A Travellerspoint blog

October 2011

Chapter seven - Anjuna

sunny 33 °C

Day 25: Anjuna, Goa 24/10/11

We are up earlyish for our flight to Goa from Mumbai and catch a rickshaw to the airport. Our ticket states International Terminal, the airport police say otherwise. It emerges we are at the wrong terminal, so a cab to the other one. Good start to the day.

Catch our flight and fall asleep in Mumbai. Wake up in Goa.

A very hot, sweaty cab to our hotel in Anjuna reveals how tropical Goa is, with palm trees and humidity aplenty. Find the beaches, which are beautiful. Not an awful lot else to report. There are lots of white faces here, which is a bit of a strange sight given the previous few weeks. Also lots of new age travellers and ageing hippies.

Day 26: Anjuna, Goa 25/10/11

We have a lie in and some HBO action and take a stroll to the main beach. There are lots of cows on the beach on their holidays it seems, as well as lots of people at one end, where there are bars and music. Bit sociable for us so we head to the much sandier, quieter end where we enjoy some golden sands and the warm Arabian Sea with some cold, cheap Kingfisher.

Some further exploration and it turns out to be a very quaint little town away from the bars and restaurants, with a very creepy looking Catholic church in the middle.

The friendly offers of some of the shadier locals runs through our heads as we fall asleep. Want good smoke? No? Want opium? No? Motorbike, taxi, rickshaw? No? Come see my shop…

Day 27: Anjuna, Goa 26/10/11

A strange breakfast – I have slightly watery scrambled eggs, whilst Gemma bizarrely has a bowl of baked beans with some toast and mayo drowned mushrooms.

We visit the Wednesday flea market, where there is a huge range of goods on sale. Some incredible trinkets and pieces, ornate door handles, spices, teas, clothing, food, music.

We do ok for ourselves, coming away with some shorts, a couple of t-shirts, some spices and new sunglasses (RIP my Stevie Wonders) and a new nose ring for Gemma. Costs a fortune. Haggling is good fun and the hundreds of stalls give plenty to see.

Head to the beach and have a game of football with a local kid with a huge smile on his face, using a polystyrene lump as the ball. Still a kickabout is a kickabout. Have a huge mound of laundry done for about 3 quid.

Day 28: Anjuna, Goa 27/10/11

A early lunch to set up the day – very good prawn noodles for me, whilst fatty isn’t hungry and makes do with mixed fruit pancakes, non-veg club sandwich and chips. Shocking amount of food.

Head to the beach and there a few fairly big waves today. I have a good hour of body surfing and see our football friend again, whose family run one of the beachfront bars.

We try to find our way to some of the restaurants I checked out earlier, but they are inaccessible in the dark. Try a couple of different places, including one that tries to serve us overpriced but warm beer. Nice one mate, but I think we will try somewhere else. Thanks.

Eat on the seafront – great food and then get caught in the most incredible storm on the way back. The thunder and lightning are amazing and the bolts of lightning lighting up the sea are quite stunning. We get absolutely drenched on the way back and see the most enormous frog on the way back to the hotel. It is absolutely huge.

Gemma is not well in the night and helpfully informs that she ‘is not very good at being ill.’

Day 29: Anjuna, Goa 28/10/11

Wake up and Gemma is still not very well. A quick hotel room workout follows for the healthy members of the party.

Thomas out to source some lunch. I eat alone in a roadside joint, listening to some dickhead Brits talking nonsense and arguing over who they think would win in theoretical fights. Could have stayed at home for that one…

A Goan mackerel curry and rice is the spiciest meal of the trip by some way. An ultimate head sweat amuses the locals and amazes the kids. Still though quite delicious.

A takeaway nutella pancake for the invalid and we spend most of the afternoon reading on the hotel room porch. A ‘massive ant’ mistakes Gemma’s toes for a mixed fruit pancake and a club sandwich. She is ‘not very good at being bitten'.

