35. Hunting Authenticity

Hunting Authenticity: After we exhausted our fort, palace and tomb sightseeing options in Jodhpur we hired a guide for a “village safari,” though not without skepticism. In this context, village safaris are meant to be an opportunity for tourists to venture into rural areas of Rajasthan to see traditional rural activities in person. In practice, many guides steer tourists to villages set up primarily for commerce, the result being that you sit through a five minute demonstration of dhurrie weaving and are held hostage for a thirty minute sales pitch for beautiful but expensive tapestries. You can’t blame the villages for trying to cash in, but we were thrilled not to have had this experience. Our guide, a sweet and affable man with a taste for opium, whisked us in a bare Mahindra jeep to the homes and workshops of friends and relatives he’s known for years. First stop – a guy who made double servings of opium tea for us. Next stop – allllllllright. The rest is kind of a blur.
Ok, it wasn’t that strong, but it did make the rough jeep ride more bearable and probably enhanced all the warm, happy feelings we got from the village residents the rest of the day – especially the kids. Of the crafts, the potter was by far the most captivating, mostly for the simple stone wheel he used to turn his pots. Of the rest, our lunch was fantastic. We ate with a small family of millet farmers who cooked simple and delicious thali with what they had available. After a little more special tea, the most entertaining bit was watching/hearing two village women undress, then dress Amy in a brightly colored saree and head scarf. That deserves a reason of its own.


  1. Debra says:

    Lovely photo, you two…although I also would have enjoyed seeing a photo of Amy a la India.