After the memorable camel safari tour, we had to deal with a few itinerary issues. Our driver advised us against continuing on to Udaipur because it would mean that when we eventually returned to Jodhpur, we would be travelling during Holi celebrations. He was concerned that drunken Indians would end up throwing stones at the car as we attempted to make our way down the highway or through small towns and villages. As you do.
So, keen not to be attacked by inebriated Indians, we returned to Jodhpur earlier than planned. Unfortunately, although we had enjoyed the atmosphere in the Blue City, there wasn't all that much left to see. In light of this, we decided to check out the local cinema and enjoy an authentic Bollywood experience. Unlike in the UK, Indian cinemas only screen about three movies per day so our options were limited. Anticipating singing, dancing and outlandish plots we opted for a film called ‘Neeja', as the picture of a pretty woman on the movie poster seemed to suggest an Indian Rom-Com. We were most mistaken. ‘Neeja' was actually a gritty and pretty suspenseful thriller about a plane hijacking in the 1970s. There was no singing, apart from when one of the crazed hijackers forces a sobbing Neeja, head flight attendant, to sing to her panicked passengers. Awwh. Still,it was a very good film and ended up being a good way to pass the time.
The arrival of Holi was met with mixed emotions. On the one hand we felt extremely lucky to be in Rajasthan for the famous festival of colours. On the other, travelling forums had repeatedly warned female travellers that Holi was often used by Indian men as an excuse to grope white women. Happy holidays! Squeeze. Understandably, Alice wasn't too keen to step outside so when the joyous day of colours and casual molestation arrived I ventured outside to see what was going on. Ironically, it turned out to be the perfect time for Alice to be walking around in public. The roads were empty, the bazaars bare. There were no men to pull you inside their shop, no men to stare. I walked all the way up to the central clock tower without seeing anyone apart from two kids who, eager to get me involved, covered my face and hair in blue dye. The centre was partially full but only of other tourists who were also covered in blue, green and pink dye. Not an opportunistic groper in sight. It struck me that either the locals either celebrated the festival earlier, although it was only half nine, or with their families. And so, after a bit more colour, I returned home. We had a flight to catch.