Udaipur - Jaisalmer - Delhi
S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G.... spells shopping! Wahoo!!! I have finally managed to splash some cash since being here!!
We woke up this morning and had a very quick check up on emails as we needed to sort out some banking transfers. My stomach sank as soon as I read the email from mum telling me how ill Lauren has been in hopsital - poor Laur!!! It’s so good to hear from home - and good to know that I can trust I am in the loop with all that is going on - but on the other hand - so horrible to hear that she has been unwell - remembering how bad she was last time - knowing that I would love to be there to chat to her - knowing how she just needs to get things off her chest at a time like that. We only had a matter of minutes looking at the emails before our time ran out, we had planned to send emails to all the next day anyway. Me and Ollie went to the local bakery for a breakfast of pastries and hot drinks, over which we discussed our plans for the day ahead. Breakfast didn’t fill the emptiness in my stomach from knowing that I could do nothing to help at home, we decided I needed a little distraction for the day.... and what do all girls do when they are feeling blue..... SHOP TIL YOU DROP!!!! And that we did. Even though Udaipur is the most expensive place we have come across in India - we decided to pay the extra few rupees and enjoy a lazy day wandering round the shops - avoiding hussle and bussle of markets elsewhere. In the hunt for souveniers - we headed to the other side of the river first. We had settled on the idea of getting a “marble” elephant we had seen which had been decorated with “semi-precious stone” inlay (as decribed by the salesman - in reality a chalk elephant with a plastic pattern on it - but we were still happy with this as it reminds us of a trick we were shown at the Taj Mahal) for when we eventually get our house. We scoured shop after shop on both sides of the bridge when we finally managed to find the elephant at the lowest price of 150 rupees (felt bad as the man looked broken at having to come down to this price - especially when we walked off without the sale). Despite the bargain we decided to just finish looking at the last few shops on the street before we parted with any cash. We then walked past a beautiful textiles shop offering many beautifully coloured saris & pashminas etc. We had already decided that anything like this would be out of our budget - but ever the optimist - Ollie talked me into taking a look inside. As beautiful as these shops are - I don’t like going into them - as their desperation for your attention means that they pull out hundreds of scarfs and spread them out all over the floor to tempt you to buy - as we never do - I then feel bad that they have to spend god knows how long folding them all back up again. I asked for a price for one of the scarfs (in an effort to quickly discount the possibility of getting one so that we weren’t disappointed) and to my shock it wasn’t as expensive as we imagined. Now our original budget for a souvenier was 150 Rps - but we both knew the budget had now instantaneously increased to 550Rps. The scarf was beautiful - full of metallic colours - hand stitched - which would make a lovely bedspread for our bedroom in our new house. (By the way - all this new house talk is Ollie not me - suprised at his enthusiasim for our eventual interior design - it’s good!) Me being me I couldn’t make the decision there and then. We had already decided to treat ourselves to a piece of chocolate cake we had our eye on from the first day we arrived in Udaipur (budget meant we still had to share 1 slice mind! Ha!) - so I called a time out to enjoy a break with some cake to think about what to get. The cake was delicious - first bit of chocolate in ages (but still not as good as my coffee stops with mum and gran on a Sat in town - or the delicious cakes we get spoiled with on a Sunday). As we had now completely thrown out the elephant idea - I wanted to check a few more shops (much to Ollies disappointment! Ha!) to see if the scarf was a good deal. Upon wandering round it was clear that the prospect of spending more money went to my head a little - as we spotted some lovely indian style baggy trousers for me - which looked different to anywhere else I had seen. After not too long we had haggled them down to half price and they were in the bag for 150rps - bit more expensive than I would have liked but they were much nicer than others I have seen. The next shop we hit was full of more beautiful pashminas - but this was not the attraction - the owner was the image of Danny DeVito - and on the same scale!! After laughing at the similarity - disappointed we were not able to get a pic - we continued a few shops down where matters were about to get much worse. I seen a LOVELY scarf - much better than we had seen - but way out of our price range. So annoying when you see somthing you like - but you can’t afford. In comes Ollie and his new found powers of persuasion & BAMMM - the price has dropped from 1200rps to 600 rps and it is in the bag! So happy with our purchases today - not really the best colours we were looking for but I don’t care - it is lovely & can’t wait to lay it on the bed as a reminder of our travels when we get home. Now after draggin Ollie round the whole of Udaipur on a 6hour shopping extravaganza - I felt bad that he didn’t have anything to show for his efforts. I knew that he has been dying to start on his “travellers look” - and he has been eyeing up every bead bracelet stand we go past - so we found him a nice one (40 rps down to 10rps) on our way back - meaning that we both ended the day with a smile on our face (&blisters on our feets! Ha!). We finished off the day with food at a riverside restaurant - playing cards - enjoying the view & people watching before we headed back to the hostel for a cuppa on the rooftop before bed.
Looking round at the shops today - would have been so easy to go crazy gettin prezzies for you all - gran they have those elephants that you love in Evolution here - the real deal & Laur they have countless fat buddahs that you could randomly name - but it would be too heavy to start getting gifts now to carry them all they way back - sorry guys!!! Try & find you somthing later in the trip!
After enjoying the great scenery south of Lake Pichola on Wednesday, today Kay & myself decided to head north of the lake to see just how good that side of the town is. It was yet another long walk, so as usual we decided to bulk up with some breakfast for our long trip in the sun. The walk was a good 3 miles away, which in the sun can feel like a good 10 times that amount, so we made sure we stopped off half way at a nice park to take shelter under a tree. Once batteries re-charged we made are way to the Lake. The north of the town was as just as picturesque as the south, with a beautiful enclosed Lake dominating its surroundings. Which were little cafe’s and stalls set before big English esque hills. We spent most of the day there, taking in a few cold drinks, an ice cream each and everything the views had to offer. Before making our way back to the centre of town where we were staying. That night we went to the Lotus Cafe which was recomended in our Lonely Planet guide book and they were right to do so. The food was great (yet more curry), it had background music (which there is’nt enough of in Indian restaraunts) and board games. After kicking Kay’s ass at Connect 4 and Kay kicking my ass at American Rummy (if only they played it in Vegas, with Kay we’d clean up! Ha) We made are way back to our hostel for a night cap and an early nights kip! - Today was a really good, chilled day! Definetly a just ‘BE’ day as Kay puts it!
