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The Kirwan Twins Adventures We've finally graduated, so we're setting off for three months to backpack around India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand before entering the "real world."

Good Vibrations

INDIA | Saturday, 7 April 2007 | Views [775] | Comments [1]

From Delhi we planned a two week road trip through the expanse of Rajasthan's mystical desert cities and sandy terrain. We hired a driver to take us from Delhi to Agra where we marveled at the looming, white marble of the Taj Mahal. This architectural feat was commissioned by a heart-broken Mughal Emperor as a monument for his deceased wife. After checking off our second of the "seven wonders" (Machu Picchu being the first), we drove to the nearby Fatehpur Sikri. This is a ghost town of Mughal ruins perched above ambling fields and farms. More importantly, this was our first opportunity to relish fresh air after several weeks of congestion from exhaust fumes and burning rubbish.

We finished the day in Jaipur, our first Rajasthani city. When we hired a driver we conceded to a package deal that would include hotel rooms, rationalizing that we would save time and money while upscaling to slightly nicer hotels. So, we lounged about our tidy hotel room indulging in room service (which is dirt cheap). We spent the next day visiting Jaipur's Amber Fort, the first of many, many, many fort visits. Jaipur was a bustling city painted in pink with intricately carved stone walls. In the scorching heat of the afternoon, we found frothy, COLD, sweet lassis at "Lassiwala" served in sun-dried clay cones that were promptly tossed onto the street when finished.

From Jaipur we drove on to Pushkar, a desert oasis. Our hotel was set against a backdrop of rolling desert hills and a garden of magenta, chrysanthemums adorning a pool! After jumping in for a refreshing dip, Dimity rested in the room trying to shake off a bout of traveler's sickness while Bobby and I rented a motorbike and cruised down the dirt roads towards town. For those jam-band phans, picture shakedown-street winding through white marble shrines and storefronts cluttering the banks of a deceptively sparkling lake (which is actually clotted with filth but is comparitively cleaner to the Ganges). Steps lead down to the water where holy men sit in prayer and offer flowers to their favorite gods or puff on holy ganga. Dimity was on the mend by the afternoon, so the three of us sped into town on our little scooter. Picture the three of us teetering down the road with Bobby in front manning the wheel and blaring the most pathetic little horn at obstructive cows/people while curly-twins clutched onto him for dear life - quite a site. Bobby, of course, had a test run with a local who rented the scooter before agreeing to drive us both. Apparently he almost killed a heard of piglets. We ditched the bike after the first day and spent the rest of the time meandering through narrow alley ways on foot and experimenting with all types of food.

On our last evening we embarked on a sunset hike. We set off down a dusty path that led us through back alleys and into a stretch of flower fields blanketing the desert valley. As the sun fell towards the horizon, we plodded on through the lifting heat towards the Sivrati Temple perched on a hill-top. The light faded and the city lights twinkled on one by one taking the form of a starfish, its body a cluster of lights about the lake trailing out like fingers splayed between mountain ridges. As I panted up the steep stone-cut stairwell, two girls were headed down and sympathizing with my fatigue said "Once you reach the top...well, shanti shanti!" Reinvigorated we reached the temple and gasped at the views surrounding us.

On our way down, we made friends with two local brothers, Ganesh (9) and Anil (12). The boys would climb to the temple every evening to deliver milk to the caretaker for 10 rupees (25 cents). In the morning they wake up early to pray to their Hindu gods before delivering milk to the local market for 5 rupees and then heading off to school. We stopped at a little cafe stand on the way down and shared cold mango juice and chai with the boys. The owner of "Base Camp Cafe" insisted that we try his family's special chai masala mix, over which he described Pushkar's "good vibrations." The vibrations were so fabulous that we bought some mix to bring home, so get ready for an Indian tea party!

Peace, Emma

Tags: On the Road



good luck with all your dreams!

  marina May 2, 2007 12:36 AM

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