Dates: 26 – 30 October 2017
Hotel: Discovery Guest House
If you have gotten used to and come to expect the content of a post to be in chronological order, you will be disappointed with this one. 4 days in one post in order of story telling and photo inserting ease.
Disappointment is actually a nice segue into the yarn about my Jodhpur movie career that never was.
Over a two of days we heard a couple of times about a movie being shot and that they were looking for western male actors. The story even went that there was 1000 Rupees pay. For sure it was another scam of some sort.
Then over dinner, the owner of the restaurant confirmed it was true and we later met Michael who was pretty bloody excited because he had a speaking role in the film. He showed us a photo of himself in a British soldier uniform and told us he had a speaking part. It wasn’t much, only a couple of lines that he tried out on us, but it was a speaking part and he reminded us that it was his.
This now sounded like fun and the fixer told us meet at the restaurant at 0500hrs the next day. We were there on time as was Michael, he mentioned his speaking part and that he was excited. About 10 people gathered and eventually a car showed up to take us to the movie set.
It was being shot in the grounds of a huge luxurious hotel that someone mentioned was the most expensive in India. I am pretty sure Michael didn’t tell us that, he was very busy rehearsing his speaking part.
Anyone who has been involved in movie making knows that the greatest skill you can have is to be able to hurry up and wait. If you add this to being in India…well, you get the idea.
Here’s a surprise, the movie really exists! Well, in production anyway. Starring Rupert Everett who someone assured me was famous and I would recognise, it is called Swords and Sceptres and is listed in IMDb. Doesn’t look like Michael is listed in the credits yet.
We were given breakfast and led around to the costume area. A small group at a time we were assigned a role and a costume. Michael wasn’t, he already had his role, in fact he told us he had been given another line. Excitement.
Tiff looked pretty sharp as a private in the army.
Photographs weren’t allowed, but This Is India so photographs were taken. Tiff fitted in well with the troops
See if you can spot Captain Michael.
No doubt you are keen to see me dressed up…
Shattered, along with some other short arses, we were told we weren’t needed. When I asked the bloke to clarify if he meant just for this scene or at all he said (add strong Indian accent) “I think what I am saying is perfectly clear”.
After getting escorted a couple of times from the area where all the cast was waiting, I gave up and had fun catching a local bus back to the hotel area. No choice, Mr Fixer was nowhere to be found.
The irony is that the scene involved all the soldiers in hospital lying on beds. It wouldn’t have mattered if you were a dwarf or a giant. Tiff had fun, earned 1000R ($10) and reckons he will be a featured dying soldier. I was going to boycott the movie, but then I wouldn’t get to see Michael.
There is a crazy busy market around the clock tower. Many of the stalls sell cheap utensils or bangles or textiles, but there are some gems to be found. M.V. Spices is quite famous. The business (like many) goes back generations and has good quality spices. So great is their reputation that very nearby is M.G. spices, M.R. spices and others all trying to cash in on M.V.
The other thing about M.V. is that M. died a few years ago and had 7 daughters, no sons. It is pretty unheard of for women to run a business, and already you know that another strong, independent, persistent woman story is coming.
Despite being shunned by other businesses and male relatives, these women are going from strength to strength. They have 4 shops, a good listing in Lonely Planet and unlike M.R. and M.G. etc, M.V. don’t stand out the front hassling (bullying?) tourists to come into the shop. They will even send product internationally and you pay later. Unheard of! We sat for ages chatting and drinking chai and buying spices.
In the market, wandering a back lane I said hello to a merchant, he responded and it turned into a long chat about all sorts of things. His son showed up and told me about his recent trip to Thailand where he did all the tourist stuff like tandem skydive diving and of course getting a tattoo.
Not just any tattoo, his mother had died a couple of years ago, so based on a photo on his phone, well, you can see the result plus his dad in real life. Given how bad some similar tatts are that I have seen, this one was pretty good.
One of the cleanest best preserved and prettiest Stepwells is in Jodhpur. It is also only a couple of minutes walk from Discovery Guest House. The area around it is becoming quite gentrified with really expensive hotels and designer shops. On one hand this is a bit of a worry, as if it spreads, the character of the area is going to be destroyed. On the other hand, anything that lifts the status of Stepwells is a good thing.
The stepwell cafe overlooks the stepwell but it is overpriced and you can’t even see in the well from the rooftop reclining area. Forgive the stains on my shirt, I’d had a pretty good 50R head massage a little earlier and he dripped oil…
On my next wander through the market (it is close to the hotel so can be part of any walk) a guy offered to polish my sandals. I laughed because as as I pointed out, sandals are mostly feet rather than sandal.
But like the 50R head massage and 50R shave, there are other 50R experiences to be had. He did a really thorough job and now, compared to the sandals in the cafe photo, they now look pretty schmick.
Jodhpur is famous Mehrangah Fort. A huge structure that sits above the city. We went on a Sunday and while the fort is magnificent, it was way too crowded, so we didn’t last long.
Jodhpur is known as the blue city, it is mostly old Jodhpur below the fort. The name is justified.
On a previous trip I passed an open field where there were textiles drying in the sun. Back then I wasn’t smart enough or quick enough to tell the tuk tuk driver to stop. This time, spotting the same field, I was.
Also very near Discovery Guest House is a small temple which I often stick my head in to see if something interesting is happenings. This time I was rewarded with an invitation to a celebration that evening.
Lots of singing and rituals, it was quite fascinating.
I don’t do floor sitting very well and there seemed to be a no standing rule, even the restless kids were being sat down. I eventually found a spot on some stairs that have the great view above.
One thing that constantly puzzles me is some tourists. Here is this interesting looking event going on. People are looking more joyous that serious. Tourists attracted by the singing come up to the door and are invited in and all but one shied away. What on earth are they doing in India if they refuse an invitation to a colourful, musical ceremony?
Especially when there is a table of food that looks like this!
I think I may have done Jodhpur now. Unless someone wants to specifically come here on a future Kaka Tour I doubt I will be back, even if I get my own shop.
Next stop, Pushkar and the camel fair. Plus an added bonus of Jasmine (my daughter) and Cam (her partner) arriving for a few days.