Today was a day to catch up with you lot at home and use the internet. Our hostel had Wifi at a cost of 100rupees for 24hours so we opted for that. - It worked out quite well for me to be honest, as the chance to stay at the hostel for most of the day meant I could sit on the rooftop restaraunt and watch England play Sri Lanka in the cricket. Not that it was worth it, the way England limped out of the World Cup! oh well, typical England! Ha After a day of struggling to upload any pictures on to the net (internet connection really is slow in India, even after paying 100rupees) we made our way back to the Lotus Cafe for another evening meal there. We returned to the hostel to see if there was any progress on the uploads, but im affraid not. - We will try and get a few more on there, hopefully in China when the internet connection is quicker! So after admitting defeat on the internet front, we decided to play a bit of cards before heading to bed.
Last day in Udaipur today!!! I’m really sad as if we had more time I would have loved to have stayed longer here!!! So good to just enjoy a slower pace for a while - especially when this means you have chance to sit and enjoy hours of soaking up everything around you - the enormous sun drenched lake, surrounded by beautiful bright flowers - some set within immaculately landscaped gardens, all of which is hugged by rolling mountinous hills, with live Indian music being played in the background. BLISS. The light changes throughout the day here which is so noticable as it looks so different as the day passes - reaching it’s peak of perfection at sunset. This place really is stunning. I don’t think anyone will understand just how lovely it is here unless you have seen it for yourself.
There is no other place we could have spent our last day other than Lake Pichola. I really have fallen in love with it here. We checked out of our hostel this morning leaving our bags for the day, and savoured our farewell pastry breakfast. We enjoyed our stroll to the lake, and were just as blown away by the scenery despite it being our second visit. It was much busier here today with Indian tourists, which was a bit of a shame initially as they were blocking our view!!! Ha! - but after a few photos with children they soon dispursed - leaving us to enjoy what Udaipur has to offer for the last time. Strolling to the shops for much needed ice-cream & drinks, we stumbled upon a film set. As soon as we realised what it was - I could see Ollies eyes light up and he made a bee-line to walk straight through it. I knew immediately what he was hoping for - and sure enough, as soon as a friendly hello came our way from the crew, Ollie was straight over chatting to them - just waiting for an offer to be a part of the filming. Sure enough, Ollie got his offer, and they asked us if they could use us in the Bollywood film they were making. I was hiding under shelter at this point, while Ollie discussed the finer details..(we just needed to walk in the background - and were thanked with 2bottles of water!) I agreed to do it - but told Ollie what a desperate loser he was for running over like that! Ha! We sat and watched for a while - but it was soon clear that it was going to be much longer than 30mins - as cool as it would have been to be able to say we have been in a Bollywood movie - I made the decision that to leave at that point as I didn’t really want to miss out on the view a moment longer - and consoled Ollie with the fact that they would find us if they really needed us that much. I’m sure you’re not suprised to hear that they didn’t come to find us!!! Ollie was broken hearted for a little while - and blamed me for him missing out on his big moment - but he soon forgave me. Ha! We climbed to sunset point and played cards in the shade overlooking the view. Again, BLISS. It sadly came to the time to walk back - BYE BYE UDAIPUR - I WON’T FORGET YOU!!!! We got back into town and enjoyed food on the riverside again, but at a different restaurant - delicious as ever. A few more games of cards - we never get bored of cards. We then popped in to the Jain Temple which was right on the doorstep of our hostel - so impressive that these things we able to be built all these hundreds of years ago!!! We studied the carvings to the exterior, and took a sneeky peek inside and then sat back outside as the call for evening prayers sounded through the streets. Locals streemed through the gates filling the temple and we quietly watched in the background as they prayed. We left fairly quickly as I don’t like to intrude on such things and sat on our rooftop restaurant with a cuppa before we set off to catch our bus to Jaisalmer.
Sorry to say it again - I’m sure you all have the picture by now - but this place really is everything that you wouldn’t expect India to be - it is quiet (for India), green, clean, stunning.
Me & Ollie agreed that if this place was easier to get to - a few riverside restaurants / bars - this place would be worth a FORTUNE!
DEF my favourite place in India!!!!
AVOID INDIA BUSES AT ALL COSTS.
We took the overnight bus from Udaipur to Jaisalmer last night - there is no train between the two - we left at 9pm arriving in our new destination at 12.30pm (with a bus change about 4am).
Ollie had decided that we would hold back on the expence of a sleeper for this journey and stick to a seat for the 15hour trip. A few hours in I wanted to say I told you so to Ollie - a sleeper would have been money well spent. I’m glad I didn’t - as a few hours more and it was clear that sleeper or no sleeper - it would be impossible to sleep or find any sort of comfort tonight. This bus was terrible - with neither of us getting a second of sleep. The bus driver seemed to have a case of mistaken identity - believing himself to be a racing driver - speeding the bus round tight corners - leving me and Ollie to cross our fingers as tightly as possible the whole way. (We should be used to it by now!)
Elated to have finally reached our destination - we escaped the confines of the bus to realise that Jaisalmer officially has the worse touts of India. You emerge to what seems to be an animal rights protest or somthing - with placquards, leaflets, slogans being shoved in your face by a crowd of people. We soon realised this was no animal protest - it is their very unique sales pitch to hassle drained passengers into submission to obtain their custom. To escape the madness we jumped into a taxi taking us to the centre for a mere 5rps (which we actually didn’t end up paying - oops!) and chose to follow one of the nicer calm touts to their hostel (if nothing else it would get us to the right area for budget accommodation). We walked towards the fort, and we checked with him that the hostel wasn’t inside the fort walls (Lonely Planet advises that it is not ethical to stay in that area as overpopulation / poor drainage systems means that the fort is actually sinking into the hill and will eventually be destoyed by crumbling away), the man reassured us that it wasn’t - it was in the old city which is different so we carried on walking. A few more minutes walking what seemed like into the fort, and we both agreed that we did’nt trust this, so we stopped and asked a local nearby if this was the fort, he eventually confirmed that it was, but assured us that it was fine for us to stay inside and does not harm the fort. The room was meant to be really cheap (100rps) with free laundry service morning tea /coffee, which would have saved us a good bit of money, but we decided to be stick to our morals and left the man to find a hostel outside the fort walls. As we were now in the most central location anyway we just picked the closest hostel to us, which happened to also be in LP, enquired about a room which Ollie managed to haggle down to 175rps - our cheapest room yet!!! Wahoo! (Ollie spent 15mins haggling down 25rps a night - a saving of about 35p per night - amazing what travelling does to you - you would never imagine yourself doing somthing like that at home - but out here over 3 nights, thats a meal for us both!!! Ha!). We checked in and headed to rooftop for breakfast - which had the best view of the fort in the whole of Jailsalmer!!! KK (short for Kamal Khan - the hotel owner told him he must call himself KK for the ease of the guests!), an 18yr old boy running the hotel by himself cooked us eggs on toast, and told us all about his dreams to save up enough money to move to Goa and work in a restaurant there. For 18, KK seems to have a different interpretation on life than the one that is expected of him. He explained he is from a village nearby, his family being mum, 2 sisters & 5 brothers (dad had died of cancer). His monthly salary of 2000rps (£29) was spent sending half back to his family, which all of his brothers also did, 500rps on schooling fees to achieve English language qualification (to help him find a job in Goa) and the remaining 500rps on living expenses. In the 3years he has been running the hostel (literally running - 24hour - cook, cleaner, reception etc) he has managed to save 5000rps towards his big move south. He told how his family do not know of his plans to move to Goa - they would not want him to - they would like him to stay close, marry & have children. KK feels that it is not right that they have so much control over his life - it is his life - and he should be allowed to choose what happens in it, what job he does, what girl he marries etc. He also went further to explain about how as a muslim from the village, he is of a lower caste, which he cannot escape as it is printed on his passport. The hostel owner is brahmin, the highest caste, KK is not allowed to touch anything in his home, not even a glass, if he visits the owners home for any reason. He told us how he does not agree with this, and believes everyone should have the opportunity to do what they want as we are all equal. He did say however that India is becoming more and more westernized & that the younger generation want to be mixing with girls etc, so things are changing. After a very intersting and insightful conversation with KK about such topics, we got out of out sweat dripping clothes - and crashed out for some much needed sleep.
