In Bikaner, at 10:30 sharp comes the weird Italian looking- Mawati/Hindi speaking guy from yesterday. He shows up with his motor bike and said the couch surfers left early. I figure this is just another guy who wants to get to know me and thinks he has a chance so I decide to let him take me around. He has a couch surfing profile with references and he is known in the town when we go around. I am just going against my rule to not engage with men, but it is more of a tour guide at no charge.
We go into the Old City to see the amazing Havelis-which I love, love, love. He takes me to a boutique hotel, which is the most expensive hotel in the Old City. I fall in love with it’s royalty, the gold chairs, the sculptures, the court yard, and the silence. How did he know I would love this place? He keeps on calling me princess, which people have a tendency to do and I tell him to please stop. Being in that hotel, I feel at home and like that is where I belong, but those materialistic pleasures will always be there in time.
Driving his bike fastly through the tiny, alley ways, I tell him that he talks like an Italian and he drives like one too. He just quickly moves the bike dodging camels, cars, bikes, rikshas, and cows. I close my eyes on more than a few occasions because I feel positive we are going to crash. He just keeps laughing saying, “Don’t worry princess.” Newsflash: The Princess is worried she is going to go down like Princess Diana if you do not stop driving like a maniac!
Our next stop is the Jain temple, which is one of my favorite temples, but not just because the portraits, but because the priest inside it-Jagu. Jagu is an adorable CHUNK OF LOVE who we have lunch with and talk about the history o the temple. Jagu keeps switching the topic mentioning that he wants me to be his wife and I keep switching the topic back to the history.
Jagu tells me that there are 24 prophets of Jenism. The first prophet is Adina and the last prophet is Mahavida. Jen religion is two times prayer and two castes: the Sitamba and the Degamba. The Sitamba are holy men wearing white clothes and masks to cover their face. The Degamba express their free will by walking around naked.
At the top of the ceiling, there is a swastika, which means good luck. Jagu performs the pooja using colored rice and his fingers to make a display of the swastika with each point for knowledge, prayer, character, and good will. We all sat together having lunch and drinking Thumbs up cola- I could not be rude and say I only drink Diet ha. It is always funny seeing the Indians drinks American products. It always feels like they are trying to impress me showing that they know American products, they drink alcohol, or consume American food/drinks. Jagu does not normally drink cola, but a special occasion for my presence. I feel guilty for my negative influence on him.
We part ways and he looks very sad and requests to take me to the Red temple by bike. Here is a man wearing a sheet around his waist and on a windy, windy day he wants to take me for a 35K ride to the temple-oh boy. He is just kidding because he has to stay at the temple, but the visual is quite entertaining.
We proceed to go ride around the fort and then head to the White temple. Bikaner is famous for the White temple and red temple, which is the color of the brick. All I saw were white mice and I was not impressed because I do not care for white mice one bit!
My random friend is quite entertaining actually. He is always singing romantic music and speaking Italian-he makes me feel like I am with an Italian guy, which I happen to miss a bit.
We proceed to enjoy some Kulfi, which I went back and forth with ordering. When I say Kulfi, the man thinks coffee.
Madam: “We do not have coffee.”
Pris: No Kulfi(pointing at the board where it says KULFI IN BOLD LETTERS(oh India!)
Madam “No coffee here sorry.”
Finally my friend comes and says, “Kulfi”-it sounds identical to what I have been saying for the past two minutes-grrr
Rushing around seeing the fort and then getting my bags to catch my train-it was a nice time. We stop to eat some samosa creation cut up into small pieces with samba sauce-it is really good. He starts to say romantic things and I shut him down telling him, I have no interest and I am very selective. He seems a little heart broken, but I want to be clear with him. He is a nice, new, random friend, but that is the extent of it. It is difficult to be friends with men without them forming a love connection, but I still love hanging out with them and I will just keep setting limits and boundaries from the very beginning of interaction=)
He walks me into the train station where I sit with the Punjab’s eating my oranges and waiting for the train. I can already tell that I am going to love the Punjab's from the people I meet on the train. Off Pris goes to PUNJAB!!!! Bye to my lovely, lovely state of Rajasthan!