Thursday, 20 September 2007

Desert Fort

Well, we've arrived at the famous desert fort! Just had a really nice dinner at a restaurant with a 'magic balcony', James and Mark had about three very large bottles of beer between them, I stuck with the lemonade... Anyway, our 'tour' is going not too badly, the past few days have mostly been spent in the car but there should be less of that from now on!

Our driver is called Rakesh and he's absolutely hilarious... He loves Bolliwood songs (of course) and sings along but to the girl part, makes this funny high pitched squeal when we have close shaves with other traffic on the road (which is quite often), and since he found out Mark was single he seems to be trying very hard to set him up with a girl, haha...

I don't have a huge amount of time, so will try to mention as much as I can in bullet points:

- On our way out of Delhi we nearly had an accident because there was a truck stopped on the highway, everyone was honking angrily etc, I naively assumed it had broken down but turns out the driver had just stopped to get a drink from a street-side vendor! Rakesh remarked, "In India, life is not important, but drink is very important."

- There's tons of Engrish around, especially on menus, such as "Chicken Marryland" "Salad Street" "Kuchumber Salad" "Chicken Clear" (under soups)

- There are three main 'safe' brands of bottled water in India, one of them is 'Aquafina' (by Pepsi) and 'Kinley' (by Coke). James got three bottles called 'Yash' from a roadside vendor cause we were thirsty, but Rakesh said it coiuld be a bit dodgy and fortunately got us a refund for two of the bottles, we had to keep one but I'm sure we can use it for something... Water bottles usually have a 'maximum retail price' on it, usually it's about 12Rs (just under 50c NZ) but sometimes at hotels and other touristy places they charge about 30Rs, and they've rubbed off/blacked out the 'MRP'... nice! It's still super cheap compared with NZ, but so is everything so you can't really compare.

- I'm sure everyone has already heard this about India but there are cows absolutely everywhere, and of course people can't hurt them so if they wander into the middle of the road everyone has to brake and swerve to avoid it. Sometimes when we're going past one of they seem to stare angrily at you, Rakesh said "In India all cows are angry."

- On the drive to Jaisalmer we saw some people walking along the road, we asked Rakesh where they were going and he said they were pilgrims, usually having to walk about 200km... And this is in the middle of the desert! A bit crazy... They usually rest under tree shade during the day and walk during the night when it's cooler.

- Little kids will often wave at us as we're driving by, I guess cause we don't look Indian, I usually wave back, and once this kid seemed really happy once we did, hehe.

Okay, time to go back to the hotel so I better stop writing, we're going on a camel ride tomorrow so that should be uncomfortable but fun...! I got an Indian simcard for my phone and I've emailed the number to most people, but if I forgot to include you, send me an email... I mean, I don't expect most people would need it anyway, but just in case you want to send me a txt or something...

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