We woke a few hours later & headed out for a stroll around the outside of the fort. They refer to the fort as a sandcastle rising from the desert - and it does look like that - pretty cool!! We stopped off for food in a place that turned out to be really cheap - a great find on your first day somewhere - and the food that turned up was REALLY good - really enjoyed it - one of the nicest curries I have had in India - but unfortunutely when the bill turned up - they had overcharges us 30rps for our drinks. Again, in England you would never bother to argue over 35p - however as they had also given me their version of coke, which I didn’t like - I wasn’t paying it! Ha! We explained the same to the man working there, and they tried to say that as we had bigger bottes (which we did) they were more expensive. We explained that we did not ask for the large bottles, we ordered only ones referred to on the menu at the cheaper price. He eventually agreed and we settled the bill. It is still very embarrassing having to do these things - but hey - you have to save money where you can and constantly be aware of being ripped off. Walking out me and Ollie laughed that we could never go back there again after that - god knows what they would do to our food!! We probably should have just paid the extra to be able to go back there as it was probably cheaper than others and we would have saved money in the long run! Ha! Oh well!!!
We walked back through the dark alleyways - which were still all buzzing and brightly lit for nightime trade, and wound our way back to our (I wish I could say nice, clean, comfy! Ha!) beds.
We got up ready and rearing to go (with the addition of many more red bumps on my body - bed bug bites - ugh gross!!!! Ha!) and check out inside the fort walls today, before our camel safari tomorrow. We stepped outside our hostel front door to hear an awful screaming - we looked over to see a paralysed little dog being kicked away from a shop by a local man, who then continued to pour a bucket of filthy black water over the poor little thing. The dog still screaming, desperately tried to use his broken legs to scramble away - but got nowhere as they just wouldn’t work. I instantly filled with tears and couldn’t stand to look a second longer. Ollie went over to protect the dog from the man any further and I followed immediately to try and soothe this poor dogs pain. He was so distressed & in such a bad state! The poor little thing, he looked a bit like a young beagle. I told Ollie to go careful touching him as he may bite with the amount of pain he was in - but he didn’t - I don’t think he could have mustered up the strength for any aggression - he seemed in a very bad way! We held him and smoothed him until he felt safe enough not to feel the need to struggle away and cause further damage to himself. Me and Ollie decided there was no way possible we could leave him - we had to find some way of helping the poor thing - everyone around us was just laughing at us for helping a stray - so it was quite clear this poor thing isn’t going to get any help from anyone else. Ollie asked the evil man if there was a vets nearby - the man smirked and pointed to the sky - knowing we could not get any help from this vile person Ollie let his feelings be known & told him how disgusting he was for acting like that - but the man did’t understand or perhaps care, and just wandered back to him shop retaining his smirk (God what I would have given to knock that horrible horrible smirk from his face!!!). The dog, and now me where I was cuddling it - were led in the middle of the road - not a good idea in India - we knew we had to move him. Kamal from the hostel gave Ollie some old rags that we could use to wrap him up when we picked him up - Ollie lifted him - the dogs head rolled back and his bloodshot eyes stared at me every step of the way - looking at him then we thought he was not far from the end. We sat in our hostel courtyard with him and tried to comfort him from his pain - floods of tears poured from my eyes. A local passed and told us that the dog had been hit by a motorbike 3days ago, which drove off, and the dog has spine damage since. He explained that there was an animal hospital not far away - so Ollie arranged for a rickshaw to take us. We wrapped up the little thing again - and headed for the hospital - not sure if the dog would even make the 5min drive to it!!
We arrived at the vets, a group of 7 men were sat around and told us to put the dog on the table inside - which we did. We explained what we had been told to the vet, and told him how he is unable to use one side of his body. The vet examined him and said that the injury was about 2weeks old, only one of his legs were fractured, the others have ricketts, and he potentially has permenant spine damage. The vet confirmed that there was no long term care for stray animals - we asked that they put the dog to sleep. The vet did not want to do this - obviously this does not conform with their religion - he said there was no reason to put him to sleep - he would be fine - they would keep him for 10days to feed him up to get his strength back while his injuries healed, and then they will release him to a nearby village where he will be able to get scraps of food. I questioned that if he had permenant spine damage, how will he ever source food for himself again - he will starve to death - he told us that it probably isn’t spine damange - that is just a worst case - but they would fit a frame for him in this case. Me and Ollie were still feeling that it would be best for the dog if it was put to sleep. With his injuries - we knew it would take much longer than 10days for him to recover enough for him to look afer himself - it just seemed to cruel to put the poor little thing through anymore - the thought that he had been like this for 3-14days already was heartbreaking. Another vet came over to examine the dog. He seemed like a good guy, and I trusted his word more than the first guy - I told Ollie I didn’t trust what the first guy was saying. He confirmed that he had damage to one possibly two legs, he was disfigured from ricketts - but that he would be able to recover from it. With this more positive diagnosis we decided to pay for its medication - so Ollie hopped on the back of a motorbike and went to pay for the drugs. I stayed with the dog to try and make him confortable again from being pulled around during the examination. When they returned they gave the dog some pain killers we think and put in a drip. We sat for a while to see if he perked up - in the safety of the surgery he had finally managed to feel safe enough to get some rest. Out of the corner of my eye I seen him wake up and try to move - so I quickly went over to ensure he didn’t fall off the table. We settled him down again & were so pleased to see that the drip had helped him so much so quickly!!! They put him on the floor to see if they could get a clearer picture on his injuries. This time he seemed to be walking on one of his legs (which looked completely disfigured) much better than before - and it was just one leg he was unable to put on the floor - although he still could not walk - he would just collapse and push himself round in circles. The second vet was pleased with how he was coming along - he said that he was just to weak to stand before - once the leg has healed he will be fine. Pleased with how much better he looked in that short amount of time from the pain killers and drip - we thanked them for all of their help and asked if they would like us to leave a donation towards his food for the next couple of weeks. They told us they would not charge us their medical fees but that we could leave money for food - we handed over 100rps - but were told that this was not enough - 200rps would be enough to feed him. After our total donation of 300rps we went to say goodbye to our little pup - they had sat him outside away from anyone as they vet said he was distressed and nervous around people (hardly suprising after how people have treated him). The first vet asked us if we would come back to see how he was getting on - we said that we would before we left Jaisalmer - he seemed very keen to know the exact day we were coming - which we didn’t really like - but we were vague and said that we would be back soon.
