Thursday, December 22, 2011

The lodge by the river near Khajurahu

I am several days behind in documenting our trip. Every other day is a travel day, so you would think that there would be time to catch up. But the truth is that the roads have been atrocious and our driver has, shall we say not been terribly sensitive when encountering the bumps in the road as he barrels ahead. Things have improved since Al had a stern talk with him but still, there is only so much writing I can do in these conditions.

The other problem is that our days are so jam packed with experiences, that are worthy of noting that as much as I would like to skip a day, I just can’t. So I guess, little by little it will all get done. I have the pictures to remind me of the most important bits so hopefully where my memory fades, I will have reminders.

So where were we?

Al was talking to a man on the phone and looking for a boy on a bike. Right.

We were to be staying at a lodge outside of Khajurahu. Anja had described it as basic but nice, so we really didn’t know what to expect. The boy on a bike eventually arrived and the bus headed after him on the paved road for about 300 meters. Then he turned down what looked like an opening in the bush, not a road at all. We and our bus driver rubbed our eyes in disbelief. How could anyone ever find this place? And how was a 20 passenger bus going to manage to traverse this sandy gravel road through the bush?

Travelling at about 5k an hour we followed the road (or whatever you want to call it) until we finally arrived at an open space where the bus stopped. But we couldn’t see any semblance of a lodge or anything for that matter. Two or three people arrived with a list of rooms and we were to follow one of them to our cottages which were somewhere out in the bush in several directions. “Maybe tree houses?” I said to Marc. We all carried our bags for what seemed to be an eternity as the sun was setting, not sure how we would find each other once we were settled in whatever kind of cottages could possibly be way out here in the middle of nowhere. An episode of the twilight zone for sure! There were light bulbs on poles along the way and we were all hoping there was electricity in this place so that we would have a clue as to where we were.

“Guys” Al said in his usual optimistic tone, Let’s meet in the bar for drinks as soon as you are settled. Dinner is at 7:00”. But where was the bar, we all quieried? He didn’t have a clue, but assumed it would be easy to find if we followed the light bulbs. 

Two groups were shuffled down another lit sandy path, and soon we came to another road to the left which we followed and eventually saw a large cottage. Inside were two spacious (very) rustic suites, with a very large living room equipped with a central adobe style fireplace, tables and chairs and a bar area with cups and saucers and a sink. In our suite was a large bathroom with a two sided mirrored vanity, towel rack and modern sink and toilet. There was a promise of hot water courtesy of a burning fire out back that somehow heated the water.

There was a flashlight, candle and mosquito coils on the table in the bedroom.

If we were in Canada, we would have thought the rustic aspects of the place were deplorable, but here just outside of Khajurahu, it was almost paradise.

The biggest treat though was the bar and dining room once we found it. Luckily, Al and Anja were staying in the other suite in our building so they helped us find it.

I had been joking about the tree house idea, but the bar and dining room were actually pretty much built into a group of trees that overlooked a gorgeous river. We all climbed the stair to the balcony and witnessed an amazing sunset in what turned out to be an absolutely spectacular spot. After many beers and cocktails, we were invited for dinner in a large formal style dining room with large wooden tables and carved chairs. We were served a wonderful Indian meal and rice pudding for dessert. All of the unpleasantness of our experience with the Maharaja was long forgotten as we focused on our new experience here in the middle of nowhere!

The next morning we had a guided tour of the erotic temples of Khajurahu, with their exquisite carved exteriors. Our guide brought to our attention the progressiveness of the Indian culture of 1000 years ago. He had a good sense of humour as well as being quite knowledgeable, and we managed to see many erotic poses and the explanations behind them. For the prudes following my blog, you may want to skip the photos. Some would certainly have a R rating, but most are definitely x rated. View at your own risk!

Our cottages were so well set up for entertaining, that it simply made sense to take advantage. There was a trip to the local “bottle shop” while we were in town, and a  plan for a “girls only” get together before dinner. A second plan for a group party after dinner was also gelling. Both parties were well attended and I think it was the perfect activity to break any ice still needing to be broken. We were a solid group now, Ready for anything that was going to be thrown our way.

On the way out of town, we passed a huge local market. Marc gave a shout to Al to see if we could stop the bus and take a look. “Sure can” was his answer and we stopped for a photo op and to enjoy the local colour. Here are a few photos.

 Every driving day, we stop for local food. Inevitably, we become the centre of attention. Here are a couple of photos from one of the stops.

No comments:

Post a Comment