Camels and Hippies - yes it's Pushkar!

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December 28th 2011
Published: January 6th 2012
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Camel Train
28th Dec ’11 Train from Udaipur to Pushkar via Ajmer

The train was ok, we got off at Ajmer which is the closest station to Pushkar and using a kind of overgrown minibus went up and over the high hills and down to the dusty desert. We kept passing signs for the Pink Floyd Café………hmmmm Pushkar might be an interesting place!

Our hotel – The New Park is a big empty looking place about a 15 minute walk into town, but the water’s on so it’s all good. Our room is vast, with a vast bathroom and its own sitting area in a turret!

Late afternoon and it was time for the camel safari. They were all sitting in a line outside of the hotel and I did not fancy it – I kept remembering falling off that bloody horse! When a couple of camels came down the road and I saw just how tall they were I decided to go in the camel cart instead. Even Howard once he was up on his camel said I had made the right decision. I was then joined by Sarah who had fallen off her camel while trying to get

On a camel
on. So the two of us plus bags had the ‘cart’ with an eye level view of the camel’s testicles!!

Each time we went over a pot hole or a bit of rough ground we had to grab the bags and cling onto the metal frame for dear life. The young lad who was driving picked up his mate one the way who spoke pretty good English and just came along to practise it with us! He decided to educate us on all things Indian on the way. We travelled quite a distance, arriving at some dunes which we all stopped by for chai and biscuits, we then watched the blood red sun begin to set before making our way back to the hotel.

On the way back Sarah and I perfected our camel cart riding technique and sat with our backs to the testicles feet out in front of us and hung on with one arm, which proved to be much comfier. Again our education continued on the way back and once our friend was dropped off we just gossiped, laughed, bounced and rattled home.

For tea we walked up the road to a more of

Cute camel
a back packers hotel which was painted with colourful murals and had gorgeous rooftop seating areas. Once up on the roof we all squashed into the movie lounge, ordered food and saw an action packed but hilarious Bollywood movie.

29th December ’11 Pushkar and overnight train to Delhi

We skipped the orientation walk in lieu of an hours extra kip before meeting up for a farewell brunch in the town. It took about an hour just to get a drink but Akki used the time to run through the trip highlights and explain how guides are allocated tours on the basis of the scoring we give them in our feedback to Intrepid. They have to score 4.7 or more out of 5! Bloody high standards, but this is the leaders livelihood so it’s pretty important to them! We all then had to say what we thought of the trip, our highlights and what we thought of him as a leader – bit odd when he is sat in front of you! I just thought thank god the central American leader didn’t do this!!

After this we were free for the rest of the day until we were

The Pushkar rules
due to leave at 7pm to get the train back to Delhi. We wandered down to the holy lake which you were not allowed to go within 30 feet of unless you took off your shoes. We had been warned about the local flower blessing scam and very quickly became very good at saying NO and not taking hold of anything being pushed onto you.

It was actually quite calm and quiet at the lake but once we headed into the main streets of the town it was back to madness as usual! The stalls were full of gorgeous things and I eventually but one poufee cover (found out later Evelyn bought 12 lol) and a table runner to add to the parcel for home.

And yes! Loads of old hippies, far out!!

We escaped for a while by going up to a rooftop café (with a big banner proclaiming as mentioned in the Lonely Planet no less) where we whiled away the time having a drink, watching life and chatting to a lovely couple from America – she was actually of Indian origin and he was of Guatemalan where they had been married 1 ½ years

ago. After that lovely interlude we plunged back into the streets and slowly headed back to the hotel.

Soon we were back over the hills to Ajmer in the sort of minibus – which it turns out belongs to a charity who ‘rescue girls’ from villages who are going to be abandoned or worse and gives them a place to live and educates them. Then we are boarding the sleeper train – 3rd class Intrepid tight wads!!! Where sod’s law prevails and once I finally lay down on my berth a bloody cockroach walks past my head! Howard came to the rescue and killed it but that was it for me, no sleep and on cockroach alert. First time I had seen one on the top berth too.

30th December ’11 Delhi to Bangkok

We arrived back at Delhi at 5am and got taxis back to the Pooja Palace where thanks to Evelyn and Christian we will actually have a room as they have decided to fly to Goa a day early and wont need their pre-booked room, bless them. On the way to the hotel our taxi was stopped by the traffic police and although money

Holy Lake
changed hands our driver still got a ticket!

So we sat in the lobby of the Pooja Palace saying goodbyes as members of the group gradually left, leaving a handful of us who were either leaving that night night or the next day. We had to wait until at least 10.30 for our room to be available and so we had breakfast and waited some more. Then went out to buy more antibiotics and water and finally a room was ready. Bliss a baed and a couple of hours kip, hot shower, a final curry and we were off!

3 different tube trains later and we were at Delhi airport, so time for a fag with 3 Polish backpackers and then we checked in. Akki had told us we would have to pay departure tax so we had about £40 worth of rupees with us but it turned out we didn’t have to after all. Rather than changing them back we thought we would use them in the Duty Free so we went through to Departures. Once in the Duty Free with my tabs, all ready to pay the girl on the till she told us they don’t accept rupees!!! I was furious!! You can spend them in any of the other overpriced airport shops but not the Duty Free, what a bloody farce!!!! Luckily there was a smoking room which I had to retire to, to calm down. I refused to spend them in any of the other shops on principle, but there was a WH Smiths so we spent a few of them there – anyone going to India soon and need any rupees??!

Finally we board our Air Asia flight which is nearly on time, a relief as due to the heavy fog most of the domestic and some international flights have been delayed or cancelled. Again sod’s law, the row right behind us and to the side of us is full of young trendy Indians (male and female) who do nothing but take the mick out of the Thais and the Thai air hostesses, already mad from the DF episode I am now really angry and ready to give them a mouthful, the air hostess for our area is clearly upset and says to me after some snide remark – that was not funny, which I completely agree with! Fortunately the air hostess got her revenge by not allowing them to bully her into serving them out of turn and made sure they got served last, by now they are all moaning about how thirsty they are – stupid sods!

Luckily punch ups were averted as they slept most of the flight and then when they woke up tried to chat the air hostess up and asking her to recommend a good night club, which she didn’t do either!

So by now I am glad to be gone from India. I must say though that I really enjoyed this group tour, the people we travelled with were a great bunch and we definitely got to see and stay in some amazing places that we would never have reached on our own.

We got through the airport with no hassles, our pick up was there and by 3 am we were at the airport hotel in a lovely comfy bed AT LAST!

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