Walking back - we didn’t feel any sort of happiness that they dog was being looked after now - I just felt sick att what he had had to go through so far before we found him.
I just cannot understand these people sometimes!!! I understand that they do not have the money to pay for the treatment like we have. BUT. They seem to find money to chew their tobacco 24/7. Their religion that they are so faithful to teaches that they are not to harm any living animal - to the point that some castes aren’t able to eat root veg incase animals are harmed in it’s harvest - they believe in karma - so how can not only ignore an animal in such pain - but actually go out of their way to distress and cause further pain!! I will never understand that. Surely that goes against the basic instinct of a human being - no matter where you are from!! I don’t understand how you can watch that and feel nothing!?
Well our plans for the fort today were blown out of the window - we went to the train station and booked our train to Delhi for a few days time and headed back to our usual rooftop restaurant to just chill out for a bit - I had a terrible headache from all those tears! Ha!
Later that day we had a little stroll around the fort for an hour - stopped to find out about a little shop which was run by women from local villages, the proceeds of which are put into a charity to promote womens rights - Ollie stayed outside chatting to a local who was a Pink Floyd fan. We then went round a tiny alleyway to find a family of dogs, mum and 4 little puppies - so we decided our charity work wasn’t done for the day & we bought some biscuits to feed them all with - trying to ensure the really skinny ones got the most - which was difficult as he was so timid he wouldn’t come close enough to take from your hand - so we had to try and scare off the cows and birds from eating it before he could! Ha! Biscuits came to an end and we headed back to close a very eventful day which we did not plan for!!!
Can’t shake the sadness from my stomach - that poor little dog - in so much pain for so long!! I’m sorry India - but I can’t understand or forgive you for being able to treat something so cruelly.
Just pleased that they had a cattle vets so close otherwise I dont know what we would have done!
Today was the day for our Desert Safari, so I was up early ready for my last shower for a couple of days! I dont mind the early starts despite the freezing cold shower, however disturbing a sleeping Kayleigh is a different matter! Now even though I have become a sort of master at it, after living with her for some time and dragging her out ready for work day after day. India has become a completely different kettle of fish! Our starts here have been as early as 5am, Kay does not see that time unless she is coming home from a night out, so persuading her this morning to get up to go Camel back riding and sleeping out in the desert with all those bugs and scorpions was not going to make the job any easier! Anyway after convincing her to get up by dangling the carrott that she would not have to shower for a couple days, Kay & myself were up, dressed, packed and off to meet our guide and companions for our two days in the desert! We took our safari with Ganesh travels who were one of three companies recomended in Lonely Planet, we thought as you hear so many bad stories about Camel Safari companies not living up to all their promises, that this would be our best option. - And it definetely proved to be! The safari set off with a Jeep ride for about an hour, to get us out so far before we would meet our eventuall transportation - The Camel! During the jeep ride we met our fellow safari companions Tash & Cat, two Australian girls who had been travelling through India for a couple of weeks now and seemed pretty cool, easy to get along with. Which both Kay & myself agreed was important along with the guides to make it a good safari experience! So after travelling for about an hour, picking up a beer each along the way (by what seemed like a secret drop off in a secret location - motorbike sped up to the jeep - identity concealed by helmet - the loot was dropped off and we were told to quickly hide it as the motor bike sped off - all of which took place in a couple of seconds! Ha! Like in a film!) ready for the evenings campfire we arrived at the point to transfer to the camel. We were each introduced to our trusty steeds, Kay’s was called Kamel ‘ The Camel’ (very original!ha) and mine was called Tiger, which along with the constant groaning he was making, worried me a little! - Just knew I was going to get the most tempremental, miserable one! Kay would probably say they’ve matched us well! Ha Now was the moment we were all kind of worried about, getting on the camel and staying on it as it got up itself! Which after witnessing Cat the Aussie girl struggle in a ‘You’ve been framed’ type moment, didnt fill us with much hope for our chances! Mine as anticipated wasnt the smoothest however Kay was a natural, straight up, smooth as you like, no wobble at all. Which with me camera in hand, ready and recording for that £250 clip, found extremely annoying! Ha I think she could quite easy go for the Camel Polo club next season! Ha Though Kay being Kay was still concerned that her saddle wasnt done up tight enough and that she was too far forward! Calling for the camel safety inspection to no avail! Despite this Kay, Me, the Aussies and our two new friends Mr Kahn & Sargent (our guides) set off for Arabia! I mean The Great Thar Desert! (still sounds cool!ha) Along the way we stopped at a couple of villages to have a little poke around, the days must go so slow out here. Nothing to do at all, especially in the summer! During and after the monsoon season they can go out and farm, but now some men go to Jaisalmer to work whilst others just take shelter inside away from the sun. After visiting the two villages we continued with our journey for a couple of hours before it was our turn to take shelter from the peak hours of the sun. We chose a nice cool spot under a big tree that was occupied by loads of cows, bulls and goats. Unfortunatly even though the tree was big, there was not enough room for all of us, so the animals had to go! Once settled the guides set up a fire and made us some Chai and black tea, before making us some dinner, we had rice, dhal and chapati (more a less rice, curry & bread) which was really good! I enjoyed it, thanks to my best efforts in ignoring the farting camel that had decided to park its rear right in front of us (we were warned about their flactulance, but nothing prepared us