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Orna's Crazy Adventure

Last Leg of Rajastan...

INDIA | Wednesday, 2 November 2011 | Views [502] | Comments [1]

As I write this entry in Word the power is out and I am typing in candlelight. They do not have battery back up here at this guest house so I am lucky I have located my head torch! I must admit that it is also a bit romantic with the candle... Also at this moment right outside my window (I hope there is a window because I haven;t fully checked out what is behind the curtain) there is either someone washing under a tap or having a pee. Either way it sounds very close like they are in my room!! This place is a bit of a hippy place so I wouldn;t be surprised if there is just a curtain with no window or anything else dividing me from whoever is outside!

This place where I will be staying for 3 nights is called Cacha's Garden and it is run by a couple (Indian man, Cacha and Rani his English wife). Rani originally came travelling here 7 years ago and met Cacha who then was a "Holy" man performing "pujas" (prayers) with people down at the holy Ghats here in Pushkar. So Rani did puja with him and ended up staying here and marrying him and now has 2 small children! (I think she has created the name Rani for herself and believe that her birth name may be something quite western like). Now that Cacha is a father and runs this guest house I wonder if he is still a "holy" man? Rani seems like a bit of a hippy - she wears a bindi on her forehead and indian anklets. Her baby is also never in any kind of nappy and they are always holding her - I haven't seen any accidents yet but I wonder if they know when she is about to wee or poo? Hippies... Also I am a little worried as I don't know how many people they have staying here but it seems like there are only 2 toilets to share between all of us!! I'm not looking forward to the shower / toilet que!! And they don't keep toilet paper here so every time I tramp to the toilet I have to bring my own toilet roll! I can't help but wonder if Rani uses toilet paper now that she is living here...? Hmmm, so many questions...

I guess it is kinda nice here though cause all the rooms and tents they have here surround a communal garden so I am forced to mix with people even if I have felt like hiding away for a bit! Honestly I have felt pretty down lately travelling on my own - it's like I meet people and often it's only for a day or night and then we go our separate ways. Also many people I meet I don't particularly want to hang out with. And travelling alone is a lot harder than travelling with someone else.

So just to update you, Jodhpur was a beautiful little city but I wasn't feeling so great. Next stop was Jaiselmer where I did a camel safari spending a night in the desert. I was a bit apprehensive at first cause I remembered how much my bum hurt on the 1/2 hr camel ride I did in Israel, but I thought, well, hopefully this time I will be alright!! Anyway, I don't know how I survived but the pain I experienced was at times unbearable! First 1/2 hr was ok, however the rest of the time it felt like I was being forced to do the splits with someone pushing me into it really hard for hours!! I almost felt like I had to meditate on the pain to turn it into something else so I get through it!! I don't understand how so many people do these things... anyway I ended up having to get off my camel and walk through the desert cause I was in too much pain. And from the height of the camel the bushes doen below looked nice and soft...on the ground it was a different story - THORNS!! No win situation! So I had to brave it and get covered in thorns while leading my camel through the desert. At least the other guy on my camel safari was a nice guy and I liked him! Not often I meet someone I like and am not irritated with!

Anyway, I was finally incredibly relieved to reach our destination for the night on the sand dunes. We had chai and daal and chappatis around a fire. Later it started to get really cold and stupidly I had listened to the tour agent and not brought anything warm with me cause they said I would be provided with everything I needed! Needless to say it got very cold and I was lucky that the guy travelling with me gave me his jumper and socks! (I think he caught a cold that night! Eek..) So I had a very cold sleep but it was still nice being in the desert and waking up to a beautiful sunrise and chai...

