Saturday, 4 December 2010

Moving On


We arrived in Pushkar in the afternoon and met a lad who gave us a card for a cheap hotel with a pool, sounded good so we checked in only to find the pool was more like a garden pond full of green crap.  It was cheap though so we stayed a couple of nights. 

First day we walked up to a hill top temple with good views of the small city, carrying a stick with us as protection from those evil monkeys - they're everywhere.  We spent the afternoon sitting in the sun then waliked into town to find food, Pushkar is strickly vegeterian and alcohol is illegal but we found somewhere we could get a beer and a pretty good veggie lasagne. As it is wedding season there are parades every 20 minutes or so walking around the streets playing drums, trumpets and some kind of organ, all played together completly out of tune, and the noise goes on well into the night. It sounds a bit like really bad jazz played by deaf people.
Next day we set off to walk around the lake where we were approached by a "priest" the kind we have read about in the guide book, so as he started forcing flowers into our hands and insisting on us putting them in the lake to bless our families we knew he was just after money, we politely refused but he got angry shouting and pointing I thought Chris was going to throw him in the lake but we managed to get away from him - Holy man my ass-.
We decided that we would have a night in own original guest house we had intended to stay at whilst in Pushkar, the Pink Floyd Cafe & Hotel. It had a great location and a really nice rooftop garden, so we spent our last day just chilling out up there, in the sun. Pushkar is only small and you can walk from one side to the other in less than 10 mins. There is yet again some good shopping and Chris decided to buy some black pants for when he gets to the beach, Rs200 bargain, just under £3.

We were leaving for Udaipur at 9pm on a bus but from Ajmer bus station, about 30 mins away, so we had been told to meet at 7pm to start the next leg of our journey. This was to be our first night bus journey so we wern't sure what to expect but it was ok and we made it to Udaipur knackered none the less at 4:30am. It's a bit strange arriving in the middle of the night you just have to trust the locals on the bus, we could have been absolutely anywhere, but I think it was Udaipur. We managed to find a place to check into for our first night, with the help of our rickshaw driver- a little more than we wanted to pay (Rs400) but have dedcided to check out a few more cheapies for our remaining time here. I can't really say anything about Udaipur yet as I haven't left my room yet so I think I'll go and check it out and report back soon. Hope your all well? x


Yep definately Udaipur I reconise that lake palace from Octopussy, oh and the fact that every hotel here shows that film every night at 8pm. Every night? well we have decided that our hotel is too nice to leave and are just going to stay here for a few nights before leaving to Mt Abu (check this page out - ) on Monday. We haven't really explored Udaipur yet and are saving it till we get back here on the 9th Dec. We're going to leave some gear here in the hotel and travel light for a few days whilst off trekking. We have arranged some Indian cooking lessons (I can't wait, to eat what I make.) for our return and plan to visit the City Palace and hire a boat to check the lake out. Don't have any pics yet really but don't worry I will have some soon. I'll be back.

Friday, 3 December 2010


We are still in Varanasi and are booked on a train for Saturday night. In the past few days we have just chilled out and wondered about the city. Varanasi is a must see place but it's the sort of place that in my opinion that you visit for a few days and then get out. It's possibly the filthiest place in India, probably amoung the top ten in the world, but never the less still a must see place. What I can't get my head around is the fact that there is shit everywhere, and I mean everywhere, cow, dog and even human; they even collect the cow shit and dry it in the sun for some reason?? it is holy after all. Well we have been and seen and Tracey has bought some pants and now we're off to see some Karma Sutra temples in Khajuraho for a few days. Hope everyones well back in England? x


Well the trip from Varanasi has to be the best so far, we booked tickets in 2AC and hoped that it would be a better experiance than our last journey. And it was, not only was the train quite clean (1 or 2 roaches - no mice) but it was completely empty and me and Tracey had an entire cabin to ourselves (usually 6 people - bonus). Sort of 1st Class on the cheap.  Well we arrived in Khajuraho at about 6:00am and squeesed into a share taxi to our Guest House, The Yogi Lodge.  Our first impression of Khajuraho was this isn't india, it was clean, green and didn't stink of shit. However this impression was soon smashed when we met the shop owners who in my opinion are by far the most annoying I ever experianced. Not only are they persistant but they become rude and sometimes quite angry that you don't want to look in their shops? At first it was funny then it became annoying to say the least. Well we had planned to spend a few days here and decided we would have a little walk about on our first day and try and ignore the many Temples.

It was by chance that we met Hari & Ali, we were simply walking up a road when all of a sudden a lad about 20 appeared (Ali) and started to ask the usual questions, which country are you from? How long you in India for? etc. etc. HE explained that he was a student who wanted to become a guide one day and was trying to improve his English and German, I thought I'm sure I've read about you in the Lonely Planet under scams, but we gave him the benifit of the doubt and agreed to let him show us an old temple which is normally overlooked by us tourists. He spoke goodish English and took us to a little temple that was up a dirt track, it was really quiet and interesting and then we met Hari. Hari was just sitting on the steps of the temple and decided to join in our conversation with Ali. They didn't know each other - well that's what they said.

Anyways, so some how Tracey and myself ended up going on a walk into the countryside with our two new friends, they showed us some more temples and some local villages. It was good but I still thought something was amiss?

