pointed out. I always thought multi-tasking was my thing, but to take photos, return “hellos” from adorable Indian children, and avoid getting run over by motorbikes and cows piling in from every which way direction all at the same time (without real sidewalks) is just an Indian art and workout I have not yet mastered. It’s truly impressive how the Indians do it everyday.
Towards the end of our expedition, we came across a group clamoring in anticipation for something hot and steamy arising from the opposite side of the narrow road. We followed our noses and discovered a giant pot brewing with this orange-yellow Dal-like brew. We watched an Indian man scoop a spicy looking sauce into a smaller pot and serve it across the street, where everyone by that point was sitting cross-legged in the most anticipated frenzy like kids in a candy shop waiting at the check out line. Another moment to live vicariously through, which my stomach and I are totally okay with!
We must have been gone only an hour, but our bodies were in need of some serious TLC and chill time. We finished off the night on the roof deck, where I ate my first solid meal in days (steamed rice and boiled veggies with salt) listening to the far away Muslim chanting echo off the walls of the city. I never thought I’d be salivating over bland rice the way I did tonight. I think one more day here will be just plenty.