Next day as soon as I got back into town I headed with my driver to Udaipur. I had confirmed with him that it was an ok time to go and he was ok with getting in to Udaipur at 10pm after a 12 hr journey. He had said it was all fine but then 10 hrs into the car trip he says the rest of the way to Udaipur is too dangerous to do at night and we must stay the night in his friend's hotel for 2000 rupees. Anyway, I got pissed off and tried to explain that he should have told me earlier that it was unsafe to travel the whole way at night and I would have stayed an extra night in Jaiselmer, and I had already booked accommodation in Updaipur, and 2000 rupees is not in my budget, etc etc but of course he didn;t understand what I was saying and his Indian friends kept getting in the car and telling me that it was "impossible" to go the rest of the way to Udaipur that night. I was getting very annoyed and subsequently called the hotel whom I had booked him with originally and explained the situation and they told me it was not dangerous and they would tell the driver to keep going.

So my driver was complaining that it was another 250km to Udaipur but he would continue if thats what I wanted. Anyway, ten minutes later after we get going again I see a sign saying that Udaipur was 119km away - that was a quick 130km!! And not only that but the rest of the way to Udaipur was on a proper highway with paved roads and no pot holes and a median strip down the middle so if anything it was safer than the other Indian roads we had been travelling on!!

Meanwhile, 2 hrs later we arrived in Udaipur as originally planned (without all the hassle in the between) and I checked into my hotel which I even had to push my driver to find cause he started to say it wasn't possible to find it!! Irritating!! Not possible to travel to Updaipur, not possible to find my hotel...and then he complains that I have found a hotel with no driver facilities - HE is responsible for his car and accommodation and I am responsible for mine!!

So I then spent a day in Udaipur - it was pretty as it is on a lake surrounded by mountains, but apart from that I didn;t have an extra special time... it was particularly crowded at the City Palace - possibly still all the Indian tourists hanging round from Divali and this made it especially stressful and blood boiling i.e. there were incredibly long lines to get around the city palace and the Indians PUSH!! Even though there is NOWHERE for me to go they PUSH!! IRRITATING!!!!!!!!!!!!! And so I push back and give greasies hoping this will have some effect but it does NOTHING!!!!!!! I almost decided I had had enough of the crowds and pushing but then it was too difficult to find an exit anyway. So, I managed to see the City Palace and survive crazily enough. Not only that but when I was originally trying to purchase my entry ticket I had to push the guy to break my note cause I didn;t have any other small notes and it is very difficult everywhere for people to break your big notes. But what can I do if this is what the ATM spits out??? So at first he refuses to sell me a ticket until I push him to give me change!!! And all this while Indian people are trying to push ahead of me! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Later on I went on a boat trip on the lake which was nice but a bit boring. Then later on I asked a tuk tuk driver to take me to must see places in Udaipur and he took me to 3 very boring places. Only interesting bit was when we passed a fruit and veg market and I stopped to take photos. And then of course at the end of the trip he tells me to pay him what I like and when I give him a good deal (good deal for him cause I am not good with haggling) he argues about the payment - yet the whole time he has been saying he will be happy with whatever I choose to give him! It took me ages in the first place to get him to name a price before I got in the tuk tuk (all he kept saying like they all do is - "You pay me what you like. At the end you see"). Am definately getting over that one!!

Also by this stage my Indian sim card and Indian internet stick had ceased working and when I tried to call Vodafone to get them to fix the problem I was only spoken to in Hindi and then hung up on!! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. The only thing I had managed to decipher was that I had been barred cause I needed to re-register with a Vodafone store - India has all these rules and regulations about their telecommunications and internet!!!

So, for some reason they managed to get me re-registered for my phone and I am connected again for the meantime (thank g-d). However my internet stick is still not working and when I went to the Vodafone store here in Pushkar (you would never know it's a Vodafone store - it's a small room down an alley with 2 chairs and is not the sort of thing you would come across anywhere else!) they were really bloody annoying and said things like -" your internet stick has no sim in it so thats why it doesnt work" - well how have I been using it then up until now?????? They tell me I only paid for the bit of plastic and I need to buy a sim for it for it to work. Why on earth would I only pay for a bit of plastic that does not actually connect me to the internet??? And then after I tell them I need to recharge my phone they ask me if my mobile has a sim in it - well I was using it until it ran out of credit so it must!!!!!!!!!! Bloody annoying stupid questions!!!!!!!! So they couldn't help me with my internet problem - they could barely help me with recharging my phone and I am sitting there in this little room getting very irritable with them and finally leave!

