Last night we met on our rooftop restaurant for several beers and to watch the sun set over the city. The picture to the right shows our view of the city from our hotel. I wanted to venture out more and try some other food, while most of the others were content with staying at the hotel and eating there. I took the initiative and organized the group to come out for dinner. I was on the hunt for meat, since our hotel was vegetarian only. The two other places we came across were vegetarian only as well, so I had to settle. It was an Italian place, I KNOW I KNOW, I didn't want to eat here, but I lost the vote. I got Olgio Olio, but it was very simple and not nearly as spicy as they had promised. I have asked all my meals in the last two days to be EXTRA spicy, and I have yet to be impressed. Finally after an hour we had given our orders and after another 30 minutes some of us started getting our food. It took at least 2 hours for everyone to finish eating, at which point it was nearly 9:30. We went back to the hotel but were not able to buy any more alcohol even coke since everywhere closes at 8:00. We got everybody up to the rooftop again and ordered some cokes their. We had several bottles of Vodka and Whiskey from earlier and drank that. We played drinking games and talked for hours. I was actually the first person to leave the group for bed. It was about 1:40 and I think the others must have stayed until at least 2:00 in the morning. It was an OK time, I'm not really into drinking, and wine is expensive here, so I'll have to adjust. Last night I got in to a deep and 'heated' debate/discussion with Dave, the only other American on our trip, about some hot topics. He grew up in and has family in Youngstown, but has lived outside of America for a couple years. We mostly discussed national health care and how he (as well as everybody else in the conversation) felt it was a human right and that it should be free. If you know me at all you know how I had a field day with this. I discussed competition and efficiency and how if the government controlled health care it surely and inevitably result in doctors having pre-set salaries provided by the government, which would in turn decrease or completely eliminate all competition within medicine. This would then drive down the standards and would finally result in poorer health case for the people. It would mean higher rates paying for less efficient/capable doctors. Technical advances in medicine would slow to a crawl since there would be no private interest the matter, etc, etc, etc. His main argument was, though not in his words, 'Doctors [should] go to school to help people and not to make a lot of money". It got me so pissed I was shocked I was able to contain myself. I was asking why he didn't go and get a higher form of education or for that matter a more lucrative, and thus more challenging, career. He said he was smart enough and 'had the grades', but didn't want to spend, or waste, his next 8 years to become a doctor. I asked him, "So the doctors 'waste' 8 years or more of their lives in order to better serve those that have your mentality, where you would rather travel and settle for a lower skilled job?". He would have the "few" elite sacrifice their lives (or at least much of it studying) for the benefit of society so everyone can get health care. I asked him if he would think the same if he were a, he said he would...but I just said you wouldn't be a doctor because you wouldn't want to waste your own 8 years. Ok Ok, I'll stop, but it got me SOOO mad. I've noticed most of the travelers I have met in the last 5 weeks have very Utopian view of the world and believe in socialism (even though they don't like to call it that). Though I find it quite funny that EVERYONE of these travelers also would benefit from their 'ideas', and hold lower-earning jobs. The few that I've met that have been doctors or well-off business men do not hold these views. Many of these 'socialist' travelers feel they are more 'worldly' and more 'knowledgeable' than the professionals, doctors, lawyers, etc. I get so bothered by this, because when others are striving to be the best they can and to achieve high status/ high skilled professions these 'socialists' are taking unskilled labor jobs just to fund their year or so of traveling. And they do this for much of their lives. They are worry free, contributing to society very minimally, and these are the people that think EVERYBODY should be GIVEN things for free, since the high paid professionals SHOULD want to help people and it's not about the money. Hippocrates would have a field day with these people. UGH. O well THAT'S the ranting that at least one person voted for. haha.
2nd Day in Jaisalmer
Today started very late. I got out of bed past 11:00 and went across the street for a nice huge breakfast. I was quite hungry since the dinner last night wasn't really a meal (since there was no meat in my pasta). My breakfast included a large mineral water, tomato and cheese omelet on toast with french fries and baked beans in some ketchup-like sauce. I ate it all, though will be full for the next week. My entire meal cost 85 Rps. ($1.70) and I have him a 100 Rp. bill and asked for 5 back. A while ago I would think asking for 5 Rp. back would be kind of pointless/rude since it's only a dime, but prices are all relative here. After breakfast I walked around and bought the book "The White Tiger" off the street. I traded in a book that another traveler gave me back in Lao and paid a total of 200 Rp for the book, though it's probably a bootleg. I've heard great things about this book so I'll try to read it over the next few days. I sat on a curb to read the book and was approached by at least 8 different people over the course of 2 hours. All of them were young men, between the ages of 19-24. At first I thought they were going to try to sell me something, then I thought they were going to try to rob me, but 'most' of them just wanted to talk with me. One of them was 20 years old and we spoke for at least an hour. I let him listen to my Ipod. He told me he worked at a stone cutting factory outside the city and that his father owned it. We discussed India and American and how wages were different. I met his brother who is studying at University, but comes to help with another family business, selling fabrics in the market across from where I was sitting. I must have spent the better part of my day talking with people in the markets, outside shops, and just on the street. Bought a pack of henna that I'm going to bring home. Maybe some wants a temporary (several weeks) tattoo? I am going to find a place to get a henna tattoo, but all the places were too busy or closed today. I just bought a lonely planet for Rajasthan + Delhi + Agra off the street and am in the shop's back on their computer right now. They wanted 850 Rps. for it ($17 USD) and the book says it sells for $23.99 in the states. The book is new and genuine and only a couple years old. I was able to negotiate 670 Rp. ($13 USD) for the book and 1 free hour of Internet. Tomorrow we go on the camel safari through the Thar Desert.
I really like the people here in Jaisalmer. They are friendly, for the most part, and the city is much more relaxed and quiet. Though it's a little bothersome to be caught behind a street cow in a tunnel when I'm trying to get somewhere and have to wait behind. You can see a photo of some cows just 'chilling' on the left.
I'll stop with the ranting and let you go in peace. Cheers!