Research for day 3 is here.
Our cases had been taken on the coach the night before (the driver and his helper made the journey by road on their own) so I had just my overnight bags to pack and eat another delicious breakfast. There was a little flurry of excitement as a mouse ran across the dinning room.
At 7 o’clock we were on another coach bound for Delhi train station to catch the Bikenar Intercity.
We arrived at the station in good time and were soon in our allocated seats but we had a shuffle round; I sat on a single seat next to the window.
Some of my companions opened up a map and set about tracking our journey of 278 miles.
Others unpacked the white sheets from the brown paper wrapping, spread them on the suspended bunk beds and took some rest.
During the journey people walked up and down the carriage for a bit of exercise.
Or to chat to fellow members of the group.
Others chatted to those they shared a compartment with,
Then there were the industrious ones who had brought some stitch work with them.
A packed lunch had been provided by the hotel – far too much for me to eat. Shebaka, our male guide collected up all the unwanted food to give to the poor when we alighted from the train. Unfortunately there was only one visit by the chai wallah – R10 for a small paper cup of masala chai.
The whole of life carried on as we were transported through the country. Everyone living cheek by jowl and bathing was done in full view.
And when you’re little and want to go you have to go!
The journey was entrancing – in spite of my reservations about feeling cut off from the world in the AC compartments I felt fully engaged. There was too much to see and listen to for me to want to sleep and before I knew it we arrived in Bikenar. Our driver was there to welcome us.
The Heritage Resort Bikenar had a less international feel to it than the previous hotel we’d stayed at in Delhi. I didn’t have time to explore my surroundings as a visit to see a painter of miniatures was on the agenda.
I admired the artist’s skill but miniatures are not to my taste.
The pigments are stored in highly decorated boxes.
Then mixed with various stabilisers.
One hair from the end of a squirrel’s tail and empty mussel shells are some of the tools used.
It was pitch dark when we emerged and I nearly walked into the wandering cow.
Thank you Swami Art for the demonstration.
My bedroom was decorated with miniature paintings on the wall.
As I walked over to the dining room I heard my first Rajasthani band of musicians but was embarrassed as the father pushed a small boy forward and harshly told him to dance and sing for us as we trooped into the room.
A long fulfilling day.