Travelling from Jaipur to Pushkar
29.04.2011 - 29.04.2011 37 °C
Bags packed and ready to go, we had our last breakfast of boiled eggs on toast in our garden of Eden before heading off to Pushkar. Why boiled eggs on toast? Well that is because eggs are not allowed, along with meat, alcohol and kissing in this Hindu pilgrimage town set around a sacred lake.
The auto rickshaw was ready and waiting and we had the usual fiasco of cramming our bags into the limited seating space. The journey was less than 5 mintues, so when the driver started insisting on 50 rupees Ste quickly put him in his place and thrust 30 into his hand. All I can say was he wasn’t a happy bunny, but we just ignored his grumbles and headed into the station and he tanked off in his rickshaw. I nearly forgot to mention there was an open manhole in the road on the way to the station; it is not even worth imagining what would happen if the wheel of a 3 wheeler rickshaw went down that!
It was a while before we found ourselves on the bus headed for Ajmer due to some confusion about whether it would be okay to get an indirect bus. With our bags blocking the aisle space, the bus hurtled off and for the first hour people found us very interesting to stare at. Their faces were fixated as though they were watching television! All was fine on this 2 and a half hour journey (apart from the moronic, death wish style driving) until a BANG! THUMP THUMP THUMP! A blowout! I immediately thought and everyone started shouting down to the driver and panicking. I could hear the noise was directly under my feet and knew it was the wheel. “Thank god there are two tyres on the back” gasped Ste, as we pulled up at the side of the motorway, which has no hard shoulder.
All the men began to disembark the bus and look at the wheel in question. They then began to hit various things and discuss various things, then they boarded the bus once again in high spirits. “Can we assume it’s not a blowout?” I questioned to Ste “They wouldn’t be that stupid to drive with a burst tyre” he assured me “Ste, we are in India!” The journey continued along with the noise and we eventually made it Ajmer in one piece.
As always, one foot off the bus and we were be accosted by a large man insistent on taking us to our bus and that the price was 50 rupees. Ste got out the bible, “It says 10 here!” the man soon vanished when he realised we weren’t playing his game. “Where is someone who speaks sense around here?!” I shouted and so we decided to buy a drink in the hope of getting the correct information from the shopkeeper after purchasing a few of his goods. This technique worked and we were on the bus in no time for 10 rupees.
Sweating with our bags between our legs, the man opposite sparked up a conversation with the usual “Which country?” It is always great fun trying to guess what these over friendly people want from you, 99% of the time there is an ulterior motive to their friendliness. And yes, there it was, five minutes into the journey, a business card in our hands. Hmmm we thought, nice business card, sparkly gold, the hotel must be okay at least and it says here swimming pool!! We were sold.
It was a quick 25 minute journey over Snake Mountain and down into Pushkar and the hotel was only a minute walk away. It looked okay from the outside but the aircon room was dingy as anything and for 500 rupees it was a complete ripoff. We asked to see the swimming pool and were greeted with a surprise! There, sunning themselves by the pool were the lovely German couple, Stefan and Isabelle that we met in Brown Bread Bakery in Varanassi. We took the non aircon room next to theirs for 300 rupees, which was considerably larger and more pleasant than the previous room.
We managed to catch a few glimpses of the royal wedding on the fuzzy Tv and set up our mosquito net, as they were swarming in the bathroom! We also managed to patch up a huge hole in our window where there was the casing for an aircon with the motor removed providing a perfect entrance for a thief! It only took the high tensile wire mesh for our backpacks and a few padlocks, et voila! After testing it by trying to fit our heads through the gaps we joined Isabelle and Stephan for dinner.
20 seconds walk from Hill View Hotel there is an incredible garden restaurant, where we ordered and incredible Punjab Thali Meal. The Thali is served on a silver tray with various compartments, one for popadums, naans and salad (consisting of onions, cucumbers and tomatoes,) one for a special rice and then three small ones containing, raita (flavoured curd,) paneer curry (pieces of cheese instead of meat,) and then a dal (thinner curried lentil sauce.) One of these Thalis is plenty big enough for two and is absolutely divine! I finished off with my favourite Masala tea before hitting the hay.