#1, India/Nepal, Jan. 1, 1989

Dear Everybody,

Goodness, I had quite an ordeal getting to India. I left on the morning of December 25th and arrived Hong Kong, where I stayed overnight. I had the next day free, so I took a four-hour tour of Hong Kong. I saw an Aberdeen fishing village, Repulse Bay and Beach, Victoria Peak with its wonderful panoramic view, and Tiger Balm Garden. The tour ended at lunchtime and I had lunch at an Indian restaurant with an Indian, Nat, from Dallas, TX, whose acquaintance I had made on the tour. He had been in India to visit his family.

I caught my flight in the afternoon to Bangkok and got involved with a mix-up resulting in my not being able to fly on to New Delhi as I had planned. I stayed at the Airport Hotel. The next day I arranged a different flight and arrived New Delhi (finally!) but without my suitcase! I checked into the Janpath Hotel.

In the morning I had a wonderful Indian breakfast of a masala dosa with sambar. Then I went walking, but it was fairly unproductive since there weren’t any street signs and I couldn’t find my way anywhere.

 

 

 

FinallyI hired a tuk-tuk who took me to the Delhi Gate, and then to the Red Fort.

 

 

 

I ate lunch at the Moti Mahal in Old Delhi, and then taxied back to the Delhi Gate,

 

 

where two elephants passed my taxi on the street! My last stop was the Museum of Modern Art. Later that day my suitcase arrived!

 

 

I shopped at the Delhi Emporium the next morning and bought several things, including a hot pink and green silk sari. This required that I go across the street to a tailor to get the matching blouse and petticoat made for the sari.

 

 

 

 

 

I took a four-hour tour in the afternoon with Anu as my guide. We saw Chandi Chowk, the main shopping street in Old Delhi,

 

 

the 11th century Qutab Mineret, the Parliament Building, and the Presidential Palace. The day ended with a lovely dinner in my hotel.

 

 

 

 

The next morning after having a nice chat over breakfast with Gary, an American naturalist that teaches at Ohio State University, I caught a flight to Jodhpur where I checked into the Umaid Bahwan Palace Hotel. This is an enormous stone pile that was constructed by the Maharajah of Jodhpur in 1929, to give jobs to people who were suffering a bleak famine. The present Maharajah still lives there but part of it has been made into a spiffy hotel. I didn’t have a reservation so was ‘forced’ to take the Windsor suite! I walked out a little and hired a tuk-tuk to go to the Mandore Gardens and some temples.

 

 

 

 

In one an older couple asked me to take their photo, which I did, but I have no way to give them a copy—I gather that was OK with them—they just wanted me to take their photo! Some of the temples in India are very gaudy, but colorful and interesting. They really don’t have much of a religious look by our standards, though.

I got a tuk-tuk and enjoyed the town.  I went on to visit Mehrangarh, which is the old fort. It sits up high on a hill.

When I looked out over the city of Jodhpur,

 

 

I could see that many of the courtyards of the houses were painted blue. Someone told me that this has some political significance—belonging to a particular party, I think.

 

 

 

 

 

The fort had many beautiful rooms and some wonderful howdahs, which are the contraptions that sit on top of elephants for people to ride in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in my hotel, exploring the grounds and the palace was fun—the indoor art-deco swimming pool was fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

I celebrated New Year’s Eve by watching the sunset from the terrace and then going to bed early.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Day started with my taking a tuk-tuk to the Clock Tower and market downtown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came upon a wedding procession, which I was asked to join. The groom was riding a beautiful gray and white spotted horse. The groom’s face and torso was completely covered with marigold rings, and the horse was decorated, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the horse and rider stopped, the band would strike up and young men would dance. These young men asked me to dance to the great delight of the crowd. The women had henna designs on their hands, and everyone was cordial and glad that I was a part of things—all of the people were dressed in their best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At one point several young men carried the groom into a house to make a special visit to his future father-in-law. People, including me, held up folded paper money very high, then someone would reach up and take it, presumably for the wedding couple. When I left, one young man gave me his address so I could send some pictures of the festivities, which I will do.

I had made plans to take a train at 10:30 PM tonight to Jaiselmer—in the meantime I am walking and looking. Next will be Jaiselmer, which is a city out in the desert.

Carol

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