Here I am on my first holiday in India and I am feeling like I always do when I go out to eat Indian food at home. Everything looks fantastic on the menu and I can’t bear choose just one thing—so I order a few things for the table to share. We have some rice, couple different curries, maybe tandoori fish and some naan bread. Inevitably I only manage to eat a bite or so of each thing on my plate before I am stuffed and end up taking the leftovers home to eat for lunch in subsequent days.
I think we over-ordered on this trip to Rajasthan.
The twelve days I planned included visits to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur. I didn’t account for the 100+ heat or Josh and I getting sick (nothing a trip to the Dr. and some industrial-strength antibiotics couldn’t handle) or the toxic combination of pollution, traffic, and noise.
Despite the negatives — India is addictive. Stepping back in time to the Mughal Empire we imagine a life of a Raj — Lavish, ornate, bejeweled, powerful, and dazzling.
Each day we have a new palace, red sandstone fort or twisting alley to explore. I can’t get enough photos of women in jewel colored saris, old men with swooping mustaches, parades of elephants and dark-eyed children. I shoot until my head aches and the cities blur together.
For everyone in the province not lucky enough to be born a king: it is a hot, dusty and hard living. We were lucky enough to spend a few nights outside of Jodhpur in a tiny village of 500 people and see how the rest of the world lives. These were the best days of our trip.
In the morning I rose with the sun and went out to the step well with the women to collect water.
The “women” of the village — actually teenage girls — run the homes and do heavy construction in the village. They carry everything from water jugs to piles of rocks on their heads.
Although most people live here without running water or electricity, cook over a fire and sleep with their livestock — they all have cell phones. These girls work hard to provide for their families and I admire their beauty and their strength.
We also visited a block printing textile family. They have been printing and dyeing fabric for five generations.
The blocks are carved from wood,
Later that evening, Max and I went out to shoot the sunset with our guide and saw many animals (cows, goats, camels, peacocks) out for an evening stroll — including a cobra!
I feel like we are going to need a week to decompress everything we’ve experienced on the road this week. I look forward to sharing more with you later; I hope that by blogging with you, we can “eat the leftovers” that are now cramming the “fridge” from our feast of India.