If only you could wear your shoes!
We we arrived, safe and sound in Mumbai
(Bombay). The humidity here is unreal, I think this is where toxic mold got its start. They seem to have some really interesting test sites for new crops in our hotel room . The hotel is the typical Exodus ecomomy class big city hotel, the usual rats inclusive package (bed bugs extra) . The rats here are actually a pretty friendly lot all in all. There not your huge cat killing, carry off the small children variety, more like hampsters with bad hair, long noses and tails. Speaking of rats we had an interesting visit to the Rat Temple outside of the major town of Bikaner
, called Karni Mata Temple.
meal time at the Rat Temple
It is a Hindu temple dedicated to rats. Apparently the rats are the reincarnated male relatives of a long ago female diety, Karni Mata who is the patron goddess of Bikaner. The rats have really taken advantage of the holy hospitality on offer. Nothing is quite so heart warming as to see a couple of dozen of the little devils chatting and drinking together over a bowl of warm milk. The only real down side to te whole experience was that of course you had to take your shoes and socks off before entering the temple. It did appear that the rats were not exactly what I would call litter trained. Can you catch the plague through the soles of your feet?? In the centre of the city of Bikaner was a a great walled fortress made of red sand stone and inside was a palace, you can just imagine slaves and servants with giant fans made of feathers and gold, trying to cool you off, as it was pretty hot there.
"Constance of Rajasthan"
And of course outside the palace everybody, at least all the male residents, are standing around peeing quite freely in public, (did I say it was really warm outside???) Once I heard that the Iniut in the Northern Arctic had 137 different words to describe snow, we are compiling a dictionary of at least that many words to describe the smell of s**t. Sometimes in the morning the riversides are covered with hundreds of parishioners praying to the god of Immodium!! We spent a lot of the last week and a bit, travelling through the Thar desert in Western India snuggled up against the border of Pakistan, at times we were only about 60 kilometres away, but as our Indian guide Avtar said as he looked into the blue sky, " No they aren't sending us any presents today".
The view from Constance's camel
It was great, I love deserts, but I must admit (D) that I missed a lot of it. I think I must have offended one of the rat gods (must have been all of the cats jokes) and they put a fever curse on me. But fortunately we stayed for a few days at a very nice hotel (it was actually a Palace) and I seem to be over the worst of it. After travelling through the desert we went to Udaipur
. This is where they shot the India segments of the James Bond movie Octopussy. A really beatiful area with large lakes and several beautiful palaces out on the small islands in the lakes. Very spectactular. We had expresso and cappacino out on one of the islands surrounded by this wonderful visa of small mountains capped with hill top palaces.
Udaipur, shaken not stirred.
Very nice. India really is an amazing place. A bit like traveling across a gigantic land-fill site dotted with amazing forts, temples and natural wonders. More later. TTFN