This early in the morning the city is quiet and still. The only noise coming from the bus as it slips into gear and slowly drives away. The one rickshaw driver looks us over through a thin veil of cigarette smoke.
He gives us a flat rate of 300 rupees to get to the guest house. I am to tired to haggle, it’s to cold, to early and anyway, he could just leave us standing on the edge of this road.
We speed through the city. There is not the normal frantic weaving through traffic or pedestrians or cows or, whatever. The streets are narrow. This cities infrastructure did not allow it to evolve well for cars. It is an old place.
At the guest house we wake the manager and are ushered into a small room. We sleep late.
Jodphur is a beautiful city. Nicknamed is the blue city for the sky blue paint that seems to cover every building. We walk up to the fort, high above the city. Built implausibly directly into the cliff face. Looking up from the city it is, at times, hard to distinguish where the cliff ends and the fort begins. From the top of the fort the city spreads out before you. An ocean of blue set in the dry heat of central India.
Its loud up here. Tourists talking, taking photos of musicians playing strange, cruel instruments. They sound like bastard cross breeds of a flute and a kazoo. People chanting, people praying, children shouting. All of this noise. Inside the fort though, it is quiet. Locked away from the noise sits lavish furniture, jeweled weaponry, stained glass and intricate tiled floors.
Winding our way steeply down from the fort the late afternoon sun seems to tell us to rest. To stop. To eat. As if by magic a small man jumps out at us. Telling us that his mother makes the best Thali in the city for far cheaper then a restaurant.
Home cooked food sounds good. He takes us to the roof of his building and we sit drinking beer that we have to keep under the table lest anyone sees it (he does not have a liquor license).
We eat and we drink and it tastes good and by the end we are slightly drunk and six hours later we are both curled in the fetal position on the cold hard tiles of the bathroom dry retching having already thrown up everything.
For three days we stay in this room. Occasionally one of us will feel strong enough to brave the city and come back with supplies of mango juice and chocolate and fruit.
I lose 5lbs to this. I seem to sleep in twenty minute stretches. Rushing to the bathroom. The sheets are damp and sticky with sweat. I start to choose what to eat by what seems the easiest throw up.
On the fourth day this crazy fever seems to have receded. We venture from our cucoon and the city rushes around us. We move slowly through the chlastrophobic market. Then up to a hill to take photos of the fort as the sun sets behind it.
Our bus leaves early in the morning. The city is quiet and still. The only noise coming from the bus as it slips into gear and slowly drives away