Jodhpur was another 5 hour train ride from Jaipur. While both cities have an “old city” that dates back several hundred years (and where most of the historic attractions lie), Jodhpur is smaller and decidedly less urban. There is no McDonald’s for example, though the locals seemed to be even more desperate for tourist investment. (Jaisalmer, which is smaller yet and further out into the desert, would be even moreso.) Just like Jaipur is known as the pink city (thanks to all that red sandstone), Jodhpur is the blue city, and it’s easy to see why.
Jodhpur is dominated by Mehrangarh Fort, which overlooks the old city. We stayed at Heaven Guest House, which is a “no commosion” operation run by an extremely hospitable Jain family. We thoroughly enjoyed staying there, probably because they seemed to so thoroughly enjoy visitors. The view from the rooftop restaurant is what you see above, and this is the owner:
On day two we visited the fort, which began with the Flying Fox zip line tour. They operate all over the world, but in India are quick to point out that the operation is swiss-designed and british-run (i.e. safe). Notice Bethany’s exquisite form.
Before leaving the fort, Bethany went to the toilet so I held her purse. No sooner had she disappeared than I was approached by a small, shabbily dressed child babbling incomprehensibly. She was gesturing toward my purse, and I think I heard her say something about “skoopen”. It was so irresistibly cute that I didn’t flinch when she calmly opened the flap on the purse and took out the pen that was lodged there. Then she smiled and calmly walked off, and I was left to explain to my wife how I was robbed by a fast-talking 4-year old pen thief with huge brown eyes.
Turns out, we would be petitioned by the local kids for “skoopens” in every Rajasthani city we visited. I’m not sure why western tourists are seen as a source of writing utensils–of all things–but some have said they exchange them at shops for candy.
The restaurant at Heaven Guest House was superb, and highlights one thing we have enjoyed about traveling in India: virtually every guest house/hotel/homestay has an on-site restaurant that is open from 6am to 10pm and can make nearly anything you would want whenever you want it. Most of them offer outstanding rooftop views.
We loved everything about the HGH restaurant except for the fact that observant Jains don’t serve meat or egg products. We’ve gotten used to a meatless diet, but the lack of a morning omelette was daunting. Enter the world-famous omelette man of Jodhpur. It was a surreal scene: how does a humble third world shop owner with 6 plastic stools and one omelette pan suddenly become an international sensation and the envy of fellow shop owners? By making what are literally the world’s best omelettes.
There is no way to convey the brilliance of this man’s omelettes in writing. There are no words, except those of a sheepish German couple we met while we were enjoying ours.
“Yesterday we had one just to try and today we had four.”
Suffice to say, we ate there twice we had during our short stay and each time left in a bit of a daze. The proprietor and his son are very proud and protective of their international reputation and seemed to be reveling in it with every egg he cracked for appreciative visitors (which happens 1000 times a day, according to the omelette man himself).