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12th to 14th August - Udaipur to Pushkar

The cultural show we went to on Tuesday night was very good. Lots of dancing and music. The finale performance was quite incredible, a rather portly woman balancing 9 bowls on her head while dancing and then walking on broken stones....

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

Really, they do make these regional dances entirely too difficult. If someone ever visited Surrey, I'm sure the regional dance would amount to the stand arm length apart and walk around slowly dance that everyone used to do at school discos.... Maybe they could throw in the classic 80's fleck suit for good measure as the cultural clothing... Smooth...

Wednesday we travelled to Pushkar via train. We left at a spritely 6.20am and we had a choice between air conditioned or non air conditioned seats... Being one of the locals and wanting to save 3 pounds, I opted for non air conditioned along with Henry, James, Lorna, Elise and Uttam the tour leader. The others were boasting about how comfortable their trip was going to be and how we'd be melting in non a/c class... Delightfully, it proved to be the coolest day we've had here... The other lot were a little miffed they paid for something they didn't need and you couldn't hide the smiles on our faces.... :)

Pushkar is an interesting place. It houses the only Brahma temple in the world and also is home to a kind of Indian mafia of tourist sharks... What I mean is that the whole place, which is only a small town really, kind of group together to beg and con the tourists out of money. A classic scam her is when one comes up to you and offers you a flower claiming to be a priest. If you take the flower, they lead you to a temple and bless you, afterwards charging you up to 50 pounds for the pleasure... Luckily we were wise to this so none of us got done..

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

I did see a fight though. It was on the street between two Indian guys about 40 years old. It was kind of like the old fights that I used to see at school... Lots of effort but no real punches.. It was swiftly broken up but I have to admit that is the only sort of trouble i've seen here.

From Pushkar, Jaipur and Bharatpur

Also, the last few days the heavens have opened and monsoon season is really upon us. We watched a Bollywood film in our hotel on Wednesday night which must have been interrupted about 10 times due to power cuts... The hotel was also covered in water due to the rains... It was an experience.

Thursday was a free day so I had a lie in. I was exhausted after the long previous day. I went out to do some shopping and to walk around the town about 11.30am. Met up with Allan along the way and we proceeded to haggle like champions at every tacky gift shop we passed. It was great. Almost like a competition. I picked up a box of coasters and hid them behind my back. I then asked the unaware shop assistant how much for a box of coasters, pointing at some on the shelf...

He said... "Rupees 250"...

I pulled the other box from behind my back and said "wow.... I bought these ones for Rupees 100 from down the road...."

He looked shocked.... "Really... you buy those down the road... which store?"

"It's about 20 stores down on your right." I replied.

He didn't understand, you see, the shop claims they are the only ones selling these coasters... I couldn't hide myself from laughing... I had to let him in on the gag....

Strangely, his sense of humour was not as i'd expected... Ooops...

I did get a spot of Delhi Belly that afternoon after a plate of overfried chips... Chips of all things... I've eaten curry almost every day and when I get some bloody chips I start to feel sketchy... Typical.

Anyway, Thursday night we watched another Bollywood film called Om Shanti Om... I have to admit, it was really entertaining... I really enjoyed the storyline and the singing and dancing. It was great...

We did have a couple of casualties to stomach infections Thursday night too. A couple of the group were taken to hospital with really bad pains in their stomachs which was really unfortunate for them. We went to see them in the hospital on Friday morning and they were looking much better but will probably be kept in over the weekend. Shame and it put a downer on much of the day.

After that, we took the local bus to Jaipur which is the third largest city in Rajasthan... We're planning on going out for a few drinks tonight to celebrate the fact that no one got vomit on them during the local bus trip. We also met some people from another group who are doing a similar tour to us. One of them told us that on their bus ride from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, some woman standing in the aisle squatted down and took a wee on the bus.... Ha ha ha.... Imagine that on the 200 to Bondi....



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