I go out to pick up food and quite strangely emerge with an Indian takeaway in India.

Day 30: Anjuna, Goa 29/10/11

Gemma is still not 100% and after we have lunch together she makes a move back to the room. I have an hour at the beach and am rather chuffed on the way back when an Indian guy asks where I got my FCUK t shirt, which has accidentally become all I wear.

Prior to my trip to the beach I drop off the laundry and the laundry guy, a possible Denzel Washington character with his slightly greying hair, thick set build and rosary beads (no shirt), takes one look at the brilliant blue skies and blazing sun and says ‘bad weather’. Sure enough Michael Fish is right and I am driven off the beach by a thunderstorm.

Watch some footy – Chelsea ship five at home and fortunately the late kick off is not shown. Just as well as Liverpool scrape past the Albion.

I am a bit sociable and have a drink with some guys in the hotel, before we head back and prepare for our early morning start to be Bollywood extras.

Day 31: Anjuna, Goa 30/10/11

Wake up and Gemma asks what time it is. ‘Quarter to six’ I say and we get up and get showered. Gemma then comes back, when she is dressed to tell me that it is in fact ten to five. Second time I have done this and it is good to see my time spent working for a fine watchmaker was not wasted.

Oh well! Gemma is still not well so it is just as well that we don’t wake up again until 6.35 and miss the bus to the set. We have a lazy day on the beach and go to pick up the laundry from Denzel. He is not in and the nearby church has a candlelit procession on. My detective skills lead me to deduce he is at mass. Go back later. My suspicions were confirmed.

Dangerously we go back for dinner to the last place we ate before Gemma was ill. We like to play with fire

Day 32: Anjuna, Goa 31/10/11

Due to be back on set today, we are determined to catch the bus, so the watch is double checked before anyone stands by what time they think it is…

We get to the meeting point with the French woman who ‘casted’ us for Gemma’s ability to deliver a line and my previous experience as a Shakespearean actor. The ‘6.30’ am bus in fact does not turn up until 8 am. Not sure whether to blame the French or the Indians. The other extras awaiting the studio bus include dreadlocked Italians (pastafarian?), some crazy Russians and some general hippy types.

Arrive on set for a breakfast of jam sandwiches and receive our costumes. Gemma gets to wear her denim shorts and bikini top whilst I get an undersized orange Goa tourist tank top to wear with my board shorts. Good look.

Most of the other extras are crazy, drunk, stoned Russians. We have a long day dancing to a Bob Sinclar song. The final scene involves a fight in the crowd. I get pushed out of the way by one of the actors, a world record holding kickboxer apparently. I could have had him.

Get back on the bus and get paid. 1200 rupees for me, 1500 rupees for Gemma for showing a bit of flesh. I strongly recommend never watching Billa 2 if you come across it.

Long day but very funny. Make a porch friend whilst reading my book.

Day 33: Anjuna, Goa 1/11/11

Wake up and watch most of a film, Ghost Rider, before the power cuts out ten minutes from the end. Power cuts seem to be an annoying fact of life in India. Go for a very Indian slow lunch of pizza and pasta and a few cocktails. Tough life.

Catch a few waves after lunch – lots of surf and I am washed right up the beach whilst body surfing. Sandeep from Finchley, last night’s porch friend joins us for a while.

When we get back to the room there is a great big frog in the bathroom. Needless to say Gemma is less than calm. I try to catch it in my cap, from where it jumps on me. Eventually catch the frog in the bin and successfully release him back into the wild.

We go for dinner with Sandeep and a nice but rather strange Swedish guy. Sandeep, Gemma and myself head for a few drinks. They hit the BOGOF cocktails but I opt for the finer stuff – Royal Stag Indian whisky.

Day 34: Anjuna, Goa 2/11/11

Wake up next morning and the Royal Stag works its wondrous morning after magic. We head to the Wednesday flea market and a few beers in order to level some people out.

