December 20, 2012 by 2sorefeet
We have been in India for nearly 3 weeks now, our stomachs are still rumbling loudly and we are slowly, one strange thing at a time, starting to get used to the complete mayhem that is continuously happening around us.
We eventually managed to get out of Varanasi, which was a welcomed change. A 17 hour train journey westwards to the Rajasthani capital, Jaipur, known as the Pink City was our port of call.
Although relatively small compared to Delhi or Mumbai in terms of population, Jaipur is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and it felt like it – it was loud, dirty and crowded. But nestled in the heart of the city is the old town. Tucked away behind ancient city walls we found out where Jaipur got its name from. All the buildings within the original city were pink, which I imagine is quite handy if you are indecisive and don’t know what colour to paint to your house.
On the way to the old town, I was brought to my knees…. Not by the beauty of the town itself, but by an electric shock! I was walking past traffic lights (which everybody ignores in the first place) and was hit by a loose cable – at this point we were really starting to think that India really doesn’t like us.
The Old City itself is full of beautiful attractions like the Palaces, gardens and forts all within a close proximity to each other, you almost feel as if you are in a living museum.
After Jaipur we travelled deeper into Rajasthan, to the small picturesque lakeside town of Pushkar. A really relaxed, tranquil town with a small population, good vibes but most importantly, the constant beeping of cars was nowhere to be found! A holy town, alcohol free & strictly vegetarian (Including a policy of no eggs), we relaxed here for a few days amongst the mix of locals, leftover western hippies (apparently this was the meeting point of all Bohemians during the 70s) and backpackers.
Now we find ourselves in the sandstone desert town of Jaisalmer, not so far from the border of Pakistan. Next couple of days we will be exploring the city and plan to go on a camel trek in the desert, a million miles away from the normal Christmas period.
The quintessential Indian travel experience, it was an absolute bloody nightmare getting here! It was supposed to be a 10 hour overnight bus journey on a “sleeper bus” (a bus with a bed). At 7.30am, 30 minutes before our planned arrival, we were still 6 hours away. Apparently the bus had broken down and they had been trying to fix it overnight. So, our replacement bus arrived. A local bus which I estimate had at least 90 people on it, a claustrophobic person’s worst nightmare. A few hours on this bus, stopping every couple of hundred metres letting people on/off, we were told to change bus. This time it was a crowded jeep for a couple of more hours. When we stopped at a railway crossing, we got out to stretch our legs…it was this point when we realised that it could have been worse – there were 4 people sitting on the roof!
So, next time you see pictures one of those buses crowded with people on the TV, take a second and spare a thought for those poor misfortunes stuck inside!
John & Marie