for that!Ha) and the fact that the guides used the milk from the goat they caught and milked right in front of our eyes! - Im funny with stuff like that, when it comes to milk I like it straight from the carten! Ha After enjoying are lunch we all laid back to enjoy a little rest before we set off once again. Batteries and Camels re-charged we made are way to another village, where children asked us for the custom pen and 10rupees before continuing on to our eventual destination and camping spot the Sam Dunes! Once all parked up we chilled out to watch the sunset, which looked great from the dunes! The guides once again got the camp fire going and made us some Chai and black tea, before making us curry, potatos and rice. Again it tasted excellent! Once dinner was finished we washed it down with a surprisingly cool beer, somehow they managed to keep it cool despite at one point temperatures of 45 degrees today! We were told before by the boss at Ganesh that its an old camel safari guides trick of the trade, but the only trick of the trade that Mr Kahn and Sargent had shared with us was there own unique take on the song Barbie Girl. - Which they had entitiled Camel Man, not quite the songs I had envisaged us listening to sat around a campfire under the stars, but to be fair their version was hillarious which we all enjoyed. Along with funny songs the guides also told us a few funny stories about different safaris they have done over the years, both of them had been doing this for many, many years. We were told how when you first start out, you dont get paid. Sargent did not get paid for two years until his English was good enough, which seems crazy as they work damn hard, 24 hour job more a less, not just guides but cooks as well! They also explained how they would like to set up their own safari business but they only earn 2000 Rupees a month and it costs 45000 rupees (£700) to buy one camel, when you would need at least two to start your business. Both guys have to send part of their salary back to their familes in the village to support them, so starting up a business is more a less impossible. I do find it a shame to hear story’s like this, which we have heard throughout India. As you can see how hard these two guys work and all they want to do is to better themselves, but find that their culture and caste prevents them from doing so. After a few more renditions of Camel Man and a few more stories we all retreated to our beds in the sand, for a nights sleep under the stars. Along with the Millions and Millions of bugs and poisonous snakes Kayleigh would have you to believe! Ha
This morning I had my first cup of tea in bed since being out here, though in the desert and from an Indian bloke called Sargent was not how Id anticipated it. Still you cant beat a hot cuppa in the morning. And today was early, the sun had still not quite risen yet. Both me and Kay had a good nights sleep considering we were out on the Dunes, not even the millions of bugs and scorpions could prevent the Kayleigh Sleeping Express. Though once Kay had downed her Chai and wiped the sleep from her eyes she soon noticed the many, many little footprints that had been created around our bed!! Once again Mr Khan and Sargent sorted us out with grub, jam on toast was on the menu for breakfast. Once eaten we packed up our things and headed back. Now ive not yet mentioned the pain that accompanies camel back riding, simply because no matter how painful the whole of yesterdays riding was the two hours spent this morning were far worse!! I think I should have guessed what was coming my way when we parked up last night, as we all fell to the ground with groins and legs in agony Mr Kahn just smiled and said tomorrow we will head back with the camels this time running. Now alarm bells didnt really sound as I was probably too tired and in pain to care. Plus how fast can a camel run, ive never even seen one run, cant be that bad. WELL it was absolute agony, no they can not run fast, I wish they could, the whole ordeal might have ended sooner, instead they run just fast enough to dislodge you, send you a few feet in the air leaving you to land on those most precious to you! It was like playing football and being hit from close range right in the family jools, you know that sick feeling you get in your stomach. Well I would get that every 3 seconds, I say 3 seconds because that was the amount of time I would spend in the air before I would come down landing on the jools. Kayleigh found the whole expeirience hillarious until I enformed her that kids may now be off the agenda! Ha I did try and man it up a bit when Mr Kahn or Sargent would turn around and ask if I was ok, which I would reply “Yep” in my deepest voice whilst grabbing the reins! Ha But the only real rest bite I did get was when a deadly snake crossed our paths, luckily for me and Kay it crossed the Aussie girls path more, so we could just appreicate it from a far! Ha Once operation destroy Ollies manhood had finished, we arrived at the jeeps collection point and went to a hut near by for some chai and to wait for the jeep. Whilst there we filled in some compliments forms for the two guides, which to be fair we didnt have to make up, we all really enjoyed it and the guides were excellent. Forms completed we made our way over to the jeep that had now arrived, for our departure and bringing in six new victims for the camels. At this point Mr Kahn informed us that Tiger was in fact the worse Camel ride there and that he was now about to pick Tigers next passenger, which I took some satisfaction from, now it was someone elses turn to feel my pain! Ha Once back in Jaisalamer we headed back to our room for a long overdue shower, the rest of the day we just chilled out at the Jeet Mahal restaraunt where I spent most of my time discussing cricket with the owner. He was elated that on the previous day India had beaten Pakistan! The last two days on the Safari were excellent well worth it and im glad we chose to do it. Looking back on our time here as we head for our final destination, Im really happy with the different experiences we have managed to get from India. And the camel safari is one that slots in nicely!
Woke up Ollie this morning with a pinch punch first of the month!!! Wahoo - I got him first for once - he always beats me to it usually! Ha!
We are heading onto Delhi today so we packed up our bags and popped them in storage for the day, as we were heading back to the vets before we leave to see Lucky (as we have named him! Ha!) - but not before having some pastries for breakfast (this heat makes you starving!)
