Nic and I hired a car and driver this morning to take us across the desert to the lake town of Udaipur. It was just a little 2 cylinder Tata, but it might as well have been Doc Brown's DeLorean with the flux capacitor set back to the Middle Ages.
We drove for about 6 hours through a nearly barren landscape, where pick axes were the tool of choice, women walked with large pots on their heads, young children posed as goat herders, and animals ruled the "streets."
Oxen, cows, camels, pigs, dogs, cats, and monkeys, we swerved to miss them all. Women seemed to do the heavy lifting - swinging picks, carrying stones, tending herds - while the men enjoyed a lazy afternoon chai. It was truly a trip back in time.
Amazingly, despite dusty desert conditions, the women are impeccably dressed in vibrant fuscia, tangerine, and yellow saris. Not sure how they manage to stay clean and bright, there surely isn't a washing machine in sight. They are the bright spot in this otherwise drab landscape.
Halfway through the drive, you come upon an oasis, where the Jains have built magnificintly ornate temples. Jainism is a religion in this part of India that believe in strict vegetarianism and the protection of all life. No leather is allowed inside their temples, and they practioners go as far as to watch where they walk to make sure they don't step on insects. The temples were over the top beautifully carved marble... all done hundreds of years ago with simple tools, and the careful attention not to disturb bugs and worms.
Finally we arrived in Udaipur and plan to have dinner on a rooftop overlooking the lake in the middle of town while watching James Bond's Octopussy, which was partially filmed here, and which they proudly show every night.