Gemma buys a beautiful decorated elephant off a one armed market trader for 700 rupees. Bargain but seems a bit big to be taken in the backpacks.

A frog similar to yesterday’s has taken up residency on Sandeep’s door. I try to catch it for him and Gemma tells me ‘it will jump in your face’. Sure enough a slap to the side of the head by a ball of flubber ensues. Hats off Gemma, you should become a tarot reader.

After some awesome tandoori chicken kebabs we head back to the guest house with a few beers and sit out for a game of cards. This where things get interesting…myself and Sandeep head out for some more provisions to see a woman in a nightdress walking a dog down the road on its hind legs. Imagine doing the tango with lassie and you’re partway there. Play cards until around half three.

Day 35: Anjuna, Goa 3/11/11

We opt to post some goodies home and are advised to head to Mapusa, the nearest big town. Waiting for Gemma to get ready, the Swedish guy from the other day walks past. When asked what he’s up to for the day, he says he’s just going to sit in his room. ‘I have LSD’ he says and pokes his tongue out to show us. Strange considering he claimed not to drink the other night.

Take the bus to Mapusa to post the huge parcel, which is sewn into some fabric by the woman at the post office. Mapusa is a fairly big busy town, with a bustling market region. Gemma is called Barbie Doll, I am told I look like David Beckham, whilst ‘Bombay boy’ Sandeep is the ‘Indian Becks’.

We get back and meet another English guy called Blade and a German guy. We eat with them and then have a few drinks and some more cards, which ends at 6 in the morning.

Posted by tevs 07:09 Archived in India Tagged beaches coast goa Comments (0)

Chapter six - Mumbai

sunny 33 °C

Day 24:Santacruz, Mumbai 23/10/11

We arrive in Mumbai around half eight in the morning, feeling reasonably fresh as we step off the bus. Hail a rickshaw who has no idea where our hotel is. We ring the hotel and the native speaking receptionist does the trick with the driver.

We arrive at the hotel which is the most expensive by a long way. Also not the best by a long way but ok nonetheless. We make our way down to the Wankhede Stadium for the England India game. Take the train down there and after a fair bit of hassle getting into the ground, we eventually manage to buy tickets off a member of staff for half the face value. Very good seats they are too, right next to the press box.

Great fun in the ground and although England are disappointing the atmosphere is unbelievable and there is some good banter with the India fanatics surrounding us. The noise and heat were outrageous, leading to a well earned headache.

We take a walk to downtown Colaba for some food after the sweatfest in the stadium. A 20 minute walk in which we get slightly lost is well worth it as we see the Gateway of India, the contrasts between Mumbai’s rich and poor and some rather well fed rats on the street. We have great chicken kebabs from an outdoor street vendor, which seems to be a bit of an institution. The street is packed with people eating from here, some of them eating off their car bonnets with a bit of a party atmosphere in the air. Any comparisons between here and Kebab Elite must be quashed immediately.

Posted by tevs 07:08 Archived in India Tagged mumbai cricket wankhede_stadium Comments (0)

Chapter five - Udaipur

sunny 30 °C

Day 21: Udaipur, Rajasthan 20/10/11

Up early to be dropped off at the coach stop by Sanjay. The bus, surprisingly, is almost on time. The six hs us stop at the land of Nod and also a town where the streets are overrun with wild pigs. We book coach tickets to Mumbai on arrival.

We arrive in the stunning city of Udaipur and are greeted at our hotel, the grandly named Lake Corner Soni Paying Guest House, by Mr and Mrs Soni, a very nice, very old couple. Gemma feels obliged to drink the tea, her arch nemesis of the drink world. Her face is a picture.

Have a mooch about – as with any other Indian city, there is lots of hustle and lots of people, as well as loads to see and smell and touch. Of course there are hundreds of cows on the streets. There are also lots of French and hippy types in this city, hence the art and painting lessons on offer everywhere.

