February 23 – We sat outside enjoying the tranquility around the pool as we had breakfast. After breakfast, most of us went to visit the local fort. One of the great advantages here is that there are very few tourists, so the fort is devoid of people. Those that didn’t take today’s morning tour, stayed at Amanbagh to enjoy the spa, the pool and/or the solitude. When you sit outside, all you hear is the chattering of birds and monkeys.
Although the evenings are cool, during the day it’s in the mid-80s. Several of us thought it too bad that we didn’t stay here for an extra day or two. This quiet place is a stark contrast to the chaos and dust that is India’s cities.
At 3:30PM we left for our “cow dust” tour. This tour allowed us to drive through some very rural towns at the traditional evening preparation time. (When the cows go home and create dust as the move.) We saw smiling faces everywhere even though the life here is not great. This is the dry season and everyone is working the land. The monsoon starts in late June and ends at the beginning of October. These farmers are far more successful than the extremely poor people we’ve seen in the cities. Everyone waved at us as our little three-jeep caravan moved very slowly through their tiny villages. (See photo below.)
We got back to the Amanbagh at about 5:15PM and all of us went off to our rooms to prepare for cocktail hour and dinner. Because Kingfisher Airlines has declared bankruptcy, our flight tomorrow to Udaipur is in jeopardy. Therefore, Peirce and Leslie have decided to drive us. It is an 8-hour drive and although we all understand the reasons for driving, none of us is thrilled with such a lengthy drive. We will be in cars instead of the bus, so that is a great help.