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the trek to Bhenswara (21 March)

I could live in a castle!!!

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Day 9- Monday 21/3 depart Jaisalmer to Bhenswara

After breakfast we go to visit Gari Sar Lake. The locals are feeding the catfish- they're huge! A pretty place, but not where you'd swim!

We then continue the usual routine of silly chats in the bus, the occasional scream from a near head on car crash, and amazing lunch and chai stops. We grade the toilets, and finally arrive at Bhenswara, a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, in an area that is hot, arid and reminds me very much of home, and in particular, further north.

We arrive at a huge archway, the entrance to the hotel, and see a red carpet. How exciting! The drummer starts and we enter a world that belies the views of the outside streets! This is a house, built in the -17th century, still housing 2 direct descendants ( well they're in their twenties) and their auntie and uncle. They are the highest caste- meaning they were born with the biggest silver spoon, as opposed to some born with dust in their mouths!

Camel eyes ( as we call him, but only behind his back!) tells us of the history, how it was lovingly stored in the early 90's and how it is now shared with travellers. It is a beautiful oasis, with a pool! A pool I tell you! We check in to our rooms and can't get our bathers on quick enough! We are not the quietest bunch, and soon we have Kingfishers ( Indian beer.....and long necks!) ! This is paradise!

We prepare for dinner, but not before a large tour group from France arrive. There are around 30 of them, they walk in, each alone, and head to their rooms. For half of them, that was the last we saw of them. Our pre dinner drinks in a beautiful grassed courtyard are followed by dinner. Different dishes, each one a family recipe, prepared lovingly from local, fresh ingredients. The Brinjal ( eggplant curry) is my favourite!

We get to talking to "camel eyes", who is looking quite dashing in an akubra hat! He tells us that he was educated in a city school, where the maharaja's and noble children go. His English is good, his eyes are better. He explains to us the caste system, basically, it will never change as the higher caste have all the power ( Government, army, etc) and of course it would be unlikely they would vote to abolish the system. He e plains that your caste decides your future from birth, from your job, your education and who you will marry. You can only marry someone within your caste, never ever from a higher or lower caste. He explains that they are changing though, he will be able to see photographs of his intended bride to be, provided to him by his parents, and he can, if he chooses, remove some of those women from the range of possible wives. As far as arranged marriages go, they are very successful here, probably due to the fact that it is nigh on impossible to divorce. Of the people who choose a "love" marriage, 50% end up divorcing- much the same statistics as Australia!

He also tells us that the high castes have guaranteed jobs in high positions. He said it doesn't matter if your as thick as a plank- the job is guaranteed, therefore even the most intelligent person, who is lower caste, will still have no possibility of ever attending university or gaining a government job! Sad state of affairs.

We head back outside into the courtyard and notice around 25 of the French have sat down. A drummer, another instrument similar to an accordion, and a couple of boys are there to entertain us. At various stages the young boys get up and dance, then request we join them. We notice that every French person is sitting there, on their mobiles. Not one engages with the music, or entertainment, thus there are 7 girls and Saheed our driver all dancing, singing and laughing. What a sad state of affairs that none of the other travellers are experiencing the joy India offers.

The band finishes up, the boys look like they're sleepy and we decide that we should go for a post- midnight swim! Bathers on, giggles stifled so as not to wake sleeping guests, and we silently enter the pool. Well, we thought we were quiet, but apparently we weren't!

Bed, and dreams of a beautiful country abound.


Posted by Jochester71 22:29 Archived in India

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