INDIA 10th JAN 06

Life is an Adventure.

Email written on January 10th 2006

Well finally we have found email!!! Not quite modern technology, in fact the oldest slowest computer I have ever seen but however it is email!!

So here we are in India - it couldn't be any more different from home!
When we first landed in Delhi we got culture shock in a big way!
Our hotel was in the backstreets of the scariest market ever! It was dingy and horrible and we were scared to go outside! I just sat and cried for about half an hour! When we eventually pulled ourselves together we went for a walk It was crazy! We are like a walking freak show in India - they all want to touch our skin and they come right up to us and stare and circle us!!! We have met very few other tourists on our journey so far.

On our walk around Delhi which will remain for me the most surreal half hour of my life we met a young Indian boy who gave us directions to the Government of India Tourist Office, a place I recommend to anyone who wants to travel to India. They gave us a map and helped us plan our route.

We booked a driver for the first 2 weeks to drive us across Rajasthan. Booking a driver may not seem very much like backpacking but I assure you there is no other easy way to see Rajasthan. 

We have been travelling constantly only staying 2 nights at most in any one town and mainly just 1 night.
We went trekking on camels in to the desert in a place called Jaisalmer, it was amazing!!!
Adam had a really well behaved camel that did exactly as it was supposed to but my camel was a bit unpredictable, stopping and wandering off when ever it felt like it!
The sand dunes were amazing, we sat and watched the sun set. Sounds very romantic but just as the sky went red and the sun was disappearing my camel chose to stand up blocking the view and relive himself!!!! I’m sure camels could flood a whole village when they wee - it goes on for ages!
As we made our way back to camp loads of people on camels emerged from the sand dunes, my camel guide (a boy of about 7) felt that it was a good time to start my camel running!!! I can assure you that horse racing on a camel is not a very comfortable experience and my bum was aching for days!! It was great fun though! That night we had dinner and danced around a camp fire - Adams Indian dancing is a sight to be treasured!!

Yesterday we rode on an elephant! Very bumpy but gives a great view of everything around.

When in a place called Ranakpor our driver said that he had got us a guide to go for a walk and see a lake, we would be about 2 hours. Great I thought, a nice relaxing stroll beside a lake. Yeah right! We hiked in to the mountains, climbing and traversing along the steepest cliff edges ever! We went on constant for 5 and half hours covering 6.8 miles (mainly climbing)!!! I actually thought I was going to pass out at some points! Our guide spoke NO English and so we had no way of knowing how much further or longer we had to go!!! It was awful but amazing to look back on! Also bear in mind we have the sun pounding down on us!

The weather is hot but I constantly have to stay covered up. I cant wait to get on the beach in a bikini in Thailand! 

India is a strange place full of contradictions and my feelings about India mirror this. Sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it. And sometimes I feel both at the same time!

We are very used to the surroundings now and that is helping us to relax a bit. We have a good understanding of the culture and have even grasped a bit of the hindi language much to the delight of the locals in the villages.
The poverty is shocking. I cannot even begin to explain how resourceful the Indian people are, they re use everything! Today we stopped at a little shack for some tea in the middle of nowhere where they had used a bicycle wheel for a TV aerial!!! We love stopping at the little shacks for tea, all the people gather around us and talk and stare! Sounds crazy but its amazing.

The toilet situation is varied. The hotels are great, toilets as we know it. However we are spending a lot of time on the road in either the desert or countryside. Sometimes you get lucky and find a toilet, (no lock/door, paper or light) sometimes a hole in the ground but in a cubicle, but more recently no toilets at all!!! I have experienced going to the toilet in a field!!! I am so proud of myself! We have both been ill, it is completely unavoidable. We managed to go 6 days without Delhi belly but then I went down first. We have had relatively mild cases though, no sickness or fever thank goodness. Considering 65% of the bottled water (treated tap water sold for 15p per liter) is not treated at all just tap water bottled it is no wonder people get ill. Our weak western stomachs don’t help either.

The food is driving me mad! Cury, curry and more curry!!!! They actually eat curry 3 times a day and there is no alternative! Adam is dealing with it really well, even enjoying it but I have had enough! 
I have begun dreaming about pizza, pasta, and lots of other yummy foods! (My mouth is watering now). I had chocolate for the first time yesterday but it cost a fortune, I had to savor it! I assure you the best diet I can ever recommend is a trip to India!! I wish I'd brought drawstring trousers!
We leave our driver on the 13th Jan and board a train from Agra to Varanasi. The train is overnight and we have booked 3rd class, a brave move I feel! The trains are going to be a challenge Im sure, we have been told that sometimes they leave an hour late, and sometimes they leave an hour early!! Also they do not have any signage to indicate where each train goes??!! Fingers crossed! From Varanasi we are getting a train to Calcutta. Then we are flying from Calcutta to mumbai and getting a train to Goa.  

We have taken loads of photos but the technology is not forward enough to allow us to download them yet! Once in the city again I will get them burnt on to CD and email some then!!

Hope everything is well at home; please email me any gossip and news!! Happy New Year to all!

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