Jewelry

I am my mother’s daughter. Here I am trying to live on the cheap to extend my trip as long as possible and yet I still managed to get sidetracked by Jodhpuri jewelry.

Westerners do not actually know what jewelry is. I tried on a few sets of jeweled necklaces and chandelier earrings that would be considered black-tie in America and everyone in the store pooh-poohed them as being far too casual for an Indian wedding. And I know they’re right. The set I bought is comprised of the largest necklace you’ve ever seen, gigantic earrings that have chains that go over the top of your ears, a thing that you clip into your hair that hangs down on your forehead, an upper arm band, two bracelets, a ring, and an anklet. I then bought another gigantic serpent ring for good effect. Apparently the guys at the store still weren’t quite satisfied, so this evening they’re making me a special nose ring (for someone who doesn’t have a pierced nose). All of this goes on top of a sari that is already extremely elaborately embroidered with gold thread and sequins and beads. Once I’m dressed I doubt you’ll actually be able to see my face from all the bling.

As you may have gathered we’re in Jodhpur today. Daniel and I caught the bus early yesterday morning and thought to stay only one night, but one turned into two. We’re staying in a 500-year old haveli with stone carvings and murals (and great food and beer on the rooftop with a view of the fort and the entire old town.

The city perches on the flanks of a steep ridge, with tight alleyways winding around in every direction. The streets are too narrow for cars, but motorcycles and rickshaws vie with cows and dogs to create potent smells. Many of the houses are painted blue, which creates an absolutely lovely effect in the arid desert. Looming above the town is the Jodhpur fort, a 500-year old behemoth that makes Edinburgh Castle look like a dollhouse. Apparently it has never been conquered; looking at its series of steep ramparts and huge gates with elephant spikes, I believe it.

I have a bone to pick with Daniel: he revealed to the guys at the guesthouse that we’re not a couple, which immediately gave them license to flirt with me like crazy, especially when we went separate ways this afternoon — he to look at furniture and I to my jewelry. On the upside, the guesthouse owner took me around town on the back of his bike all afternoon and helped me deal with my sari tailoring etc. … But next stop Daniel and I are married.

I didn’t want to leave Udaipur and now I don’t want to leave Jodhpur, but I’ve been told that Jaisalmer, where we’re headed tomorrow, is the best one. Watch this space.

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