Mount Abu, India

Sunday, April 21, 1929

The sun and flies woke us up shortly after seven. I transferred my bed to a cool slab of rock across the tracks in the shade of a freight car because I still felt rotten. Some time later Mort came over to get me. A man had brought tea and a large melon, so we fell to. A crowd of some thirty natives, the women brilliantly dressed in red, yellow, and green with whole arms full of bracelets, ankles full, noses full, and ears full. A half-dozen naked kids hung around. The station master spoke English as did three or four others. They were more than interested in America, and the former had the best time demonstrating how tall the buildings grew in Chicago and New York. Everybody knows of these cities and New York is spoken of with much awe and reverence. The large suitcase was open and they pulled everything out, examining the books, clothes, and what-not with childish curiosity. Frank started the victrola to get the crowd in close while Mort took a picture. Then they all wanted pictures taken, and those of higher caste wanted to be taken without those of lower caste.

At 8:30 we were on our way back to Marwar Junction where we recovered the knapsack, everything pulled out and examined. At noon we again started for Abu Road. The route lay across a plain with the long range of Aravalli Mountains to our left, and with much outcropping of huge rock hills and mountains, often 2,000 and 3,000 feet high, in the plain. In prehistoric times there was probably a mighty range of mountains where this plain now is. The sky was cloudy and it actually rained a few drops. Even this little bit changed the appearance of the country completely. There is a little cultivation here. We crossed a broad, shallow river that meandered down the plain several times. It was absolutely dry. A few miles from Abu Road we entered a valley with the pretty mountains on both sides.

Landing in Abu Road at 4:30, we threw a few things into a knapsack and took the bus to Mount Abu. Hardly before we were out of this small village, the road began to ascend and for 17 miles it went up at a steep grade. It wound in and out of the mountains, always twisting and turning, now going between two rock walls, now hanging close to the side of a cliff with a few hundred feet drop on the other side. It was a wild, rugged beauty that made us work our necks overtime. The birdlife was very colorful. Scores of monkeys, all sizes, played about in the trees by the roadside, making impossible leaps and traveling like lightning.

We finally reached Mount Abu. It is just a beautiful garden set in a hilly bowl, with mountain peaks all around. The air is cooler and invigorating. The place is a regular summer resort. All around are these fantastical rock outcroppings. We put up in the Dak Bungalow at 1 rupee per day + meals. It is more than beautiful here and will be hard to leave. After eggs and tea for dinner, we walked down to the lake. The moon was very nearly full and you could plainly see all of the mountains, the tall palms outlined against the light sky, and the reflection of the moon in the still water. High above the lake the tower of a temple rose high above its rocky crag.

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