“Back in time”

I found this organic farm only 12 km outside of Jaipur that was offering lodging for a reasonable price and seemed like a cool experience.  After I arrived I got a tour of the farm and was impressed with all the organic practices. They are almost completely sustainable with all the vegetables they grow.  Even the drinking water comes from the bore well nearby.  The farm is owned by a business man in Jaipur who hired a local couple to manage the farm.  They are from a small village nearby and spoke mostly Marwadi, so there was a little difficulty in communication. But all food was prepared on the farm and I got my own mud hut to sleep in.  I liked the experience, but started to wonder about the “back in time” description that was given to me. It occurred to me that the majority of Indians live like this and possibly even a majority of the world population.  My grandparents also lived in rural settings like this, without electricity and using the chula cook stove.

I even started to wonder how much “development” is enough..?  This couple running the farm seemed to have everything they need and live pretty well in contrast to their neighbors. Will trading up from a environmentally friendly chula cook stove to our modern appliances really improve their lives??  The only thing they really could use was a regular supply of electricity, but they otherwise seemed to be living a pretty good life. I wondered this in Mexico, too, last year. I learned that in the local markets, many of the farmer stalls were no longer occupied, as people had started to shop in the American-style supermarkets.  But us Americans are interested in local food from farmers markets!!

Pictures from my farm stay are below.

My luxury mud hut

Artwork on the walls

Artwork on the walls

The kitchen where all my meals were made

Cooking roti on the chula

Composting bin on the farm

Local farmer herding sheep back home

My host family

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I ♥ Jaipur

It’s been about two months since I arrived in India and I have hardly posted.  I know all two of my readers have been waiting with baited breath to see what I have been up to.  In the last two months I traveled to Ahmedabad and to several places in the northeast, but didn’t feel compelled to write.  This trip to India has been a struggle for so many reasons that mainly boil down to:

  1. India being India
  2. The trip being different than any other kind of travel I have done

So I decided to travel solo for a bit since I enjoyed doing that last year.  I made my way to Jaipur in Rajasthan this past week. I will probably travel all of Rajasthan solo. So far it has been great.  I am sure this is partly because I decided it’s totally worth shelling out a few more bucks for lodging to keep me happy (this is a lesson learned from #1 above).

So here is a quick update.  I am really enamored by Jaipur for so many reasons:

  1. The city is full of tourists, so hotel managers know how to run hotels!! (yes, the hotel snob in me is alive and well)
  2. You can’t help but stumble upon beautiful and majestic Rajasthani and Moghul architecture everywhere in the old city

3. The city is SOO much more manageable than Delhi. There are even sidewalks! (it’s the little things..)

4. The weather is incredible this time of year. Think Spring in NYC..

5. I tasted the best lassi ever and proceeded to have it daily while I was in Jaipur (don’t be surprised if I return with the extra 15 pounds that I worked so hard to lose last year)

6. I am totally enamored with the pagris (turbans) and dhotis the old school men wear and the outfits the women wear (a daily wear version of a lehenga). The sari is admittedly much more elegant, but this daily lehenga thing looks SO much more comfy.  Check out the pagri montage below.

    

    

7. Camels seem to be a totally normal and acceptable mode of transporting goods everywhere. I see random camels lugging stuff all the time here

8. Rajasthani mustaches are AWESOME

9. I saw a snake charmer!

Terrified of touching the snake who was constantly hissing at me, though the snake charmer assured me his poisonous teeth had been removed.

Reluctantly agreeing to touch the tail end of the snake..

Yes, I fell for this tourist stuff hook, line and sinker, but I am loving this place and happy.

I finally left Jaipur to hang out in a mud hut on a farm for two nights.  I was unsure about this whole mud hut thing, having grown up coming to my extended family’s homes in Delhi and once in a while somewhere more rural and I didn’t love it.  The good thing about this particular mud hut situation is that it’s meant for tourists! Comfy bed, western style toilet and all. I am the only one staying here, but the couple who run this place are awesome. It’s on an organic farm, too!  Next post will be the organic farm/mud hut recap.  Pics to come later. Internet connection is too slow on the organic farm to post anything.