We go back to the hotel and meet the neighbours as well as the resident wee furry animals. Some beers on the rooftop overlooking the Lake Palace which is built in the centre of the lake make for a nice evening.

Day 22: Udaipur, Rajasthan 21/10/11

On the advice of Mr Soni, we visit Lake Fateh Sagar and climb the mountain, which is home to the statue of some legendary soldier called Pratap and are mobbed in the aptly named Hall of Heroes by a group of schoolchildren. Again, photos aplenty.

Unbelievable views from the mountain over the lake and surrounding mountains and the city from a place that oddly, is not even mentioned in the Rough Guide to India. Not many western tourists here either, which is always a good sign.

We take a boat across the lake to a scenic island park, where we are befriended by a group of four 14 year old boys and confronted by probably the funniest moment of the trip so far. It emerges that the smallest, chunkiest and cockiest of the four boys thinks he can dance and after he moonwalks the length of the pier that runs into the lake, he choreographs a hip-hop dance routine for us. As would be expected the results are hilarious.

We return to the one wine shop in Udaipur for some more Kingfisher and a bottle of Indian whisky (why not) and am greeted in the small, dark, seedy shop as a returning old friend as I am privileged enough to be ushered through the steel bars keeping the riff-raff out to have my bag packed for me. We get lost on the way back but visit the Tibetan Market, which is full of tat.

A delightful evening of Indian beer, ‘Officer’s choice’ finest Rajasthani blended whisky and some candles on the rooftop.

Day 23: Somewhere between Udaipur and Mumbai 22/10/11

A bit of a lie in, a cold shower and a bag packing session for check out and we couple another great rooftop view with a questionable breakfast.

We visit Vinod (Mr Soni’s son-in-law who we met yesterday) at his shop. This place is a must see in Udaipur, an absolute Aladdin’s cave full of the most bizarre, ornate, absurd and rare objects with every use imaginable. We have chai in there and see everything and buy a quirky, ancient bottle opener, which results in some reverse haggling as Vinod tries to give it for free and when we insist he names a price then immediately lowers it considerably.

Have an early dinner (a bit of pasta for some girth ahead of the coach trip) and we run by Vinod again on the way back to the hotel. He gives me his address – pen friend. Gemma gets her nose pierced on the way back to the hotel.

Aboard the bus about half five and with a double berth bed, quadruple count of beer and a single Bollywood we are away.

Posted by tevs 07:05 Archived in India Tagged udaipur rajasthan lake_palace Comments (0)

Chapter four - Jodhpur

sunny 33 °C

Day 9: Jodhpur (Mandore), Rajasthan 08/10/11

Wake up to a delicious breakfast of pancakes, tea and toast. Meet the mysterious Surendra who is sorting all the voluntary work for us – a very inspiring man of around 65, who has seemingly lived many different lives. He has been an engineer, tour guide, drug counsellor, community figurehead, corporate advisor and guest house owner. He fills us in on his work and what we will be doing with the scheme.

We take a quick visit to Mandore gardens, a beautiful park, with old Royal Cenotaphs and the cleanest body of water we have seen in India so far.

Back to the guest house and get to k now some of the staff there, through limited English, limited Hindi and Mumbai Indians vs Somerset.

Had an Indian haircut – 30 rupees for a decent amount of hair to be lopped. Results questionable.

Great dinner, amazing chapatis and monkeys in the guest house gardens.

Day 10: Mandore, Rajasthan 09/10/11

Indian breakfast of Apuah(?) (a rice dish with veg and nuts), aloo parathas and masala chai. Very popular with one of our party.

Head into Jodhpur on a tuk-tuk – the traffic here is still chaotic but not quite as hectic as other parts of India we have seen. Arrive in a very busy market/bazaar district of Jodhpur where there is lots to see and smell as with other city areas we have visited. End up very lost in the city on a very busy Sunday, with lots of festivities – horses, parades and weddings all going on. Invited to join a wedding procession. Declined.