 Well after a lovely afternoon we arrived back where we started from the old temple. Hari invited us to meet him the follwing day at 8am so he could show us some more of his "real India" so we agreed. The next morning we met Ali who got us a good price on some hired bycicles, then we went to meet Hari near the old temple. We had agreed to meet at 8am and it was getting closer to 8:15am by the time we arrived there, no Hari, just what I'd expected, he'd let us down, oh well. Thats when in the distance I could see his smile, waving frantically at us. He appologised for being late an explained he was getting some supplies for our lunch. Well we visited a fish farm and a chicken farm and a local village where we had some masala chai (spiced tea) and were shown how they make butter and then had a lovely ride through the countryside to a small rocky mountain where we were going to be having lunch. So we parked our bikes and started the steep climb to the top. The view was amazing and it was so, so quiet. Hari cooked us lunch on a little fire he made. We had lemon and ginger tea, Rice and vegatable curry, chapati's, spiced dahl (like lentil soup) and masala chai and biscuits. After lucnch we chilled out for an hour or so and then cycled back to khajuraho. I was half expecting Hari to sting us with some sort of "donation" for his troubles but I wasn't expecting what happened next. He invited us to meet him later that evening to go to his village for dinner and to meet his wife and children.

That afternoon we rode our bikes to the Eastern and Southern temples with Ali, the temples are small and made up of sandstone carvings of Karma sutra figures. Harry had told us that the temples were made this way as locals believed that with everyone spending so much time praying the human race would die out hence the naughty reminder.  We rode our bikes all afternoon which was quite tiring but well worth it and got lots of good pictures then headed back to return the bikes and meet Harry.  We met him by the old temple again and walked with him to his village, which is through fields and away from any roads or street lights, Tracey was worrying about finding our way back in the dark but Harry reasured us he would walk us back. 

First he took us to his home to meet his family which was a little hut made up of just one room with one bed where him, his wife and two children lived, slept, cooked and ate.  He had bought the land and built his house and garden where he grew fruit and veg. After meeting his family we went with him to his friends house where they were celebrating a wedding (wedding season has just started and theres celebrations in every street) they made us feel very welcome and sat us dawn with a traditional Indian meal- probably one of the nicest meals we've had. After we went back to Harrys house and sat with his wife for a while, she explained to us that there families had both disowned them because they had a Love marriage rather than an Arranged one. Later as promised Harry walked us back to the main road and invited us to his restaurant the following evening.

The next day we went to the Western temples which are pretty similar to all the others except these are surrounded by gardens, we walked around for a few hours with Ali who had latched on again (we couldn't get rid of him) even later when we went to Harry's place for tea he followed us. Harry's "restaurant" is a small hut just off the main road with no electricity just a plank of wood on bricks for a table and an area out side where he'd made a fire to cook, we couldn't see what we were eating but it was spicey,  Chris braved it and had fish well thats what Harry said it was, Ali was still lurking around and seemed to get quite offended when we asked him to leave us alone to have dinner together but he still didn't get the picture and sat with us anyway.  Finally we got rid of Ali when we got back to our room and the next day left for Agra.


We had decided to travel to Agra on both bus and train. What a mistake! We departed from Khajuraho bus station on time at 8am heading to Jhansi where we would board a train to Agra. On arrival in Jhansi, our initial thoughts were "what a complete shit hole" it was hot as hell, smelly and there were hundreds of thousands of minging little flys, everywhere, our 3 hour wait turned into a 4 nearly 5 hour one and then we were on our way to Agra on a sleeper class train. The journey was cheap, crowded and long and we finally arrived in Agra about 8pm.  Our guest house was good and we even had running hot water!! We had decided to get up very early to catch the sun rise over Taj Mahal the next day.

 The alarm rang at 5:30am and we got a rickshaw to the Taj, unfortunatly it was cloudy, cold and miserable. Even if it was sunny we would have missed the sun rise due to the huge queue on entry. The Taj Mahal is meant to be one of India's highlights but we were both pretty dissappointed. We got a few snaps and decided to leave.  Apart from the Taj there's not much else to see in Agra unless you want to spend a small fortune on overpriced entry fees so after an hour or two cruising around in a rickshaw and a visit to a local marble factory we decided to go back to our room for some much needed sleep.
The next day we were leaving for Jaipur and had previously booked some train tickets online. we arrived at the station only to find that our train was delayed by a minimum of 3 hours (realistically it was probably going to be more like 6+) so we decided to get on a bus instead. The bus was good, plenty of room and after removing some indian people from our seats we were on our way. The bus seemed much better for short journeys and there was more to look at. We arrived in Jaipur at 6pm and checked into our guest house (Devi Niwas).


Jaipur is like anyother Indian city, big, noisey, busy and hot. However there seemed to be something different about Jaipur, it wasn't so intense, well not so much.  We decided to stay there for 3 days and had a full list of things to see whilst there. We visited the City Palace which was good, the armoury was the best bit, went to some ruins, a white temple and attempted to go to the Monkey Temple - but Chris has developed a serious fear of the little bastards and we both felt a  bit too uneasy about walking trough a large crowd of them to get to it....anyway it's just another temple! We also visited Tiger Fort, a hill top fortress which had stunning views of Jaipur.  We did a little bit of shopping and got a shirt each - tailoured, very cheap oh and a big cotton sheet with block printing on it, we'll find a use for it?  Well it's Pushkar next and we have decided to get a local bus there, it's only 3-4hrs, we have already booked our room at the Pink Floyd Cafe & Hotel. So hope everyone's ok and we're missing you all x