Thursday, 28 February 2013

Tuesday 26th - D's Halo Slips.

On our way home from the desert we were offered a very generous late check out by Anil and Arvind  who run the Desert Boy's. As long as we leave our bags packed so that they can show the room to prospective punters we can use it until we leave at 4 p.m. D is definitely recovered and enjoys a hearty breakfast (tea, omelette and toast if you must know). He is so recovered that he suggests touristic activity in the form of a visit to the Jaisalmer Fort Palace. We get lost yet again but in due course find our way to  the main square. We climb the steps, pay our admission fee and don the audio guide equipment. It seems like an interesting place.

Then the coach parties arrive. Quite the rudest and most inconsiderate people we have encountered anywhere in India outside A/C Chair class. They appear to have no interest in the museum or its exhibits and are intent on getting round it as quickly as possible using tactics such as jostling, pushing, shouting, stamping and gouging. They should have been at a football match or some kind of political rally.

The final straw is that the Stamp Collection is closed for viewing. D has been looking forward to seeing some of the Princely States collections that are held here. The big attraction appears to be the splendid all round views of the city available from the roof of the Palace.

 We abandon the culture and go for a long, lingering lunch at a rooftop restaurant, opting for the shade of the tented section. D takes no risks with his digestion and orders kathi roll and chips, while R goes for Veg Jalfrezi. We have a last stroll through the bazaar and up the hill into the fort. At last we manage to find the DB's without touring the entire neighbourhood. Our room has not been let yet so we can freshen up and at last get the wifi to work.

What a disaster! D checks the PNR for our train and we have not got the coupe. R threatens legal action. Before we leave we are asked to take chai with Arvind and the team. It is very good and a nice way to part. They arrange an auto down to the station. The train is in but locked and there are no vendors, only a meagrely provisioned chai stall. Supper will be crisps and water. Another blot on D's battered escutchion.

When the man with the glue and the other man with the charts arrive it becomes apparent that R will have to have an upper bunk. The last time this happened she swore that it would be the last time. We are sharing the cabin with Mr & Mrs Gupta who clearly have clout as their entries on the chart are marked HO. (Head Office, High Official - something like that.) The coupe has gone to a couple in their 70's so perhaps age is the clincher. The Guptas are good company and we talk about a range of subjects. He is a retired Civil servant from the Finance Ministry and she a teacher on a part time basis. Today the new railway budget was announced so we spend time discussing the financial mess that the system is in.

We turn in early and R manages her upper berth without any real fuss. Mr G has ordered the attendant to turn down the A/C so we are not blast chilled and we have a pretty comfortable night.

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