Eventually find our way back to the area we started in after repeatedly asking directions. I am not quite sure which part of ‘straight’ we did not understand. More ‘Ali Baba’ trousers from the market for Gemma, I try to haggle for a shirt, though the traders are having none of it.

Bitten to death! A trip to the pharmacy for some cream for the numerous bites we have picked up in the narrow streets is in order. Thomas moans.

A quick Indian delicacy called an Oreo McFlurry cools us down before we head back to the guest house in time for me to watch the chef in action to try to pick up some tips. Message to self in the kitchen – throw Dave’s spice rack out. Completely inadequate!

Day 11: Mandore, Rajasthan 10/10/11

Wake up excited for our first day volunteering. Little could prepare us for what was in store!

Get dressed in our normal attire – shorts, t shirt, etc. for us both. Asked to change by Surendra. A quick change and it becomes apparent that this is not good enough. Escorted to Surendra’s house to change into some borrowed clothes. Gemma looks lovely in the traditional Indian Salwar Kameez, Thomas less so in a pair of oversized stonewashed denim jeans and a faded old cotton shirt.

Anyway, we are driven to, we think, watch Surendra and others open some new classrooms in a school 25 miles away funded by Mittal, the UK’s richest man. We walk in with some dignitaries, politicians and village elders and we are shown the new facilities. Very nice indeed.

Invited to sit down, only when we are seated do we realise we are on a stage in front of about 500 people. Tom, naturally, is invited to say a few words and is introduced as ‘a foreigner, we are not sure where he is from or who he is with’. A few mumbled words and a multicoloured turban presentation later and it is time to go home. Happy 21st Billy.

Day 12: Mandore, Rajasthan 11/10/11

First day of volunteering at the school. Lovely drives us the 10 miles to the rural village of Relawas in an open backed Jeep. Indian roads and drivers at their very best!

Arrive at the school and we are mobbed by the children. ‘ What is your name? How are you? My name is…’ conversations undertaken 50 times. Twice with each child.

The school is a real eye-opener – some of the children are in uniform, others aren’t. Lots of children in very tattered clothes and uniform and many are accompanied throughout the day by their very young siblings, some no older than 2/3.

Thomas gets to play cricket and launch the teacher’s bowling out of the ground whilst the women in the grounds, who want to compare underwear, undress Gemma. Watch the children recite their morning prayer and register and leave the school around 12.30.

Go to Mandore village to buy a belt, some tennis balls for the schoolchildren and some nail varnish remover. Watch Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in Hindi. Realise we are missing HBO.

Day 13: Mandore, Rajasthan 12/10/11

Back to the school for day 2. Again the kids run up to us to ask our names, despite knowing them, and ask how we are. When we ask them, the stock answer is ‘I am fine’. Literally every single one of them was ‘fine’.

A quick game of cricket, morning prayer and register and we are taking a very simple English lesson, after which we listen to ‘English is fun’ government radio broadcast. After listening repeatedly to the educationally and lyrically brilliant ‘What’s your name’ and ‘The Good Morning’ songs I realise my English is pretty good.

Realise a lifelong dream and act as dinner ladies, ladling up the culinary delights provided by the government. Needless to say it is not particularly appetising.

After school we head to Jodhpur to pick up paper plates to make clocks for our next lesson. We make the clocks in the evening and upon realising we needed blu-tack or a suitable substitute, Thomas makes a late dash to the local shops, some 200 feet from where we are staying.

The hardware shopkeeper is perplexed when I ask after putty, eventually thrusting a mobile phone in my hand with Lovely from our digs on the other end. He in turn hangs up, and like a cross between Knightrider and Batman arrives on his motorbike to rescue me. He locates the relevant products and escorts me the 12 seconds home on his bike. My hero.

Day 14: Mandore, Rajasthan 13/10/11

Day 3 at the school and we are straight in with 4/5th class without the need to pray or be registered. Work on the clocks with the children and teach Gemma quarter past, half past and quarter to.

