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Day Eight

The long drive from Udaipur to Jaipur

sunny 19 °C

An early start for our long drive from Udaipur to Jaipur. I looked out of the window to this view:
They say "red sky in the morning shepherds warning." That because his house is on fire!! If there was they couldn't put it out, there was no water. Well not in my room anyway. I ran reception but "Yes, Yes" was the only response.
Not a problem, I have instant shower in a can and water in a bottle. Fully Lynxed up and teeth brushed, off for breakfast. Um no one there!!! That's because they were all fast asleep on the sofas in reception. A gentle nudge was all it took -
"7:30 sir 7:30"
"It is 7:30"
One thing I have learnt thus far is that it does not matter. Things take their own good time, but it will happen.
So I sat overlooking the lake with green parrots flying past. As much as I would love to be sharing this experience with someone, I am actually having time to reflect and, in the fullness of time I will.

Breakfast was a masala omelet - extra spicy - absolutely brilliant.
Back to my room to find the water had been restored and I had a beautiful shower and a shave in hot water - Going to prove "now is the now" and live every moment - but in time the thing you need will be their for you.

Dhasmendre and I are getting on, he is a great guy to have as a driver. My Indian is improving - Well I am slowing down and talking with an Indian accent so the conversions are going well.

The long drive starts:

I was discussing about how much hard work it must be to carry the water pots on ones head - When we saw a group of ladies filling up large pots. So we stopped as I wanted to try it out. I don't think they got it to start with as they handed me an empty pot - No it's not for a photo it is to see what it is like to carry to pot on your head.
It took 2 of us just to lift it onto my head

Yes it was bloody heavy - He reckons the capacity of the pot is 35lts so that's 35kgs.

The roads were good - dual carriageway.
Still had someone who was not quite sure of the traffic rules:

It's never boring on our journeys, this was a post election party on behalf of the winner.

Now this truck says it all:
But I think that is where it start and where it stays.

The dual carriageway opened up to a 3 lane highway, this meant that we have more lanes to weave in and out of.

I arrived at the house where I am staying with an Indian family. A very worm welcome and a cup of tea. The family is the boss of the travel company, I am using for the tour.

The dog needed a walk so I said I will come along:

Then time for a cooking lesson. I found it hard to keep up with everything that was going on 3 dishes being cooked at once:

I was then informed that they don't eat any meat, fish or eggs. And no alcohol. I needed a bit of a break.
Slim Woody in 2 days time.

Posted by woody1 08:47 Archived in India Comments (0)

Day Nine

Elephants and Snakes

sunny 18 °C

Day 2 in Jaipur.

The day started with a cooking lesion on how to make Aloo Paratha. It's so simple. chapati dough rolled into a flat - Then add the Aloo mix (potatoes and secret recipe - cant tell you that as it wont be a secret any more). Fold in the edges and then role out gently. Then pop on the pan.

There is a lot to see in Jaipur so I booked a guide for the day at 1000 rupees.
First stop the palace of - Um cant remember. Looked stunning:

As much as I love the beauty of buildings I was distracted by the snake charmers. First ones I had seen the whole trip:

The Amer Palace was next stop - This is one of the places I have been recommended to see.

Two ways up the hill. Walk or Elephant! 900 rupees for the ride to the top.

It's a long way up that hill

The driver (if that's the right name for him) was very informative we have a good chat on the way up:

He took my pic - Lake a Maharajah:

The paparazzi were there taking pictures - Fame at last.

At the top he needed 100 rupees for the elephant and 100 rupees for him. 100 rupees for the picture that the paparazzi took. I would not normally pay for pictures but these were very good.

Not just another palace - This was just as awe-inspiring as the others I have seen:

Well worth the 400 rupees entry fee.

My guide gave me a full tour with all the history. The history of the palaces is quite similar to the others I have seen. However, each one is as stunning as the other.
A few monkey at the top of the hill:

Next stop the water palace:

Jaipur is renowned for astrology: King someone in seventeen hundred and something (I should have been taking notes from my guide) built a large out side collection of architectural astronomical instruments.

Agh I remember King Sawai Jai Singh between 1727 and 1734
It is quite incredible how accurate they were 100's of years ago.

Next stop was the City Palace. Worth the 400 rupees entry fee:
Again more fantastic architecture and design.

Then I was taken to an astronomer to read my future. Which is a very big thing in India. He told me about my 3 children and lots of other information. My destiny will be seen in 2 or 3 months. Then told me that i needed yellow amber stone to help me, which he would give me a good price!!
But he did tell me that it will all be OK just don't give up.

Long day - Back to my Indian family for Tea. They are so hospital. We sat and chatted about my day, my children. I then showed them lost of pics of Emily & Chloe, Scobby dog etc.

Last cooking lesson, veg curry, pakoras, rice and chapatis.
The food was fantastic - I did not do too much.

Day 2 of no beer / alcohol. I can assure you Absinthe does make the heart grow fonder.

Posted by woody1 04:41 Archived in India Comments (0)

Day Ten

Meat and beer and videos - Happy days

overcast 15 °C

Early start for the drive from Jaipur to Agra
I said good bye to the family this morning. The hospitality was fantastic, I was looked after so well.

On our journey to Agra we stopped on the way to see one of the oldest and largest stepwells. Built during the 8th 9th century.
As you can see the 2 days off the beer has done me well!

An other example of awesome design and build.

