Today was another very early day. We had to be down in the lobby at 6am to leave for our next destination. Anybody who knows me knows I am not a morning person whatsoever, but it was ok. The second Jaime and I walked downstairs I was greeted with birthday wishes from the group. We boarded a public bus that we rode for about 3 hours to our first rest stop. Since it is 12 and a half hours earlier back home, I was able to call Winnie's Day Care and speak to somebody who told me that Winnie has been having an amazing stay, and that she has been eating well, and doing just great. That was a perfect way to start my birthday.
We then boarded a private bus that drove us another 5 hours to our final destination - a small village named Tordi Garh
. I know it sounds super lame to be on a bus for about 9 hours, but it was all worth it. We did make one more stop along the way. Kuldeep is friends with a worker at a school that was on the way, so we were able to stop in and see how one of the public schools works. It was very small. No chairs, only a few desks, no electricity, and ver few books. But these kids were very disciplined. None of them spoke English but we had fun trying to learn their names, and they also showed us how they sang and did morning prayers. That was really cool. Most of the little girls have their noses pierced and they had a fun time pointing out that my nose was pierced just like theirs! One of the teachers, and older woman, spent some time pointing out all my piercings and was counting them. We were only here for about 30 minutes or so, and then we boarded our bus for the last leg of the trip.
This village we were at in Tordi Garh is quite small. There was 1 hotel. It did have electricity but no internet
. The people there were so nice. We had a great snack when we go there, and we had a bit of time to rest before we boarded some jeeps and went on a little 'safari.'We drove through the village and Kuldeep showed us their water reservoir. It was 4 stories down full of water that the village saves, and they then pump that water into where they are located in the village. We also were able to mingle with some families and see how their meals are made. I made a friend with a little girl who taught me how to play this game she was playing with one of her little friends. They basically had a thin tire and a stick, and they would roll it down the street. I am not quite sure the aim of the game, but I am fairly certain she won. She was way better at it than me. And faster. To end the evening, we stopped by a lake and watched the sun set. We drove a tiny but further and hiked up some sand dunes and got a very nice view of the city from up high. When we got to the bottom of the dunes we hiked up, there were 3 camels. A different tour group was also up there, and they had ridden the camels there
. When we hiked back down, Jaime and I were the last ones to get to the jeeps, and Kuldeep gave me an awesome surprise. He talked to one of the people in the other group, and he agreed to let me ride his camel back to our hotel! I totally did not expect that! Although on the camel ride back, I did see why this gentleman was all too eager to give up his camel ride. They nicknamed my camel Grumpy, and he was quite hard to stay on. Camels are tall! And when they move all of a sudden, you feel like you might get thrown off and it is terrifying! I actually cut the inside of my hand from holding on so dang tight, but it was my first time on a camel, and I was not about to give up a free camel ride on my birthday. In India. Come on. That was pretty damn cool. I was very grateful and thanked them about 20 times for being so generous.
When we got back to the hotel it was just about dinner time. They had some beer and snacks for us,. We got to hang out on a rooftop area where we ate and drank and played cards
. And for yet another surprise, the staff brought out a birthday cake for me! It was absolutely unexpected and so sweet. Especially because they do not really have ingredients for birthday cakes, and Kuldeep later said he called a friend that was about 30 km away and asked if he could bring over anything that could be considered 'birthday cake-esque.' I am not sure what was in it, but it was delicious! ;) Kuldeep apologized several times and said he usually knows how has a birthday on the trip and makes more of an effort to make it special. I was like are you kidding me? It was the most amazing birthday I have ever had! I got to experience village life in a small town in my favorite country, take a moonlit ride on a camel, have amazing local Indian food, and on top of all of that, get to experience it with my new friends, and best of all the love of my life - Jaime. This girl cannot complain one bit about her birthday experience and I made sure Kuldeep knew that. So that was birthday on my engagement trip with Jaime in India. Best gift ever. I am so happy. ;)