30.03.2015 - 30.03.2015
Our group met outside in the dark, whilst overhead was a lightning storm. It was so nice to feel the slight rain, after being so hot all the time! We set off for our trek, which started out gently, up a couple of sand dunes, and over some small hills, and then it became pretty hard, climbing up the rocky face of the big hill. Up on the top is a 400 year old fort, well, what's left of it anyway, which is where we were aiming for to see the sun come up. Unfortunately it was a little cloudy on the horizon, so we only saw the sun emerge once it was higher in the sky, but still the colours were beautiful, and when you're stood somewhere like that, with a bunch of friends (even though it had only been a day, we were already all getting on so well) and a cup of masala chai tea in your hand, you can't help but be happy. The climb back down was almost as hard as the way up, but we all made it without a hitch, including the little puppy who had escorted us there and back again.
After a much needed breakfast, we got together to do a walk around the village, to really see what life is like in rural India. This was my far my favourite bit of the Tordi Garh stay, in fact it has become a total tour highlight. We learnt about the Hindu religion a little more, went into one of their temples, had pictures with the kids, all of whom seemed permanently attached to their cricket bats! We watched the potter work his wheel, knocking out bowl, after cup, after money box, as if they were nothing. We even got to have a go - I had a very poor attempt at a bowl! We also got to go and visit the school, where as soon as we arrived, the whole of the youngest class turned to show us, and our tour leader, their small personal black boards with the alphabet on them. I later learned that Vikash had donated them to the school, so the children wanted to show him what they were doing. One of them jumped up and ran to the front to lead a recital of the English alphabet - I think it is one of the most adorable things I've ever seen. To hear a group of 5-6 year olds recite the alphabet in a foreign language was a little awe inspiring, I have to say. We handed out some candy to them, which they loved, and let them get on with their studies.
We came back to the hotel to gather our stuff together to hit the road once more for Jaipur. The 2 hour jeep journey was just as crazy as the way there, but at least this time we knew what we were in for!
We arrived at our next hotel just in time for lunch, and then had time to clean up, and get ready for the movies! We went out to one of the most famous cinemas in India, which was a beautiful building, made out of an old theatre. It just had one big screen, but loads of seats and 2 levels. The film we watched was called NH-10, an action revenge thriller - not the glitzy, dancing Bollywood film we were all expecting. It was mostly in Hindi, with no subtitles, but we made up the story as we went along, and had the rest of the details filled in by Vikash during the interval. Audiences in this cinema were much different to back home. Everybody gets involved, shouting at the screen, squealing, giving 'useful' advice to the characters. It was great fun! After the movie a few of us decided to go for dinner to a vegetarian restaurant just around the corner. It was our first sampling of Thali, which is sort of like Tapas but with Indian food. You get little bowls with 3 or 4 different dishes. Daal, rice, veggies, potatoes, and a couple of different breads. Delicious, especially when washed down with a cup of masala tea!