34. Jodhpur

Jodhpur: An ancient desert city, a sea of blue shoeboxes, Jodhpur was our favorite city stop in Rajasthan. The city’s color alone was worth the trip, calming, beautiful and functional – it reflect’s Jopdhpur’s Brahmin caste past and is thought to repel insects. The old city is small enough to navigate on foot and although the maze of alleys and streets resemble Old Delhi in form, there are far fewer people to push through. The people were noticeably friendlier here too – every day as we set out from our hotel on foot, children poked their heads out of every available window and doorway to shout “Hello! Hello! Whatisyourname?” Not expecting a response, they usually gasped, froze, or disappeared completely when we spoke back.

In fact, the two most popular questions we get everywhere are “whatisyourname?” and “whatcountry?” What we’re slowly learning, after answering the latter, is that India doesn’t see many independent travelers from the US. So many Indians we meet are genuinely surprised at our nationality and, if the conversation goes on, want to know why more people don’t visit from the US. How the hell do you answer that?

Shivla (great hotel worker): Let me ask you something, ok?
Sloan: Ok go.
Shivla: You are from America.
Sloan: Correct.
Shivla: Why have I only ever met three other Americans in Jodhpur?
Sloan: Hmmm. Are you new here?
Shivla: Ten years! I have worked here ten years!
Sloan: Wow.
Shivla: Tell me.
Sloan: Have you ever seen Fox News?

Eventually, some German tourist having a beer nearby says something like “Americans are being too insulated!”, everyone laughs, and we’re off the hook. Until it happens again an hour later.


  1. Byron says:

    It does seem strange that few Americans visit – but I remember during travels through Central America that most of the tourists were German or French, not Americans. We’re glad you’re representing us well over there, by the way!

  2. rja72 says:

    wow great picture!

    i too am glad you guys are reprazentin’ the us of a.

    dont be afraid to rock the fanny pack and some socks with sandals. keep it real.

  3. S says:

    I don’t know about the fanny pack, but I did just finally figure out yesterday that I can basically walk around India every day in pajamas. Amy, of course, figured this out weeks ago. So long, cotton trousers…

  4. D says:

    Allow me to offer up this possiblity of why he has seen so few Americans: Many of us when traveling in the Middle and Near East identified ourselves as Canadian. We look pretty much the same…..we speak pretty much the same…..only we come with a wagon full of baggage to explain. And that’s hard to do with charades. It allowed the relationship to blossom naturally, and avoided many of those awkward moments. And that was in ’73…..when we were envied. Now we’re loathed. I can only imagine what it’s like to travel anywhere as an American these days.