WEll, we are 12 days into our trip and I have finally found a internet bar that has access to this website, I sent out a email to some of you a week of so again so some of this might be repeat but bear with me.
First of all, when we arrived in delhi, we were comepletely unprepared for the culture shock that we were going to excperience, having lived in China, we thought we kind of knew the ropes and knew what to expect but immediately we were chocked by everyone's leve of English and also the very apperent poverty even in the capital city, people actually living on the streets and eating out of the trash, it was all quite difficult to take in and our first couple days were a biut stressfull and we learned the new cultures and custums of a new country.
In Delhi, we found a travel agent that helped us plan our trip through Rajathstan. WE had originally planned on doing trains the whole time, but a drive seemed to give us some more flexibility in our traveling and also saved us some time traveling from place to place.
So on the 2nd of Jan we met with our driver, Raj, he's a 27 year old guys just doing the job to make ksome money for his upcoming wedding, really freindly guys and his englsih is just great so our experience with him has been nothing but great so far, he has become both our driver and a good friend.
Our first stop was in Agra, for the famed Taj Mahal. We first went to the Agra fort, which was nice, there are a zillion forts in Rajasthan and the highlights of most of these forst is the amazing view it gives of the city it over looks. WE had an awesome hotel the first night (all these things were prearanged for us) and we just chilled in the room most of the night ans in general its not too safe to wqander about after dark. The next day was the Taj Mahal day, quite disapointing, we were able to go inside and see all the buildings but the there was a dense fog that prevented us from actually seeing the outside of the building, so I guess we will just have to get a psotcard!
Next stop was Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, we got there pretty late, like 10 pm and just orderd room service (very bad reoom service)
Our day in Jaipur was lovely, the cities were a dirty mess, all curvy and no nice grid pattern like we are used to. WE saw the City Palace, Jantar Mantar and the Water palace (all t hese things don't mean much to you now but when we get to Shanghai or a better internet cafe, I will upload some pics. At sunset we went tothe Naharagarh Fort which overlooked the city, Jaipur is known as the cink coity because of the many sanstone buildings and we had an awesome and very romantic veiw of the city!
The next day was not a good day for me, I was really sick and couldn't really eat anything allday and as a result had pretty low energy. WE did end up going up to AMber fort, which again was amazing, the intricate work of all the buildings and the sheer vastness of it was amazing, it was like a maze wandingering throught the halls of what used to be a royal palace.
Our next stop was Pushkar, which is a HIndu Religious town. THere were hundred and hundred of pilgrims at this city, there is a main lake inthe city that is considered holy and so people bath in the lake (ghats) to purify themselfs. THis was our favorite city, it was very small so we didn't nee the driver and we just kidn of walked around at a leisulrely pace. The people were so friendly (which has been true in all fo india) We had leisurly rooftop lunches and just observed the very very religious and devot ceremonies that were going on around us. I loved Pushkar, luckily we spent two nights there. On a side note, I had the best pizza in Pushkar that I have had in 18 months, a little SHop called Little Italy and I would Highly reccomend it to anyone who goes to that city.
And onward, we headed of on the 7th to Johdpur. We got there late and our hotel was in the middle of nowhere so it was a buit of a bummer night, but it was a just a short stop on our way to Jaisalmer, so no biggy!
FInally it was off to Jaisalmer and our came safari! We arrived around 4pm and got right on the camels, the took us a ways out into the desert, the desert was a mixture of shrubbery and sand dunes. WE stopped the camels on the top of a sand dune and waited for the sun to set, it was the most amazing sunset I have ever seen, I will post pics later but I"m sure they will not be able to show the fire red skies. ALso on the trek we had a litle boy sing some sor t of HIndi song wishing us a good luck, it was quite a surreal experience ( I got it on video). Afte the sun was set we headed back to camp, basically they were clay huts with a cot inside, and also a "bathroom" (we will use this work loosely here). We, along with some other tourists, sat around a campfire, linstening to Hindi songs and dances. THe people we met were really friendly and it was a absolutely wonderful night, I had forget that there were so many stars in the sky! The next morning, they had breakfast waiting for us outside out tent and then we headed to twon. The town was charming, we wandered up to the fort again, and its an amazing view of the city from the top, we spent alot of time there walking throught the mazes and finding beauty around every corner. WE again had a delicous Itailain dinner (yes we did eat Indian food here but thats more Nates thing so I"ll let him expalin that stuff.
WE had to stop at Johdpur again on the way to Udaipur, we are not huge fans of this city, kind of mess, un organized and difficult to get around, but of course the peopel were still friendly. We saw abnother fort, this city is the blue city so although the fort was cool, the view of the city below as spectacular, we took lots of pictures to bee= seen later. After the fort we headed back to the main center of town, THe CLock Towere, but we could mind a restaurant anywhere. LUckily Nte is quite friend and outgoing and struck up a conversation with spice shope owner and he recfommended a local, non-touristy place to get soem tandoori chicken, which was amazing and it was a very local joint..
Sorry for the lenght, only one more day to go! WE left fpr Udaipur from Johdpur around 10 and the drive is a beautiful one through the mountains, the loandscape is both dry desert and also has oasises where there are farming land and small villages. Nate esscpecially enjoyed this ride alot. WE stoped at a Jain Temple that was kind of hidden in the mountains in the city of Ranakpur. It was just another amazing example of very intricate marble carvings, there were hundreds of collums in the temple each with a unique design. Everytime we see these things we are just in awe and try to imagine what it must have been like hundreds of years ago, mind boggling really.
And now we have arrived in Udaipur, our last stop in the norhtern state of Rajathstan. I will leave you will just a few genereal impressions that we have made in our short time here:
-People are SO friendly and (although it took us a while to figure this out) they are not all trying to scam us
-THere are cows and livestock EVERYwhere, even in big cities in the middle of a nice ceighborhood
-People here are so poor, even compared to CHina, the poverty is just so much more evident here, there are actually small little communities on street corners who huddle around fires and have no place to go
-THere are absolutely NO women out at night
-NO matter the class of a woman, her clothing and jewelery is always amazingly clean and colorful
-Finally,. my driver calls me Mary but I didn't notice until like half way through the trip which seemed to late to correct him, so I guess for this lag of the the trip, I am "MAry"
The nexy 2 days we will be in Udaipur, supposedly the Venice of India, I have high expectations and am really looking forward to wandering, no Raj today so everything is by foot. TOmorrow night we will take the night trip to Mumbai and we don't have a clear plan after that, so I will keep you updated. Can't wait to show you all our pictures!
Love you and wish that you were all here experienceing this with us =)