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The Kirwan Twins Adventures We've finally graduated, so we're setting off for three months to backpack around India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand before entering the "real world."

The Blue City

INDIA | Saturday, 21 April 2007 | Views [610]

Although most cities in Rhajastan have unsurprisingly blended together in my mind, Jodhpur stands out for several reasons:

Like every other city, Jodhpur has a fort perched on a hill. For those of you who have read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (if you haven't - read it now!!), Howard Roark would approve of this magnificent building, which no adversary has ever succeeded in penetrating. Huge sand colored walls emerge naturally from the sharp cliffs giving the impression that it was meant to be there. The fort also distinguished itself with its free audio tour, beginning with a description of the fort as "bloody magnificent" in a voice that was Sean Connery meets Indian Prince. Surrounding the fort walls is the city of Jodhpur, a.k.a. "the Blue City" because, historically, all of the houses were painted indigo in honor of their ruler...as well as to keep mosquitoes away and to keep the houses cool in the desert heat. This practical measure provides for a stunning view from the fort.

While in Jodhpur, we stayed in an old colonial house that preached Christianity in every corner of the building. Next to the random religious references were stuffed and caged cats as well as a stuffed siberian tiger that greeted you at the door with ferocious fangs. In our hotel, we had the wonderful luck of meeting a fellow American, Andy Katz, who is a professional photographer working on a book on India (visit www.andykatzphotograpy.com to see his amazing photos). We ended up sharing a family style dinner (with Jesus hovering over us) and indulging in two bottles of wine, of which we have been completely deprived in India. Gladly escaping into our American reunion (up until now, we'd only met two other American travellers!), we discussed all of our various travels and oggled over his past books on New Zealand, Children of the World, and Sonoma, California, where he lives.

On our last day, we headed into town to buy some Indian spices when we were detoured into a textile store. We entered the bottom floor full of trinkets and statues and headed up through four stories filled with fabrics and textiles galore. With no intention of buying any, we still received the whole "show" of traditional and designer textiles. Many of the traditional bedspreads had such intricate embroidery that it takes a year to create just one. The salesman went on to show us bedspreads that were being commissioned by designers such as Armani, D&G, and Hermes, to name a few. Since this particular place is a government sanctioned store, it is meant to protect its workers, i.e. the women embroidering and weaving the products; however, in India, they sell these bedspreads for anywhere from $200 while Armani sells them for $3,000. It's a bit questionable as to what their definition of fair-trade is! Meanwhile, the locals get a kick out of people such as Richard Gere, who came in and bought 108 of the identical Hermes silk scarfs that he realized he'd paid an extortionate price for back home...

Satisfied with our two night stay here, we packed back into our TATA Indica and motored on to our desert safari.

- Dimity

Tags: Sightseeing

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