Location: Jalgoan, India
OK,So we are now in Jalgoan, about to make our way to Puneon the overnight train.
We stopped off at a place called Lonar, which was hell to get there, but we wanted to see the crater lake which we hoped to swim in. Thats when Lisa and I both got sick and were holed up in this stinky backwater place for 4 days until we recovered.....very gross. And sadly the lake was beautiful, but there was no hope in swimming there. it was way too shallow and muddy and gross.
we are nearly at Mumbai (bombay) with its population of 16 million, and this promises to be great fun.
Am having a hell of a time trying to upload the pics as there is alot of load shedding of the power grid in the state we are in and the power goes down for 2 lots of three hours every day!
am well now, although a bit malnourished (if you can believe it), and nothing that a few good feeds won't fix.
hope you are all well. Talk again soon.
Location: Bundi, India
So it's official today. My camera (sarahs camera actually) has totally f--ked up and after hours scouring on the internet I have decided to let it rest in peace. It will now become another useless item that I carry in my already heavy backpack, compelled to carry it home. We are now down to one camera, Lisa's, which is rather giant. I always feel self concious when I decide to whip it out. Oh well.
We got to a smallish town called Bundi (pronounced boondi) last night after only 6 hours on the bus. We actually bought official government tickets this time ($3 each) so had gauranteed seats up the front of the bus and were able to miss out on all the spine shattering "fun" that we usually experience down the back. Indian government busses have the rear wheels roughly half way down the length of the bus, so the back 5 rows pivot up and down violently whenever you go over a bump in the road. Naturally in India nearly every road is atrocious, and these back rows are definately the place to be if instead of dozing you want to do painful acrobatics and yelp and whine.
But were able to sleep, and had serious laughing fits when we heard the back passengers, stony faced and glum, land with satisfyingly loud 'slaps'.
Bundi is , yet again, another breathtakingly beautiful city. It is built into a wide valley, surrounded on the north and south sides by 2 large rocky hills, strangely coloured like outback Australia. There is a magnificent Fort on the southern hill that is apparently super-ancient and looks like something Tolkein could easily have dreamed up. It is huge, and seemingly carved out of the harsh rocky hill. And here there are 2 types of monkey, and I think the monkeys are particulary frivilous because every second one had a new born infant and 2 or three children hanging on. Horny toads!
We arrived from Pushkar, where we spent 4 days or so. Pushkar is this freakishly holy place where billions of Pilgrims come to bathe in the Ghats of Pushkar lake. Ghandi's ashes are scattered here, so that gives you some idea of how important this place is tho the roughly 800 million Hindus in India. Or maybe it dosn't. Take it from me though. Unfortunately, this is where all the hippies and Israelis that travel to India come too. I have always prided myself in a slightly "alternative" way of thinking, but these guys are way too stereotypical. Everyone had dreadlocks, and those that didn't were in the process of getting there's done by the army of hair-knotter-uppers that swarmed the place. The Israelis were even getting there's done because, and I quote "they look to Israeli". Sigh.
Israelis should never travel in groups. On their own they are charming, witty and most agreeable people. In groups of 2 or more they become arrogant, cocky and overtly rude. But we managed. Neither of us particularly liked staying there. It was beautiful and all, what with the mountains and lake and monkeys and stuff, but we were too swamped by tourists and our Hindi language took a major step backwards. The highlight was definately being taken out on this guy Rakesh's bike to his village where he introduced us to his wife, his mistress and a young lady, Pinky, who he intended to add to his harem. Lunch was delicious aside from all the scandle in the air, and we stopped for a beer (pure luxury) on the way back. Riding three on a scooter is infinately more agreeable with the buzz of a cold beer swirling in your head. Alas though, my flip flops have grazed holes in the bottom of each and I will have to get some more. We did meet some cool aussies though, the first on our trip, and spent many an hour smoking and talking about all the yummy food that we missed from home (for me it was avocado, baked beans, cheddar cheese, crisp apples and any giant slab of roasted meat).
We are planning to stay here only 2-3 days because we have to make our way to the coast in the next state below us :Gujarat. There should be some more pics from Lisas camera too.
Hope all is well back home. Leave me a message on this page if you want, it looks a bit bare. Until next time. XOXO
So we made it back to Mandawa on the 19th March to celebrate Holi festival with all of our Indian friends here. Indian festivals, which are basically giant street parties put anything we have ever attended in Australia/ New Zealand to shame!!
On our first night we were taken to our Guesthouse owners OTHER hotel, which is, by all accounts the fanciest hotel in Mandawa. We're talking Uber fancy with plush shaded courtyards, beautiful and intricate paintings and a cool breezy feeling that puts you in mind of how all the rich merchant families must have lived 200 years ago. Lisa and I were strongly encouraged to dance (we were the only whities to do so with any gusto) and experienced the male dominated world of the Holi dance. Only once did I have to pull some dodgy Indian Guy off Lisa, which is a record minimum, as usually I have to beat them back with a stick. A stick is essential equipment when negotiating any public event during Holi. I'm telling you the locals get so high on Charras and home brew whisky that there were times when we were evacuated from the proceedings due to perceived safety Issues.Men with sticks, huh. Apparently I don't look tough enough to hold our own against ther sheer number of drunken Indian Hooligans. Last I could remembver, I am very capable with a stick.