We picked up some biscuits for him on the way, and after a 20 min walk we arrived at the vets. We couldn’t see him anywhere, but they said that he would be staying with a local man who will look after him so thought he may be with him pehaps!? A man that we recognised from the other day also recognised us and had a look for him - he said that he was round the corner earlier that morning - he went to find the vet to ask him where he is. We seen him speaking to the vet and waited for him to come over. (It was the first vet we seen before - the one I didn’t really like). We said our hello’s, and the vet proceeded to tell us with a great big smile on his face, that “Lucky” was all better and he went off at some point yesterday... We didn’t return the big smile.... Me & Ollie looked at each other... This is the one thing we were dreading happening. Quite clearly - our money had been used to stock their drug cabinet - and fill their wallets - tossing the dog out the moment we left that day. DISGUSTING!!!!!! After the awkward silence, I asked the vet how the dog would have managed to walk away fully recovered after the state we seen him in days ago, as I have pets at home with leg injuries which take months to heal - not hours..!? Still smiling, he replied that he was 95% better - not 100%. We explained that this is exactly what we were afraid of - the dog is not in a fit state to be able to feed itself - now that he is alone, all that he will do is die of starvation which is incomprehendably cruel! The vet explained that after we left they gave him some food and kept him in a cage that night, the next day they gave him some more food but that night they didn’t keep him in the cage, they left him outside, the next morning the local who looked after him said he had gone (but somehow magically knew that he had gone to the nearby village which meant that everything would be OK!?). Again, an awkward silence. A million things were firing round in my head - questioning everything that didn’t add up - I couldn’t walk away from this place without making it known that I was aware of their little scam. Me & Ollie exchanged another knowing look confirming we both knew exactly what had happened. So I asked Mr. Vet what happens to our donation of 200rps that was meant for food? (We are now sat in a room with about 7 other locals with us). He got REALLY defensive straight away, and asked if we want the money back!? I explained that we didn’t want the money back at all (even though I did as I fear that this sort of thing happens all the time - and because people won’t take it back - they get to keep it) - what we want to make sure of, is that the money was meant to be a charitable donation, therefore if Lucky is not fortunute enough to benefit from it, then we want to make sure the money goes back into the vets practice so that when the next stray is brought in, there are funds there to help it - not to stay in the pocket of the person who was meant to be looking after Lucky, and didn’t. But Mr Vet did not hear a word we were saying - he went off on one saying that the dog is our responsibility not his - he was kind enough to not charge us for his time - we didn’t leave enough money in the first place as 200rps would not feed a dog for that time - and told us we must believe what he is telling us - all of which in the most patronising tone! We defended ourselves against each ridiculous comment he made (we eat meals here for 10rps so 200 was MORE than enough etc, which actually shut him up when he realised we live here sort of at the bottom of the pile too) but we were just going round in circles about what was happening here. I frankly explained, since we have been here in India - EVERYONE sees us money - we are treated like a walking ATM, expected to had out cash at every opportunity because people think we are rich. We are not rich, and our donations meant that we couldn’t do what we wanted to in Jaisalmer (which is true as we had to go on a cheaper camel safari tour than we would have otherwise). We are happy with this decision, but when we turn up to find out we have given alot of money to you to take care of an animal - and this hasn’t happended - I’m sorry - but you cannot blame us for questioning what has happened here!!!? One of the local men in the group I could see really understood our point of view - but not Mr Vet - oh no!!!! The conversation kept meeting very awkward silences and me & Ollie knew we weren’t going to get any further with it - we just had to accept what had happened - there was nothing more we could do. Mr Vet had finally come round to accepting what we were saying and confirmed that the money would be put into the vets - which we didn’t believe for a second. So with my final note to the whole group - looking at each of them individually - trying to get my point to hit home - even to just one of them - I said that we would leave it there. We are sad Lucky didn’t receive further food and treatment but understood that you say you did all you could. We are happy that our money will go towards helping another animal in the future - and you have promised it will. BUT - if any of you are aware that our money will not be used in the way intended, and it stays in someones pocket, then you should be very VERY ashamed of yourselves - as only a very bad person would do somthing like that!!!
And that was that...... We walked out with our packet of biscuits still in hand.... And a lead stone in our stomach.
Why India - just when I had begun to have faith that at least there were people like the vets willing to help - do you go and let us down!!!!
Looking back we have definately been April fools. It was clear from the beginning Lucky wasn’t going to receive the care we hoped for. We are in India for gods sake! There are millions (literally!) of stray dogs here - why would anyone care about this one.
I can’t even begin to allow myself to think about where the poor little thing is now - I hate to say it but I don’t hold out any hope for him - I just hope wherever he is - he is not in too much pain for too long!!!
Gutted at the morning we had just had - we walked back through the little alleyways to visit the havelis - which were beautiful - but we have a video of these so I won’t go into any more detail - today was just about poor Lucky.
We picked up our bag at the hostel - said our our good byes to Kamal (Ollie had considered leaving the compass & themometre I got him for his birthday as he was flabberghasted when he saw it “Indian’s are f*ckin crazy - they would never use somthing like this!! I spend days lost in the desert trying to get home to my village sometimes as I have no idea which direction I am going!” Ha! He kept banging it on the table as he couldn’t understand how it worked! Ha! But Ollie likes it too and he decided he couldn’t part with it! Ha! Sorry Kamal!) - had some food at our usual rooftop restaurant Jeet Mahal & said bye to the owners who seem to have grown to like us (invited us to watch India vs Pakistan cricket at their private party as their guest & invited us to a wedding in the future!) and caught a hassle free rickshaw ride & jumped straight on the train & found our seats.
We were sat by a lady which we recognised from our hostel - it turns out her name is Veronica, a 59yr old woman who lived in London, but now rents out her house and travels round the world for 9months of the year for the past 10 years. Very cool lady. Had a good chat with her for a few hours and then crashed out for a good nights sleep.
We awoke this morning on our last Indian train and it had been one of our smoothest rides yet. We were due in Delhi at around 11am, but after I got talking to a local Army guy we were informed it may be an hour or so late in. Whilst talking to the Army guy he asked where we came from, as soon as I informed him with Bristol, he fired straight back Bristol City!! Which I did not expect at all to hear, looks like are extremeley attractive, attacking football has made a name for itself all the way to Central Asia!! - Im affraid not, he had a teacher in college who came from Bristol! Ha - Still we can always dream, one day! Ha We got on to the subject of Cricket (which I have probably discussed more times here in India then ever in my life before, they LOVE it!) and today’s big World Cup Final! In India today they have even made it a National Holiday! He was saying that he did feel some nerves but is not too bothered as the real final was won back on Wednesday when India triumphed over their little neighbours Pakistan. - His words! Ha We continued to talk about cricket for some time and the sights he recomended for us to see whilst in Delhi before he got off at his stop. Shortly after mid day we arrived at Old Dehli Station and all the hustle and bustle that brings! The last week and half we have spent in the lovely laid back town of Udaipur and the desert town of Jaisalamer, so I think Kay and myself had forgotten a little what these big Indian cities were like. Well arriving at Old Dehli Station soon brought us crasing back to Indian earth! Ha After fighting are way through the many, many crowds we made are way to Old Dehli metron station which we were told has a new state of the art underground