A harried ride in Jodhpur

Busy Jodhpur
Busy Jodhpur, India | Art by Todd Berman

Vikki and I are on a mission. He’s speeding me on his motorbike to Jodhpur‘s bus station to recover a little notebook that contains all the expense records for my and Lauren’s trip. Though our Jaisalmer hotel forwarded the notebook to Jodhpur three days ago, it has yet to arrive.

The going is slow on our 10 kilometer ride as Vikki swerves through the chaotic Indian streets. Fortunately, Vikki is driving carefully – that is to say he honks often, particularly when he makes a turn into oncoming traffic or careens around autorickshaws, buses, and cows.

At the bus station, which is no more than a dirt driveway, Vikki and some men argue in increasingly agitated Hindi, and suddenly, Vikki motions me back on the bike. Once I’m on, another tiny man sidles up behind me, pressing up close for a very short and intimate ride to the bus.

After the new man successfully digs out the notebook from the back of the bus, I see the problem: the address of our Jodhpur hotel is on one side, our Jaisalmer hotel on the other. Since nothing indicates “to” or “from,” the notebook has spent the last 48 hours bouncing between the Blue and Golden Cities.

Back at the hotel, Lauren points out black soot stenciled around the edge of my glasses. Vikki looks just as harried by the ordeal. Amazingly, he wants no money in return for the ride, just an email from me to Lonely Planet raving about our Jodhpur hotel, Yogi’s Guesthouse.