Anyway, That was day 1. Day 2 was even crazier. We went to another dance that took place in an old sandy school ground and was attended by the whole town. I have some great photos, but the crusty computer that I am on is not able to upload them, so yoiu will have to wait. But it was all shiny and lit up and all the men (women have to sit down and watch quietly) were dancing in a circle and banging little bamboo sticks to gether in time with the loud and rythmic beating of all the drums that were arranged around the centre. The noise was pretty deafening most of the time. Lisa was not allowed to dance (damn her vagina) so I was whisked out and made a spectacle of once again. You could tell where I was on the dancefloor at all times by the crowd of drunken yobbos that shadowed my every move. I tell you it is a wee bit scary when you are in a crush of mashed up Indian men with sticks. And trust me, I have not seen inebriation like this for a long time. What was most amazing and really quite Hilarious was all the men that dress like women for this festival. I was totally surprised many times by our male friends that came up and surprised me by showing me who they were. Naturally they were the most drunk out of everyone and I spent alot of time scooping them up off the floor before they were stampeded by the men with sticks. we made it home at 3.30am that night.
And Holi ends with what is called the colour festival.Day 3. we were quite excited by this coz what happens is basically everyone buys coloured talcum powder and spends the morning throwing and rubbing it on/at everything that moves, while also getting so pissfaced that the gutters were chun-key with, well you can probably guess. Lisa got mauled, as she was the ONLY lady on the street, and a white girl at that (Indians call her GORI). We had to shelter in this nice mans shop and drink his beer while he sculled 4 bottles of whisky (this was 10am) and got more and more trashed! Then he too tried to feel up Lisa so we had to sit next door with the police men and kept drinking his beer.
I had to take Lisa home at midday for fear she would be abducted, and she was most unhappy about this situation. We really felt the gap feminism has yet to cross in India during this festival. The rest of my day was a whirlwind of marijuana Iceblocks (a real Holi treat), warm beer (minimum 8%), Watery Gin, dancing, tearing clothes, stumbling, chillum, being ushered from ANOTHER brawl, peeing in the open and other very fashionable things. I was basically coma by 5pm, when I was taken back to the Haveli and hosed off. I still have coloured talk impregnated in my forehead and on the palms of my hands. Classy.
What a real experience. To all the men out there (sorry ladies) who want to come to india, do so in March. Holi will blow you away.....
Location: Jaislmer, India
We were meant to leave Jaisalmer today, and we even checked out of our hostel. After a very decent breakfast of baked beans on toast (!!!!) and one of my first coffees in ages, we were feeling good and ready. Now we are here another night. Something about a desert party tonight....we really didn't need much persuasion to stay. Jaisalmer is quite frankly magical. We are staying in a sandstone city spread out around a GIANT sandstone fort, which is massive. like really massive. 99 battlements around or something. In the sunset light it looks like a great sandcastle.
India, India India.This is the craziest place on the planet. Without a doubt. Anywhere that it's perfectly normal to slip on cowshit while dodging trucks and fleeing bejeweled begger children has to win this title. I am spun out daily by the going-ons around me: endless chai, constant stares, amazing colours, heartbreaking poverty, embroided jeans, shiny hair, and all to the soundtrack of blaring horns and traffic.
Last night we went up to sunset point, which sounds romantic but is not. Me and Lisa piled onto the back of this chai sellers bike and had a most uncomfortable ride up to this place. Lisa made me sit in the middle because Indian men are sleazes and she wonders what they think about when she has to touch them and it freaks her out. so I have to be this guy in the middle of this massive sandwhich on the smallest of f--ken motorbikes while the driver tried to "impress" us with his daring speed driving. We were brushing up to the cows which totally litter the street here (is litter too impersonal?) and man it was hairy. The driver must have felt violated, kinda like I felt, as I was thrust into him quite too many times. Meanwhile Lisa was only just perched on the back of the seat and nearly flew off at the speedbumps. Our chorus of painful groans and screeching must have really impressed our good grace on the locals. Ahh, fun travels.
Up in the VIP balcony (random rooftop with acess only via unbelievably spaced giant sandstone "steps") we watched the other tourists get absolutely hounded by the beggars and bangle selling ladies and were prepared sugarcane juice (gana juice) with the freshest Bhang. Potent. Told you we were doing well! The view of the fort there was great, but neither of us had brought our cameras (daft mingers) and so ohh'd and ahh'd with gusto to hide this fact and make ourselves feel a little less stupid. But you know what? I never remember I have a camera. We see the most amazing shit everywhere and I stare at it and we comment about it and we KNOW it's amazing, but then we shrug and move on. It's only whenever I clear out by daypack that I pick up the friggin camera and remember. Clearly my memory isn't improving in India.
I think we must have got pretty toasted because just after sunset we got back on the bikes, of which there were now 2. (lisa attracts Indian men like flies. Honestly. they are in awe of her, and she's not even Thaaaat hot.) we biked around the desert in the fading light and were then "impressed" again with our drivers daring need for speed (these are scooters). It was kinda like that scene from 'Dumb and Dumber'. We literally had to pick the bugs and shit from our faces.Thank god I have clean clothes!!!
But now off to the much anticipated Desert party. I'll let you know how it goes....
Location: Jaislmer, India
Ok, so I have taken the day off from the hard grind to upload some pics. I would have put more up but it takes soooo damn long, and there really are so many amazing pics.
We are having a blast, and it's actually quite hard to find any time to ourselves (save from locking ourselves in our room) as Indians are super friendly and want to teach us Hindi and give us chai and prepare the chillum and so on......
I am sure I will be inspired to write a decent diary entry in here soon, but for now I have a hot date with a Bhung Lassi.