We left the fort and headed down into the old city of Jodphur by the clock tower. The roads were completely crazy; a seething mass of cars, trucks, bikes, rickshaws and cows. The cows didn’t care in the slightest that they were causing chaos, plodding calmly along or casually stopping in the middle of a roundabout.
There were lots of interesting small shops and stalls that we would have loved to look in but surprise, surprise, our guide took us straight to another “government” shop where he claimed we could get great prices. Each time we went into one they would give us the same sales spiel. The prices at this one were a bit less than Udaipur so once again, we found ourselves buying more scarves and bedding. I was really conscious that we should have been at the homestay much earlier but you can’t hurry the decision of which colour shawls to buy.
Eventually, purchases completed , we found Chotu – a minor miracle in itself -and started the journey out to the rural village of Salawas about half an hour away. The gates were closed when we arrived but an obligatory honk of the horn and they were opened for us to drive in.
We were immediately welcomed by Chhotaram who had been waiting for our arrival. His wife came forward and put a mark in the middle of our foreheads and tied a good luck bracelet around our wrists.
We were introduced to the family and then to the little cow dung clad mud hut which would be our home for the next two nights. It might not have had a shower that worked but the wifi did and that was good enough for us.
We gathered in the courtyard outside the family living area with Chhotaram plus Shivazee and his wife – film makers from Hyderabad who were organising an artists residency. First guests would be arriving the next day.
We could see the women of the family cooking in the kitchen which basically consisted of an open fire at floor level. When the meal came, we sat on the floor to eat with our hands out of a metal dish. The meal that night was a little spicy for me so I stuck to the chapatis and millet bread.
It was my turn for the 3rd bed which turned out to be one of the long seats which had been in the courtyard when we first arrived – rather like sleeping on a solid hammock. We went to bed giggling like a trio of school girls. It was only the next day that we realised how much the sound echoed around. We’d probably kept the whole village awake!