India Trip 2018 - Day 6, Thursday August 9, Jaisalmer to Jodhpur

Brief drizzle, to rain during the drive to fine in Jodhpur, 33°C


I got up at 6am and went for a walk around the Fort.  I love to wander around a place early if I get a chance, just to see a place before everything opens and people start arriving etc.  And this was no exception; I walked around for a couple of hours, the whole place was peaceful, the dogs ( which seem to spend most of their day sleeping in the heat ) were up and about and playing with each other, and it was also nice and cool in the morning air ( and it was raining lightly for a few minutes which seemed to make everyone I bumped into pretty happy ).  After exploring a few nooks and cranny's, and trying to walk around the perimeter of the Fort as much as possible, I walked back towards the Guest House.  

On the way I noticed a little lane that looked like it lead to a courtyard.  This is where my morning walk, and in part the rest of the trip, took a bit a turn for the worse.  I will tell this story now ( I wasn't planning to just yet ) but with the advantage of writing this a week and a half later, once this has largely been sorted, there is a happy ending ( sort of )).

As I walked into the courtyard I walked past a couple of dogs who were just lying there minding their own business.  I took my camera out and was taking some photos when one of the dogs jumped on me from behind, just saying hello.  I initially dropped my camera ( but luckily I always use a wrist strap ) and pushed the dog off.  When it decided to come back for another jump on me I kicked out, in my open sandals, at it's belly to get it off me, but what I didn't realise was that the second dog had joined in the fun and was underneath the first.   So when my kick missed the first dog I managed to connect with the second dog instead.  I immediately then realised 3 things: I had kicked the second dog in it's face, I had caught it's canine tooth, and my toe now had a small nick out of it and was bleeding a little bit.  Oh crap; that meant Rabies was now an issue.

So I headed back to the Guest House ( my toe was fine other than the small piece of skin missing ) and checked in.  A brief discussion and a Google search confirmed what I already knew; dogs ( and other mammals ) often have Rabies, Rabies is passed to humans through bites or scratches, and Rabies was pretty serious for humans.  Wikipedia lists the symptoms of Rabies, and then cheerily says that if you see any symptoms it is too late to treat it, and it is normally fatal.  

Luckily I also knew that there was a treatment for it, which I would now need to take during the rest of the trip.  You normally had 72 hours to start the treatment for it to be effective.  The treatment is a series of 5 injections, spread over 3 weeks, which effectively puts an inert strain of Rabies into your system. This triggers the body to fight off the live strain, if you have it.  So that meant a trip to a hospital, and more trips over the coming days.

So after a discussion with the owner of the Guest House he suggested that we wait until we got to Jodhpur ( where we were heading today ) as they had a better hospital, and we could get treatment started there,

As a bonus once the course of injections is completed I will be immune from Rabies for life.

We headed upstairs for breakfast ( in case anyone is wondering we were served toast, cornflakes, coffee and fruit juice, although we could have had traditional Indian if we wanted ), then back to the room to pack and pay our hotel bill.  We had already paid for the room including breakfast for 3 nights ( 6,500R ), and had paid for our meals as we went, but we still had to settle up a few bills before we left: our driver for yesterday was 1000R, the Camel Safari was 3,600R for the 2 of us, and our car and driver to get us from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur was 3,900R, for about a 4 hour drive.  We arranged our driver through the Guest House, and it turns out he was based in Udaipur, but had a pick up to make in Jodhpur in 2 days time, so he detoured slightly to pick us up in Jaisalmer and take us with him.

So we walked down to the First Gate of the Fort with Hamad and met our driver ( he never told us his name, and didn't say a lot generally, which was actually quite nice ) and his new 4wd wagon.  We jumped in and headed off at 10am.

We stopped at an ATM in Jaisalmer then hit the road.  The road from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur was finished about a year ago, and is a nice smooth piece of tarmac, with a couple of railway crossings that need to be finished.  As our driver said if we had driven on the old road we would have gotten a free 'Indian massage' because of the bad road surface.  This driver was also the one who said in India you need 3 things to drive; good horn, good brakes and good luck.

We had a couple of stops on the way, one for some supplies at Pokhran and another to grab some lunch at an old fort that seemed to be the go to stop for people doing the same trip as us.  So the restaurant was more like a meeting of the EU, as so far in India we had met mainly French, Italian and German travellers.

The drive from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur was across fairly flat country with the occasional hill or sand-dune popping up ( we are technically still in the Thar Desert until we reach Jodhpur ).  About an hour out of Jaisalmer it started to lightly rain, and it got heavier until it was torrential showers, and then it cleared as we got into Jodhpur.

Our driver took us on a mini tour of Jodhpur as he brought us into town and then dropped us off as close as he could get to our hotel  and then we jumped on an auto-rickshaw ( AR ) to get us to our Hotel ( Geeta Mahal, 4500R for 3 nights, not including breakfast ).  We checked in and then asked where the nearest hospital was.  The hotel owner asked if we wanted public or private, and we asked what the difference was; "the public one is full of shit", he said, so we opted for private.  He explained how the hospital worked and we headed off to get an AR to Rajdadisa Hospital.

Once we told out AR driver that we needed to got to a hospital he was very concerned, wanted to know what was wrong, took us there, parked up and took us inside.  To be fair it was much easier having someone there to talk to the staff and doctors, and to walk through the process, but of course he wanted fair compensation for his help.  I went to the ER room, talked to a doctor ( mainly hand signals ) then Liz and the AR driver went and registered me and got the necessary first dose of the vaccine, came back and gave them to the doctor, and he proceeded to stick the first dose into my arse, and then gave me a tetanus shot at the same time into my arm.  He then wrote a prescription for the other 4 doses of the vaccine that I would need to get injected ( which we would need get filled at a pharmacy ), and a list of dates that the next doses would need to be injected.

With that done we paid the hospital ( 2000R for the vaccine and 150R for the doctor ), and jumped in the AR to go get the rest of the vaccine.  The AR driver went in and got it, so we have no idea whether there was an extra cost or not, but when the AR driver dropped us off at the hotel he wanted 2300R for his time and the vaccine.  So all up for the doctors visit, the AR driver and the vaccine we paid out 4450R ( about $NZ90 ) which was pretty good.  So we now had a small plastic bag with 4 doses of Rabies vaccine that needed to be kept cool ( in the restaurants fridge upstairs at the hotel ) and that we would need to take with us and get injected in the various places where we were at the correct times ( 1 in Jaipur, 1 in Agra, 1 in Delhi and 1 back in NZ ).

We were back at the hotel at 5pm, so we rested for a bit in our room.  There are only 4 rooms in the building we are in, but we assume that the Geeta Mahal has more rooms in another building.  It looks like it was a house originally, and the rooms are all a little quirky with low ( like 4 ft high ) doors and a really steep stair.  Anyway it is clean and tidy, the owner is friendly, it has a rooftop breakfast area, and the internet works.

We headed out for tea to Indique restaurant ( which had been recommended to us by our driver from Jaisalmer and the hotel owner ) which was about a 10 minute walk away on top of a couple of fancy hotels that shared a building.  This restaurant, like a lot in the old part of Jodhpur, was an open rooftop with a stunning view of the Mehrangarth Fort in one direction and the Clocktower Market in the other.  We had some beers and a curry ( 1900R ), watched the sunset over the fort, and walked back to the hotel at 8pm.