So if all else failed to entice me I could seek refuge in the fruit or pastry offerings. Among the curries on offer at breakfast there were also efforts made to appeal to the European palette and these would include bacon and sausages...but chicken sausages and chicken bacon. I couldn’t bring myself to try them although Róisín has assured me they are great. There’s another revelation about traveling at my age, I’m less inclined to make compromises. I can with confidence say if Róisín wasn’t with me I would have headed home by now. So perhaps travel with the young one is making me a little more adventurous.
There is no such thing as a fresh cream cake in India. The cakes look amazing and are very inviting but what a disappointment to discover they are all fake or at least non-dairy having a base of soy, hydrogenated vegetable fat, and stabilizers. Yum. No, there’s no substitute for real cream although my vegan daughter, Úna, keeps trying to convince me otherwise. I’ll admit Úna that you have made incredible cakes but when you can create a cream substitute that actually tastes like cream I promise I’ll join the order of the "Veganites".
Tonight was Christmas dinner night and I could not wait! We needed to get some cash and so we went for a wander along the main street. I have never seen a buggy or pram in India in all the cities I have been in and I think the explanation for that lies in the state of the footpaths. Footpaths are not unusual but good footpaths are a novelty. The path just outside the hotel was just earthen but at least it was even. As we went further along the road what seemed to be concrete slabs covering drains doubled as a path and it was mostly in good condition. But every so often we would come across a slab that had fallen into the drain or tipped up and we would have to jump over to the next one. If a number of them had fallen into the drain we would wait until there was a break in the traffic and run onto the next safe part. I have no idea how anyone with a mobility issue or impaired vision would navigate these streets but I understand why the best option for babies is to carry them. We were on the edge of a two lane highway which ran into the city. The center line was a very narrow pathway with railings either side and there were only intermittent gaps. So it wasn’t a simple choice of making it to the center line you also had to make sure you had a break in the fence. It was terrifying I followed a local as I had no idea how to safely cross three lanes of traffic coming at you at high speed. I think it would be the equivalent to running across the M50 motorway which most would consider insane but this is life in India. We found the ATM and returned to the hotel with a firm commitment from me that it would be taxis from here on out.
Footpath in India
On returning to the hotel, our Butler returned our laundry to us and as his english was good he stayed and chatted with us for a while. He told us he lived in the country with his wife and three children and that he owned a small farm and a tractor. While chatting, his wife happened to call and he insisted on introducing us to his family via WhatsApp. He also said that if we had time he would bring us to his farm and we could meet his family and perhaps stay a night if we liked. I thought he was incredibly friendly and he insisted on getting our number. We had bought new sim cards when we arrived in India with the intention of using them for the duration of our stay but I had no idea what my number was nor how to get it. I asked Róisín to give her number to him. When she started to call out her Indian phone number to him he insisted on having her WhatsApp number. We tested the number before we excused ourselves to get ready of the evening activities. Róisín was a little angry with me for volunteering her number but I argued that it would make no difference since we would be leaving the country and the sim cards will not work so we would never hear from him again. I hadn’t realized that our WhatsApp numbers were our home numbers rather than the Indian sim number. Every day is a learning day and lesson today is don’t give your number to strangers as we would soon find out.
Ranbanka Palace, Jodhpur
The excitement of our Christmas dinner was raising. Entertainment had been organized for the guests which included a troupe of traditional musicians and dancers. It was incredibly beautiful and moving with the stunning attire of the ladies and the fast pace of the musicians accompanying the dancers. The entertainment started at 7 pm that evening and went on until 10 pm. At a later stage in the evening the dancers came into the audience to encourage member of the audience to join them on stage, although I was invited I do understand my limitations and so declined. But a few ladies did go onto the stage and in particular a young girl perhaps about eight years old joined in and it was a joy to watch. The pride and joy she had being on stage dancing with the professionals I knew she would remember as one of the highlights of her childhood. Having taken our seats, we waited in wonderment as to when or where our lovely roast turkey dinner was going to make its appearance. How many roast potatoes would I have? I hoped its was not going to be one of those weird stuffing with apricots and the like that our more sophisticated households have adopted in recent years. I’m a traditionalist, give me turkey and ham, simple sage and onion stuffing, a selection of lightly cooked vegetables, bite not crunch and a decent gravy and all is right with the world. But considering my location I would adjust to any variations of my expectations. I’ll get the gravy on the side in case its been spiced up for the local palette.
The head waiter approached our table and handed us the single sheet of paper with the options available. Turkey or fish in India, no beef. I knew I was having the turkey so no dilemma. Róisín looked up from her menu with a great big smile on her face and doing her best to suppress an outright laugh, she looked at my face of total horror. I swear, I felt like crying, the menu had a number of selections like curried potatoes, curried fish, curried chicken. It was so disappointing and it took a lot to shake off my self pity and try to engage with the menu offered. Róisín was doing her best to console me with wise nuggets of “just give it a try, you may even like it”. Doing a Trojan job of packing my two-year-old self back in the box I made an effort. Besides I was starving having saved myself for the feast. Our lovely waiter understood I had no clue about any of the foods on the menu and so took it upon himself to bring me what he thought was within the range of a European taste. We were offered many tasters and with the large choice it was easy to get a satisfying meal by just trying a little bit of everything. Quite a number of those dishes I actually enjoyed despite myself. Róisín gave everything a go, I wouldn’t have tried any of it if I wasn’t put in a no other choice position. All told it was a surprisingly good evening but turkey would have made it better.
Traditional Rajastani Performance
In case you missed it, read part one of our Christmas in Jodhpur by clicking this link :)
Hi, I'm Olive and I am the writer of this blog. I am traveling the world with my 22 year old daughter, Róisín, who has just graduated University. I wanted to document this journey because it is unusual for a woman of 58 years old to go on adventure that most students do on a gap year. I will try to share my insights into this epic journey with you along the way and maybe inspire more people my age to go on these crazy adventures too.