So, I managed to speak to the guy who I bought the internet stick from and he was trying to figure out the problem and he reckons it may work by tomorrow night... we'll see... Very irritating trying to manage Indian systems!! Being away has also made me feel very happy being connected to my mobile and internet and without these things I am not happy! Rani here has wireless internet but without power it doesn't work...India...

So! This morning I travelled my last leg of Rajastan with my driver from Udaipur to Pushkar. Thank g-d I have left him now, didn't really like him or his attitude or the irritating way he spoke English - he kept using english words but strung together in such a way that totally did not make sense. And I wouldn't have minded if he seemed like a nice and trustworthy person but I didn't like him. So - he is gone! (Even though I still had to tip him!!) And I have now arrived after a VERY hot journey to Pushkar. He almost hit a cow that ran onto the road but luckily everything was ok. I have already seen 2 accidents on the roads...

And now here I am in what is to be Pushkar's biggest festival - a camel fair where apparently a lot of fair things go on - not just camel things. I checked out a bit of the village here tonight - it does have a nice feel about it. I made my way to one of the holy ghats and sure enough a holy man was by my side getting me to do puja with him and then pay him a donation which of course he tried to complain about saying it was not enough if I wanted good karma for me and my family! Ha! The thing is, they never fully explain what kind of ritual they are going to do with you and they never really offer you a choice about whether or not you would like to participate in such a ritual - it seems you cannot just go to the Ghat to have a look - you have to participate in a donation giving ritual! And of course he tells me that people give 30-40 euros or 30-40 dollars and when I say I will donate 200 rupees (equivalent to 4 dollars which can get you quite a bit if you are an Indian in India) he argues that I should pay more and with dollars or euros - I don't even have dollars on me anymore even if I did want to donate with them!! Let alone dollars to donate to this alleged holy man! So I told him that I already do enough in my life that should bring me good karma and I am happy giving 200 rupees and that is that. So then he says, ok give me 300 rupees - 100 for your mother, 100 for father and 100 for sister, and I say no, I'm giving 200 and that is that. Crazy that he actually asked for 30 or 40 dollars/euros!! Cheek I say!

So, I participated in this puja ritual getting dowsed in the holy water from the ghat (which I automatically thought I would need to disinfect myself from), getting flowers put in my hand and the red powder on my forehead, saying a wish and then throwing the flowers back into the ghat, repeating the Hindi puja after him and finally getting a string tied around my wrist. And now this is allegedly going to bring me success (holy man says that I must give him a call when I have obtained success and then I should give another 200 rupees). Also, according to Rani, apparently if I want to reach enlightenment all I need to do is bathe in the holy water of the ghat - wish it were that simple! Does that mean that all the people who have bathed in these ghats are now enlightened?? She said she used to do it all the time before she had her kids - she should be really enlightened by now!

It has now been over an hr and the running (water?) that sounds like it is in my room is still going so I am going to investigate with my head torch...

Ok have investigated and discovered that indeed there is nothing separating me from the lane out the back apart from some metal work that should have glass in front of it but doesn't, and a curtain. As for the running (water?) I could not see where it was coming from...How am I going to sleep through that?? And what is it??? Sounds like a waste of (water?) to me!!

So goodnight from me for now, and maybe at some point I'll be luckily enough to have my internet stick working again so that I can post this entry in my journal!

x Orna



hahaha-i know its hard because india can be so frustrating!! i remember...once you accept nothing is logical or makes sense it gets easier...and good kharma is for sale!! hard to laugh sometimes, but in hindsight you will!!xxx

  Galit Nov 4, 2011 9:02 AM

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