system thanks to the recent Commonwealth Games and to be fair it is. It is really efficient, all instructions are in English aswell as Hindi, so the short distance we travelled down to New Delhi station was nice and straight forward. Once at New Delhi we made are way to the Paharganj area of the city, where Lonely Planet had informed us that this was the cheapest and most dodgiest place to stay. As cheap always outways dodgy whilst your travelling on a budget we had opted to stay there. Again to be fair to the people of Paharganj, there was nothing dodgy about the place at all. - Or have we been in India too long now, im not sure! Ha We spent a good half hour making are way to and from different hostels in the area determined to find the best deal, we were told by everyone how much more expensive Delhi was, but we had it in our heads that we were not going to pay anymore then anywhere else. We just knew we could get somewhere reasonably priced and true to those word we did. We managed to haggle down a room with a WINDOW, yes thats a WINDOW for 300Rupees. Which was a great deal as every other hostel including this one was asking between 600-1200Rupees! Thats one of the things I think we have done really well with travelling through India, we have always asked more then one hostel and always tried to haggle them down! And its worked, we have never paid anymore then 400Rupees for a room which is about £5.50 per night for both of us! And this shows in the money we have spent, as coming in to Delhi and towards the end of our India stay we are well under budget! After checking in and having a quick shower we made are way to a nice rooftop restaraunt for some food and more importantly to settle down for the India - Sri Lanka World Cup Final! The game was a pretty tense affair for some time as Sri Lanka scored a very good challenging score, still the Indians around us armed with Tendulkar had no worries in chasing that down. So when they witnessed the little man go out early and cheaply, I think even they started to question if they could do it. Luckily for India their other players stepped in including their captain Dhoni who I had betted with the hotel manager in Jaisalamer that he would score well in the final and sure he did. Hitting the winning runs to the sounds of cheers, car horns, bangers, fireworks the lot! You name it, we heard it! Ha The Indians as expected went crazy, they all flooded out to the streets, hugging each other, running around and letting off more firworks! There were Indian flags everywhere! Kay & myself by this point had moved from the safety of the rooftop restaraunt to now down on the streets with the elated Indians, we had the almighty task of making are way through the crowds back to our hotel! Now because there were a lot of Indian Men out on the street in big crowds and they would have probably been drinking for most of the day both Kay & myself were a little aprehensive to make are way through the crowds, especually as they were letting fireworks off every couple of seconds. We eventually braved it and head down we zig zagged through the crowds and came out just by are hotel, we had one last look behind to take in the party scenes before calling it a night in true oldies style! Ha
After sleeping through the many car horns and fireworks last night, we woke up nice an early today to make are way to Old Dehli to see the Red Fort. First of all though we were going to see Jama Masjid, India’s largest Muslim Mosque. Along the way we picked up some pineapple from a stand for breakfast (just to let you know mum, we are eating fruit out here!Ha) Once arrived at Jama Masjid we could see similarities with the Taj Mahal as both were built under Shah Jahan’s rule. We did go to enter the Mosque however they wanted money for us to enter with a camera even though we explained it would stay in the bag and that we did not want to use it. They still refused and said one of us would have to stay outside with the bag or leave it behind, well we did not want to do that so we took one last little peak inside and around the grounds before setting off on our way to the Red Fort. Before entering the Fort we both bought some delicious food off the street stalls that was extremeley cheap and filling. We then made are way into the Fort, walking through the various shops that line the entrance. The Fort is huge, the surrounding walls go on and on, with various different buildings inside for different occasions, from addressing the people to underground animal fighting (an elephant v Lion) all this was the work of Shah Jahan, the man definetly liked things on the grand scale. No wonder is son had enough of him, with all his extravagant monuments. Later overthrowing him and imprisoning him! Still if Shah Jahan can see what is happening now to all those amazing monuments and forts he has left behind im sure he smilling and having the last laugh! We spent a good few hours walking between the different buildings, stopping to read each plaque. Walking between the different museums inside and stopping off and resting at the many greens that surround these great buldings inside the Fort. Once we felt we had soaked up the Fort enough we made are way to the exit and onto Chandni Chowk, the backbone of Old Dehli as Lonely Planet describes it. And you can see why, its a real hustle and bustle place with a thriving market running right through it. We stopped a couple of times to see if there were any bargains, I tried a few pairs of RaJ Band Sunglasses on before we headed to the local metro station to head back to Paharganj. That evening we tried a nice little restaraunt that we liked the look of from the previous night and it was a great little place. We tried Masala Dosa which was a crepe with spicy curry potatos in, it was delicious! After dinner Kay went and finally got the Henna she had been planning on getting throughout India. Pleased with her new look right hand we made are way to the hostel to rest up for the night!
So our last full day in India turned out to be a pretty un-eventful one. Though we did set out with the best intentions for it not to be that way. Up early and out for breakfast to make our way to Humayans tomb, on the way I bought myself another MAN bracelet, still striving for that traveller look!Ha We though we would make our way through Connaught Place, Delhi’s business centre to have a look at the big buildings and expensive shops, just look I enthused to Kayleigh! Whilst walking there we attracted the usual attention and people were coming up to us to say hello and have a chat. They explained to us how on a Monday a lot of things in Delhi are closed, so we thought we better check it out. We went to a local tourist information office to find out and perhaps pick up one of their free maps they advertise. Once there we managed to find out that in fact Humayans tomb was closed today, we also managed to anger one of the tourist help / salesman in there and not even gain a map for all our troubles. The guy did not take kndly to us not willing to part with £20 each for a lift tomorrow to Humayans tomb when we can pay 10p each on the metro, bit of a no brainer really! After insulting Mr Salesman we made our way back to where we were staying to chill out at a near by cafe and play some more, yeah you guessed it Cards! That night we went to the same little restaraunt as last night, as it was so good. We thought as it was our last night in India we had better load up on one last curry intake, so we had a Masala Dosa again and shared three currys! Mmmm delicious! After polishing off probably our biggest meal yet, we waddled back to our hostel for an early night ready to get up early pack and go see Humayans tomb!
Now as tomorrow Kayleigh will blogging, she will write our final thoughts on India. She is a lot better with things like that so il leave the deep and meaningfull stuff to her. However I would just like to say I have thouroughly enjoyed India and the experiences it has given me. It is not somewhere I would on a day to day basis turn around to Kay and say im loving it today, becuase it can be difficult at times and it is most certainly relentless. But it is a place that on the evening I would turn to Kay and say I can not believe that happened or I can not believe we saw that. The place drums up so many different emotions and opinions, its brilliant. Im someone who loves to form an opinion on something as poor Kayleigh has had to endure night after night on one of the many rooftop restaraunts here. All she would probably want to do is relax and enjoy her meal but I would just have to share what I though of the day. And to be fair to Kay no matter how tired she was, she would always have an opinion back. Both of us would talk for hours, still after it all be none the wiser. Thats the beauty of the place, you can never actually say you understand what is going on and how the place works. It is just that Crazy!Ha Organised chaos is one of my many opinions!Ha The place shouldnt work, it more a less runs right on the edge of failure! But after all said and done, it still ticks along each day at that relentless frantic pace! - Its Amazing!!
Last day in India today - can’t believe it has come round so quick!!!