A brief bit of ‘English is fun’ again and we are back in the classroom. Another shift as a dinner lady and we are finished at the school for the day. We head back to Mandore and I still turn red at the sight of Lovely, my hero!!

For the third night running I am accosted by some local kids who are desperate to tell me about their day at school. My ego and celebrity status are inflated further. India England one day game tomorrow. Source of hilarity for the people that work here.

Day 15: Mandore, Rajasthan 14/10/11

Play a very PC game at the school first thing, called ‘lungeri’, which literally means ‘disabled’. One person is ‘it’ and must hop and try to tag as many people as possible until it is time to fot the next person to act as ‘it’. The winning team is the one that manages to tag all the opposing team in the shortest time. Another early sweat on.

Recap on the clocks with the kids. Some new ones in class today and we learn just how many are brother and sister. Suddenly all clicks into place why so many look alike. Discover that Indian kids are as impressed by the robot as their English counterparts.

Watch the cricket back at our digs. Make a bet whereby I will wash up should India win. They get 300, England are skittled. Up to my elbows in suds. A source of great amusement for the workers.

Day 16: Mandore, Rajasthan 15/10/11

Day off from the volunteering. Walk to Mandore Gardens again – encounter lots of monkeys, surely the cheekiest of all the animals.

The workers here still snigger at their new bottle washer. Have a glass of Indian rum. It is very strong and lives up to its name – XXX.

Day 17: Mandore, Rajasthan 16/10/11

Not a lot to report. Some minor surgery on a size 10 foot performed by Gemma, a walk through the park again and visit the ruins of Mandore fort, where there are great views over the town and the surrounding mountains. We make a pasta dish in the kitchen, which, despite the quality of the food here, was a welcome change.

Oh and GEMMA GOT CHASED BY A MONKEY!!!!!!!!!!!! This has to rank as one of the funniest, scariest and most bizarre things ever seen. A man with a violin style instrument shouted at it and it stopped. Lucky really.

Day 18: Mandore, Rajasthan 17/10/11

Monday morning and we are back at the school. Each child greets us with the question ‘What is your name?’ Again.

Our lesson plan consisted of teaching the children ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’. They already knew it and made a mockery of our lesson.

We watched the second ODI and made a bet with the staff that we would buy them a shedload of sweets should England lose. India win by 8 wickets. Cue jalebi (deep fried sugary batter) all round.

Forced to buy some new sunglasses, as my pair straight from the catwalks of Jaipur fall apart. My new Ray Mears (Ray Ban rip off) cost 85 rupees. Gemma finds it hilarious that they make me look like Stevie Wonder and plays a game where she chases me pretending to be a rabid monkey out to get a blind singer. Scary stuff.

Day 19: Mandore, Rajasthan 18/10/11

An early morning penknife accident results in a thumb that bleeds profusely. More Florence Nightingale stuff from Gemma.

Our lesson is a bit more successful today as we give them new subject matter. The subjects of flags, Spongebob Squarepants, animals and ‘1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive’ are well received.

On the way back from the school in the open sided jeep I forget that I am wearing a cap and when I stick my head out to see the military jet screaming above the hat takes off and is recovered some 400 metres back down the road by a friendly motorcyclist.

A new hotel room work out is developed. Impressive. Play some rooftop cricket in a building site (not quite as dangerous as it sounds unfortunately) and the Indians are impressed with the tekkers of both male and female English cricketers.

Last day of voluntary work tomorrow. Good timing as the kids break up for the Diwali holidays. Before bed there is another brush with the local wildlife. A tiny mouse sees Gemma screaming whilst stood on the bed. Not quite as dangerous as the monkey business in the park but still hilarious.

Day 20: Mandore, Rajasthan 19/10/11

Our last session at the school today and before lessons we visit a local village home. Although it is literally adjoined to the school grounds I would imagine these kids are the last ones in every morning. Very basic and ‘rural’ but very humbling to see. We hold a couple of baby goats that they keep.