On the way out I saw was this guy throwing a pot - Now this is quite a unique way of getting the wheel spinning:

Not quite your green and pleasant cricket ground as we love in UK

60% of Rajasthan is desert, 20% is mountains and the rest is agricultural land - the "green bits". We were travailed through the "green bits" on our way to Agra. The dress was subtlety changing, more yellows (what would I know). But it was getting poorer and less clean. (if that is possible).

However, when we started travailing through Uttar Pradesh (the next Province east of Rajasthan) the roads got worse and it definitely got scruffier.
Agra was no exception:

Taj Mahal:
Not a lot to say about this. Next time :)

On the way back from the Taj Mahal I had a bit of a spat with the rickshaw rider - He said it was 100 rupees there and back. When we returned he wanted 200 rupees 100 each way - I was arguing over £1 - But it is the principle. I gave him 100 rupees and told him that was that. My driver said something to him and off he went.

Checked in to MY hotel, another lovely hotel.
http://www.hoteltajresorts.com/Your text to link here...

Then off out for dinner - Meat and a beer for for 2 day.

The Indian Izika zumba, zumba, zumba: Hold him down, you Zulu warrior. Good old rugby song.

Posted by woody1 06:18 Archived in India Comments (0)

Day Eleven

Rain and Trains

rain 16 °C

Day 12 - Agra to Jhansi via train.

I woke early to the sound of water - I was lying in bed thinking that shower sounds just like rain. That's because it was rain. Not heavy but rain all the same. Agra - The old capital of India - Grotty place but almost looked clean in the wet.

It's good in the rain as there is no one to give you no pain -

This is not a very complex plan - Dharmendra left early this morning with my bags so that I could take the train and he would meet me in Jhansi -

First Class Ac carriage - Not the smartest I have been on a little bit shabby but clean and tidy. Char Walla brought tea and sat watched the world go by and contemplated the meaning of life _ This is the first time in many years that I been able to really relax knowing that everything is being being run smoothly with back at base.

I took a walk from one end of the train to the other - Chatted to lots of lovely people - Not sure if this is safe with the door wide open:

2nd class is no worse than the 7:18 from Winchester to Waterloo. In fact it is less crowed. This train did not have any 3rd class carriages - so i did not get to visit the real Indian train travel.

I arrived at a very rainy Jhansi, 1 hr later than planned.
With no mobile signal so I could not get in touch with Dharmendra, fortunately after 5 mins we bumped into each other in the crowed entrance hall.

What I did not realise was that there was another 169 Km to drive to Khajuraho. The location of temple with all the Kama Surta. A place I really want to visit.

The roads are not good in this part of India, this is the main road out of Jhansi.

Some are better but not very wide!!

At last they have some road signs

Unfortunately we took a wrong turn and ended up having to come back on ourselves. Time and light was not in out favour today so I decided to go straight to the hotel and visit the temple in the morning - Early start.

We pasted a farmers market on the way but the heavens opened again and I ran for the car!!!

This is a very interesting lake:

If you look closer you can see lots of love hearts.

On the way I saw a massive spark from a power line -
No power in the hotel - “5 mins sir and the power will be back” Nope if the spark I saw was the distribution box then this is not going to get fixed quickly.
Well they managed it and I have internet

I managed to find beer - and food - So happy days.

Tomorrow - Kama_Sutra so stand by for lots of pictures -

Posted by woody1 07:11 Archived in India Comments (0)

Day Twelve

Early start and porn

overcast 17 °C
View India 2015 on woody1's travel map.

Khajuraho temple.

If you believe that everything happens for a reason then yesterdays delays were so that I could visit these temples on my own, in peace without anyone else, no hawkers , no holly men no one trying to sell something. It was magical.

I have said on many occasion awe-inspiring - well these temples really were.

The carving are so magnificent and the erotica is what people come here for. However, not everyone is porn.

It took 2 hrs to visit the site and I could have spent longer -
The last part of the audio tour said "All you need open mind cultural spirit and a comfortable pair of shoes".

As I left the site the hawkers were just starting getting out of their pits to sell tat to the tourists:
No I did not get this book - I got a bigger one and some playing cards. Looking forward to playing poker with these.

Now the long journey to Varanasi: Note the start km and start time:

The roads were as bad as I have seen in the last 2 weeks. But now add fog to make it just that little bit more exciting. There were still cows, sheep, cars and trucks with no lights - and elephants:
and ducks:

Our drive was through green a colourful area I cant explain its own beauty as that id in the eye of beholder - and it was foggy.
Through the jungle area of the Panna Tiger Reserve.
No Tigers but plenty of monkeys:

There weren't many restaurants en route so we stopped small roadside Café -

The light started to fade, and Dhasmendre stopped the car and asked me to wait 2 mins. He came back with 2 large bottles of cold Kingfisher.
Very kind of him. Well I think he wanted to relax me before the next experience ahead / night driving in India. Driving on the Indian roads are bad, they get worse fog, but at night is something else!!! There are still cows, sheep, bikes, cars and trucks very few with any lights or reflectors.
I have done a lot of scary things at night on foot, in helicopters, Land Rovers, Airplanes and nothing compared to this journey. But we made it.

439 KM took 11 hrs - If you take 1 hr off for breaks that's an average of 43 Km/hr or 26 mph.

A very long day for Dhasmendre he did very well.

Posted by woody1 18:41 Archived in India Comments (0)

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