We decided to see Humayuns Tomb today so we jumped on a bus and headed there - which took about 10mins. Bus was actually a really good way to see Delhi as you get to travel through it all and see things you wouldn’t have otherwise got to. We entered the beautiful gardens that surround the tomb and just sat for a while - they really do their gardens well here when they try!!! If we would have had the time we would have stayed there all day just enjoying the surroundings. We walked round some of the smaller tombs and mosques first of all which were very impressive. The great big huge old gates ooze with so much history - it really gets your imagination going about the workers that would have been using them back in their day. We eventually headed through a second gate - which also contained an information centre about the restoration project currently taking place around Delhi to preserve such monuments - which was interesting to read. We then went to exit the gate through a huge archway, framing the impressive building which stood infront of us - very Taj Mahal ish. We never expected the tomb to be anywhere near as impressive as it was - it really was beautiful - so grand - very reminicent of the Taj Mahal itself. Again the landscaped gardens we even more stunning in this area - with water features running throughout. We wandered towards the tomb - taking in the view every step of the way - reading all the information tablets that we came across. We climbed the stairs to the 1st platform of the beautiful red building - allowing us to view the intricate white marble inlay and to view the stunning gardens from an elevated level. From here you could really appreciate how attractive the red sandstone & white marble building looked against the lush green gardens - very complimentary of each other. We walked around inside the numerous rooms - all of which contained marble tombs - and remenants of the beautifully painted ceilings that had once bursted with colour. After circling the entire building - we continued to complete our circuit of the gardens - stopping here and there to sit for a while. We quickly realised that hours had passed and it was time for us to head back - so we sadly left - wishing it had been open the other day so that we could have spent more time here - and hopped on a bus that we hoped would get us back to where we needed to be. It took us a different way to our last bus - but luckily still in the right direction - and again we got to see a whole other side of Delhi that we had not yet seen. We had not really appreciated how beautiful Delhi could be as a city up until now - as we passed beautiful buildings in what seemed to be very up market areas. A very big contract to old Delhi that we had walked through the other day.
We arrived at our stop and jumped off the bus (please and not having to pay for the return fare! 30 Rps saved! Wahoo!). So we grabbed our bags from the hostel - shared a bowl of rice in a nearby rooftop restaurant (I didn’t want too much to eat as I have been having stomach cramps for the past few days!) & then stocked up on some snacks with our last few pennies ready for our long journey ahead. We had been told the Metro (which is amazingly efficient!!! Much better than London!!) to the airport cost 160rps for both of us - we had 125rps left so we decided to get out another 50rps so that we weren’t left with any money. We tried the cashpoint - not working.... oh dear!!! Not to worry - we walked to the next one - card declined again!!! DOUBLE OH DEAR!!!! Ollie had used the card that morning so we weren’t sure why we were having problems now. We walked to another set of ATMs on the other side the subway - we tried about 5 different machines here - DECLINED DECLINED DECLINED!!!!!!!! Damn it - we were running a but later than we had liked as it was - and now this was going to throw a spanner in the works - we were joking earlier that somthing was going to go wrong as this morning just seemed to go too easily! Ha! We gave up on the bank card and resorted to withdrawing 100rps from our STA card - which we wanted to avoid as they charge you about £2.50p each time you withdraw - but needs must - and missing our flight would be far more expensive! Ha! We grabbed the cash - ran all the way through the subway to get our tickets and on the train - arrived at the airport in plenty of time - and luckily managed to check in with our backpacks as hand luggage (which we really wanted to do as this flight is a bit complicated so don’t want to risk them loosing it!). & now we could relax! Phew! I was glad to find a very well organised, calm, efficient airport when we arrived - half of me was worried that we were going to walk into madness like it is everywhere else here - wouldn’t have felt quite as good getting a flight from there then! But Sri Lanka airline staff were so helpful - they approached us in the departure lounge and gave us our tickets for our next flight - they kindly checked us in on our behalf so that we wouldn’t have to worry about it when we got there - I was very impressed with their customer service - top marks!!! In our waiting time me & Ollie chatted about what we were going to do about money when we get to China - we don’t have a single Yen on us to be able to even get to our hotel - let alone anything else! We can’t even phone the bank to unblock the card as we don’t have any money to pay for the phone call! We hoped that there would be some sort of tourist office in the airport that could help and we would worry about it then. 15 hour plane journey - here we come!!!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON INDIA:
I am sat here in China writing this now. After spending 5 weeks in India - I feel totally and completely confused. I thought 5 weeks would be enough to get a bit of understanding to the way things work - and their daily life here - but I don’t! However - speaking to other people we have met - nobody seems to understand it - not even Veronica (a lady we met on train who had been coming here for 10years) - or even the locals! This place really is mad - anything and everything you see - I can’t quite work out how to interpret it - one day I can think one thing - the next day I think the complete opposite. But I think that is just India - it is so different - you don’t have to understand it - you just have to laugh at it, enjoy it, and take it for what it is.
I think India is a place that we have learned to have a love / hate relationship with. We love the mad things that we come across (5 lanes of hectic traffic speeding past eash other with an inch to spare - with cattle pulling carts or camels carrying a heavy load in the queue as part of the congestion) and the hours of conversation and debates that it throws us each day that we enjoy we discussing over our evening meal on a rooftop or riverside restaurant. We hate when you are just having one of those days - we all get them - and you just need a nice quiet 5mins to yourself and then you will be OK - this space is impossible to find in India - your 5mins will be interupted after 30seconds by a boat ride seller, a chai seller, a speeding rickshaw, a water buffalo that just will not move our of your way! Ha! All of which in 45 degree heat!!
On a day to day basis - travelling India is very hard work - it takes perseverance - and on a day to day basis you aren’t having the best time of your life every second of the day. But when you have finished the day - and you think back over it - you can’t help but love every second - no matter how difficult - you seem to end up loving it all the more!
We are both very proud to have done as well as we have in our first destination of our trip - we managed to get around on our own (where others use tour operators etc) travelling to remote areas that tourists do not go to and are therefore not easy to do - seeing everything that we have wanted to see (and not sit around in restaurants all day chatting like alot of of others seem to do) all of which has been on time and well within budget (total £650 - thanks to haggling everything down to as cheap as possible where again others do not seem to) - and we have done all of this together - 24/7 - and we have enjoyed every bit of the adventure as a couple together - supporting each other on our down days - relishing the special moments shared and proud of the memories we are making for our future - a future that we know we can make through together - no matter how tough it gets - as we are doing it now - and we just work!!!
So thank you India - you have taught us alot!! Would I come back - perhaps not - but I have got everything I have wanted to from my time here - and I will never forget how different peoples lives are - just a few hours away by plane - it really is (a very beautiful, but) a completely different world!!! I never really understood why everone loves England so much - I have always wanted to live somewhere else for a while - the comparison between England and India has made me appreciate what I have at home, family, stability, money, health, the right to take charge of my own life and make exactly what I want from it, opportunity - I didn’t realise that there are few places like home that offers these things - so I am concious to make the most of every second of being away - but I now realise that I actually look forward to coming home too - which is a lesson worth learning (appreciate what you have) even if I learn nothing else.
3 words for India:
1. Thought provoking
2. Full of contradictions
8. Delhi (although I don’t think we gave Delhi enough time to be fair)