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emandsi’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 08 Sep 2005

Location: Back to Delhi, India

MapHi pals, we've arrived back in Delhi after our 5 day trip and it was really worth it (despite the roads with craters and potholes, at one point it took us 2 hours to travel 25km). The 1st day we saw lots of temples, one of which was the birthplace of the Hindu God Vishnu so there was a lot of pilgrims around. That night we spent in Agra (where the Taj Mahal is) and visited the Red Fort, a fort which has a 5km wall round it, it was fantastic. The Shah who built the Taj Mahal also started building an exact replica afterwards but this time in black marble on the opposite side of the river but the 1st Taj had cost so much his son locked him in the Red Fort. As well as being a fort and a prison it had also been a palace and a parliament in it's time. Any way enough of the history lesson.

The next morning we woke up at 5am and visited the Taj Mahal. Its even more beautiful than the pictures you see but our guide was a right boring plank.

After the Taj we visited the ghost city of Fataphur-Sikri, not as exciting as it sounds but was ok, maybe a bit of a letdown after the Taj and the same day travelled to Jaipur which has a walled city within the main city built entirely or pink stone so it has been named, imaginatively enough 'The Pink City'. We had 2 nights there but on the 1st night Simon got Delhi Belly so couldn't do anything the next day. Emma went to another fort with our travel companion James and got the chance to ride an elephant to the top of the hill and back down. After they came back down the elephant mahmoud wanted a tip and after Emma and James refused he drove his elephant towards the car, our driver Pawan quickly suggested they give him some cash to get rid of him.

We had one more night in Jaipur then went to the holy city of Pushkar were meat, eggs and alcohol were banned but strangely hashish was available everywhere. The city is set on a holy lake and as there was another festival there were thousands of hindu's bathing and milling so we went to have a look. We met a holy bloke called Maharaja Shiva who took us and another couple from wales we met to his home, he introduced his family to us and gace us chai. He then made us all write our email addresses and birth days down and he's going to email us all blessings on our birthdays which is nice.

The last day we spent travelling back to Delhi but on the way Pawan took us to a monkey temple where we fed the monkeys, they came right up to us and ate from our hands. The monkeys with the big boll*cks had to be avoided though because they were the aggressive ones.

When we arrived back in Delhi Pawan took us to his home to meet his family, he lived in a 2 room house in a very poor part of Delhi but his family and neighbours were extremely friendly. They cooked for us, made us eat 1st on our own because we were guests and when the electricity went off they picked up hand fans and wafted them so we wouldn't be too hot. It was a majical experience.

India is a country of complete contrasts, some people are the friendliest on earth whilst the beggars and hawkers can be persistant to the extreme and in some cases pushy and aggressive. The wildlife is amazing, we've seen cows in the street, dogs (one squashed on the highway), camels, snakes, elephants, chipmunks, gheko's, mice, rats, monkeys, water buffalo and more.

Poverty is eveywhere and life is cheap. We left the monkey temple and just a few km down the road there was a body in the road. Pawan told us than the person was probably hit by a truck but their body would be taken to the hospital for post mortem and that would be it, there would be no police investigation.

Anyway, we travel to Goa tomorrow for some beach time, maybe 3 weeks, maybe more but the train journey is 39 hours so we won't arrive until the 11th Sept. We'll try to get some photo's of the Taj on here as soon as we can.

Take care everyone

Simon and Emma