The final lesson of our regime sees us playing hangman, which predictably ends in chaos. A big, black and rather evil looking snake makes an appearance outside the window. More chaos.

We head back to the guesthouse and have a game of cricket with the boys that work there. One ball is lost in a hole that turns out to be a pit of sewage (hidden gully?) and the assault course style pitch makes the game more fun still, with an old Ambassador car parked at mid off. As with any game of cricket in which I play, we spend more time looking for the ball than playing. Sadly, as usual, it is off my bowling that the ball is lost.

I don an apron and cook in the kitchen on our last evening. Like a seasoned pro I peel spuds, cook a dhal and make chapattis. Delicious. A good final day but we are sad to leave.

Posted by tevs 02:06 Archived in India Tagged jodhpur rajasthan mandore Comments (0)

Chapter three - Jaipur

sunny 32 °C

Day 7: Jaipur, Rajasthan 06/10/11

We had a nice lie in and the combination of clean sheets, nice room and a good breakfast see the weary, drained traveller well refreshed and feeling much better.

We take a walk to the train station to book tickets to Jodphur. Again a bit of a mission to find the right booking office and after directions from staff we end up in the rickshaw garage in the main car park!

A trip back to the main enquiry office results in a member of staff telling us to hang on ten minutes when she will escort us to the right building after her shift is finished. Jasminder then proceeds to walk us to the main office (which is exactly where she said), introduces herself and tells us about her job, her life and casually invites us to her wedding. As with any young woman she glowingly shows off her engagement ring. Again it seems the train network has an unlimited pool of overtly friendly people.

Jump in a tuk tuk to the Pink City and what a great place to explore. We spend a few hours navigating the narrow streets and busy markets full of locals and spend a fortune! A sari, silk MC Hammer trousers and a pair of sunglasses set us back about 500 rupees (about 6/7 quid). This place is home to some incredible sights, sounds and smells and is very welcoming to us, seemingly the only non-locals around.

We take a walk through the Pink City proper and encounter some very busy roads. Amidst cars, buses, military vehicles, motorbikes and the obligatory traffic stopping cows, a solitary elephant takes a stroll down one of the four lanes of traffic. A painted trunk and some regal clothes make this elephant stand out even more. Only in India one would think.

The sighting of this jumbo leads to a plethora of other exotic creatures making themselves seen and heard in the middle of a busy city and the camels, goats, horses, cows and further elephants are again painted and dressed in their finery for the Diwali celebrations. It is at this point that Gemma ventures a bit too close to an elephant for a photo and finds herself whipped in the face by its decorated ear.

Day 8: Jaipur, Rajasthan 07/10/11

An early sweat on for Thomas as he finds a cashpoint within walking distance of the hotel only to find the wrong card in the wallet and a temperamental second card. Two trips in the friendly Rajasthani sun was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Catch a tuk tuk to the station after a good breakfast and another delayed train, though only an hour, highlights to us just how bad the morning at Agra Fort station really was.

Great train journey through some impressive landscapes and make another train friend (cue thumbs up and high voices). Yogesh is a very friendly young man, Borat impersonator, I mean lecturer, and avid fan of Seamus the Celtic Warrior’s skin tone.

Again we are stared at, waved at and greeted at every stop and station and the necessary camera shot is undertaken by Yogesh on his smartphone.

After Yogesh rings the guest house for us to confirm the lift and the route to Mandore through Jodphur is another eye opener with lots of traffic, activity and hustle and bustle and there are a lot of ‘English Wine and Beer’ shops that certainly a) do not look very English and b) do not look like they do a good Pinot.

Arrive at Mandore Guest House and have some great food upon arrival in the leafy courtyard garden - very serene and peaceful compared to the cities we have been in.

Posted by tevs 02:04 Archived in India Tagged elephant jaipur pink_city Comments (0)

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