Published: March 2nd 2011March 28th 2011
So i’m sat on my bed a baseball throw away from the Tai Mahal, surrounded by litter, the smell of incense mingling with poo, the constant beep of rickshaws going past sipping a small bottle of port kay brought with her – this is the India and I am seriously starting to like. To be honest i think i liked it the moment we turned out of our hotel in Jaipur on our first day and were met by a camel pulling a cart down the main road. Ii didn’t see it to start with because there were 20 honda hero motorbikes, 17 rickshaws, 3 suzuki swifts (archies cousins are everywhere) 5 cycle rickshaws, 20 cyclists, 30 pedestrians, 7 cows and one elephant also trying to fit on the same space of road. There is noise, smells, people, animal s and colour everywhere and its crazy but under it all there is always time for Chai (tea!).
Anyway we have spent the last 2 weeks toddling round Rajasthan an area in northeast india famed for its history and forts. I know this is me and my love of history is well known but these forts have actually been quite cool mostly
The first of what has become many forts - we are now buoycotting them all - ah so cultured!
because you can run around and explore them. We may not have learnt that much of the history (after all who needs a guide – yes dad i can hear you tutting now) but we have seen a lot. We went to jaipur first of all to wander around in a slightly jet lagged kind of a way, before heading to Jodphur to reassess who actually looks good in these trousers and drink Gin in very random 18th century bar. From here we went to the Ranthambore national park to hunt for tigers, and found ourselves sandwiched between 2 leopards. This would of been slightly less worrying had we been in a car but we were on foot and apparently doing the equivalent of walking through the lion enclosure of whipsnade animal park. All we needed was a fresh steak tied to our backs and we really would make some friends. Luckily the monkeys proved more interesting. Apart from the leopard we also saw mongooses, eagles, kingfishers, woodpeckers and a large bird of prey our guide explained was called wultur. It was only when we had got him to repeat the name a few times did we work out he
must mean Walter. This apparently was Walter the bird, a big black looking bird you probably wouldn’t want to invite to dinner. We figured as our guide had been leading safaris for 18 years he must know all the animals. This was walter the bird, further on we would meet sam the chipmunk and bob the heron .We left walter the bird to his perch and carried on a little while before we spied another walter and another, its seems there were many walters, he was not that special. “many wultur” our guide repeated, as they started to circle a light bulb dropped – i think he may mean vulture!
From Ranthambore we went to a little town called Bundi where we took a rickshaw to a local waterfall in the middle of nowhere which was very cool. I impressed everyone with my lack of talent in painting (I think they were all expecting a Picasso and were a tad disappointed when they got a 5 year old childs efforts) before nearly being knocked down by a lorry and narrowly missing a motorcyclist when the rickshaw driver was stupid enough to give in to my requests to be allowed to
waterfall near bundi
unfortuanately my painting did not look so good
drive. To be honest i think i did quite well, i am now on the search for someone stupid enough to buy a rickshaw and attempt to cross india on it (applications please to the normal address!)
We left Bundi on an evening local bus and then a sleeper train. The bus was interesting – probably more so as we were sat right at the front so could see every near miss our amphetamine crazed driver was taking. While Kay sat and feared for our lives i was too busy being given the latest lesson in all that is good and new in Indian pop music thanks to my new friend Amit and his mobile phone. (for those of you that are interested Shakira is quite big in India but I am reassuring informed that this is more due to her music videos than her music!!),
From Bundi we went to Udapuir (apparently one of the romantic cities in India) to spend some quality time together......where we both got poohed on by pigeons - twice! Here we ended up learning how to make Chapati’s and about a zillion other things on a brilliant cooking course, shopped, got taken sight seeing
by various eurpoean men we happened to meet (it saved us reading the guide book!), visited Jain temples in the countryside which apparently you cannot visit if you’re on your period (how are they going to know??) and I gained a new husband (or so his family thought as I was passed around and photographed as if the latest prize!). To be honest in India gaining a husband is not difficult. The general challenge is too see if you can beat last weeks number of phone numbers you were given by Indian men. 2 days ago we had the offer of spending the evening at someones wedding, having a drink with some guys or cruising around on the back of some mans motorcycle! (don’t worry pops we went to the cookery course instead).
Udaipur is also the place i discovered i have a new talent. Eating and drinking one evening down by the lake after a few beers i asked the owner if he had a toilet. He looked concerned for a short while before saying something to the chef and then directing me to a door. “Its Indian style though” he explained, thinking this meant squat i replied “no problem”. On opening the door though i found myself in a tiny room with a urinal, a very clean concrete floor and a small stone covering a tiny hole. I was busting and the option of holding it wasn’t an option. I had a decision to make – wee on the clean concrete floor or .........? I will leave it up to you to decide which i chose but put it this way I think i have found a new skill!!
Anyway we left Udapiur a couple of days ago and are now in Agra (home of the Tai mahal). We haven’t been in yet but from the rooftops it looks amazing. Kays here for another week and then I am going to fly south to meet up with my old friend billy (of the no mates).
I will keep you posted along the way. Thanks for all the e-mails and keep in touch.