We have an extra person in the our hostel room, Gary the Lizard. These likable little creatures seem to be everywhere, wriggling along at lightening quick speed. They are no longer than 20cm and are no harm to us humans., still if I woke up with one on my face, I’d scream like a girl.
I wake up late and decide to wash my filthy stinking clothes. In India this means using a special soap bar (7R), a bucket of water and a helping of good old fashioned elbow grease. I suddenly fall passionately in love with the man that invented the washing machine. Legend. However, ending this small note on a plus, the clothes dry in less than an hour in the baking Rajasthan heat. Brucie.
Raj organises everything, we just follow. And today, is no different. We jump in our car and visit a Vishnu temple. We drink a spiritual herbal drink and we set on our way. I’m not too sure what was in that drink but it made the day a bit if a blur. We visited Raj’s friend in his house, he served us food and drink with a huge smile. He fathers a small child, rocking her in an ancient pram suspended from the ceiling by a washing line. He has a good soul. We eat the feast in silence. Grateful but taken aback by being in a real Indians house for the first time. Maybe we should be paying for the food. Either way, the guy was honoured to have us.
We visit another temple. Removing our shoes, we walk up the stairs and greet people with our hands together speaking deep and soft ‘hari-aum’. This time we have orange paint put on our foreheads and we drink some holy water that is put into hands. The inside of the temple is plastered with tiny mirrors and delicate carvings. We followed Raj and circled the temple in a clockwise fashion. Men with white gowns and red and orange head pieces greet us. I can’t explain how I feel but I’m floating. In a dream. Noises seem to be crystal clear, in high definition. People’s kindness is overwhelming. We are invited back for dinner later on in the day. Raj has gone all out to show us the real India. I like a little bit more.
On our arrival at a Vishnu temple, we are greeted with the same respect and smiles that we are at all the Hindu temples. However, on leaving the temple, a holy man asked Phil for a donation, spinning from the herbal remedy, Phil hands over 500R as he thought it was compulsory. We will soon learn that some temples in India will ask for money at every given opportunity. No temple has compulsory charges. Lesson learned the hard way.
We found a lake, with local men washing their clothes at the ghat. Hot and disorientated from the herbal remedy, Joe and I dare each other to jump in from the bridge. Before I know it, Joe is leaping off the bridge with some local Indian boys. Not wanting my ego dented, I strip down to my boxer shorts and take the plunge after him. Life is about decisions. I’m glad I made this one. I’m living my life, I’m the yes man. Do something that scares you daily.
As darkness falls Mungo takes us to the temple for dinner. We walk down a dark alley that your Mum would tell you is a bad idea. we enter the temple with a flurry of people wishing us well. They lay a fresh coir floor mat and we join the locals on the floor for some freshly prepared food. People are on hand, restocking our plates with Dahl, fried vegetables, chapati and sweet puri. The fuss was overwhelming, a constant barrage of food stacked on our plates the minute we finished, these humble and proud guys would not accept we were full. They were honoured to have us. A sign of respect. We pose for pictures with the important figures of the temple and the kitchen staff.
The craziest day so far. This adventure keeps giving. Dizzy, I crash out, ready for a new chapter. We leave for Jaisalmer tomorrow night.