|En route from Pushkar to Ranthampore (to hopefully see tigers) we see great stooks of millet piled all over the countryside, recently harvested. The fields are being prepared for mustard. The greens are steemed like spinach in winter. The sed is used for cooking. Or more importantly, to be pressed for mustard oil which is used up north for cooking, the same way coconut oil is used down south.
Grasses, tall, similar to what we know as pampas grass is grown for thatching the roofs of Adobe huts to live in during the summer months as they are cooler than the stone or concrete houses. Also, they store dung patties, and/or the millet in the Adobe and thatched pointy structures during the rainy season to keep things dry. The grass called viveda is also used as an insect repellent.
Yellow lentils are grown here too. Sesame, ground nuts, wheat too. No sugar cane, nor rice. Rich farmers have wells and can irrigate. Those with cows or water buffalo are also wealthy because they have milk, curd, and fuel in the form of dung. You can't make patties of dung from other people's animals, only your own, except at festivals, which is why it was so 'clean' with people collecting free camel dung for fuel.
Bark from a tree of the acacia family is harvested for the bark which they use to dye cloth. The rest of the wood is used to make cheap furniture.
The food for the last two days was supplied to us from the camp kitchen, and was spectacular. It was all vegetarian, so lots of people didn't eat much. I'm always still surprised at people's food peccadilloes. People on the bus are planning their steak dinners as soon as they hit American soil. Brian and I are asking for recipes not dreaming of flesh. Apparently our two days at the game preserve provides us with meals as well. Bonus! And we're told of fish and chicken on the menu.
The tour company is called World Spree and I found it on the Internet, with offices in Washington state and Burnaby. It has been very well organized, with a great tour guide, keeping 32 of us happy, and providing excellent commentary and translations. The accommodation has been first class and the pace has been brisk. We got a great deal because we were able to get an early bird special. Apparently many of these folks with us, have been to China with them, and are happy to use them again. For us it makes a great change from going it all alone and being totally responsible for all he little things (we don't have to pay for drinking water, tipping toilet attendants, paying for camel rides, or elephant rides).