Deserts, palaces, turbans and legends abound in Rajasthan. This is the India that I have dreamed about for so many years. I was here for about 3 weeks and so many incredible things happened.
I met two brothers named Andy and Manu in Udaipur, a beautiful and romantic city. They took me in as a brother. Their father is a strict Hindu man, who literally follows all of the traditions. The brothers took me all over the countryside and even to their friend's mothers house for a delicious Rajasthani mutton dinner. The brothers drank a little too much local rose wine during the dinner and when we returned back to their home, there was trouble. I went to the roof of the house to call my friend on the phone, but all I then heard was a blood-curdling scream. The scream was from a woman, and it lasted for 10 minutes. All of the neighbors stood from their balconies and wondered what was happening. After this, I heard the same kind of scream from a man's voice, but it lasted almost 30 minutes. The father stormed upstairs and asked me, with his finger in my face, did you have anything to drink tonight!!! Yelling he would call the cops. I had no idea what happened. The older brother then explained to me that the gods, Kali and Durga were very angry that they had drank on a festival Sunday. He then showed me his younger brother who was crawling on the floor, throwing up, his head smashed open and bleeding and his tooth chipped.
The next day I went with them to the hospital, and I have to say, I hope I never have to see an Indian hospital again in my life. 40 people in a room, sitting on hard mats, moans of pain and suffering everywhere....And this was the emergency room. The younger brother was so happy I was there. He looked lightheaded and out of it. But later in the evening, the older brother said I reminded him of their other brother who passed away 3 years before. He had died of mouth cancer. He said that I was a brother to them now. And about 30 minutes later the younger brother said the exact same thing. That really made me feel good.
So, I still don't really know what happened that fateful evening in Udaipur. And after 2 months in India, I have to admit that I don't know much about Hinduism. It is still a huge mystery to me. I learned that being present with the brothers through all of that was really special for them. And that being present and living in the moment is the best service I can provide to anyone.
My trip in Rajasthan continued on through Jodhpur and on to Jaisalmer, a fort city in the middle of the desert. I really wanted to go on a camel safari there and signed up with three others, an Australian named Joel, a Russian named Alex and a Canadian named Amy. The 3 day safari was such a great experience.
Being out at night, under the stars in the desert, was heavenly. Our guide from the village sang local Hindi songs as his face was ablaze with the shadow of the fire. Our other guide was a very old man with a turban who only said "Very nice!" every few hours. We sat under our blankets and looked at the constellations. And during the day, the camels made us laugh with their constant farting and funny faces.
India is addicting. Travel is my addiction, and I must continue it. I am not addicted to drugs, or food, or household products, but travel. It is something that is in my blood, and I would never be able to extract it.
India is a place like no other. It is in the dirt here. Something special, something amazing, something incredible. Incredible India.