The jeep pulled up at 9am with the windscreen down, yes that was the windscreen down. So we got a face full of flies and some serious fly away hair (see pics).
We boarded the train and found our 3 tier A/C cabin where we were met by a European Woman and an African Man
. She was from Finland and he was from Tanzania, they were a couple and the lady in particular was really interesting. She had worked as a volounteer nurse during several African conflicts and also worked for various Consulates throughout her life. She was staying as a guest at the Kenyan consulate and they had been given a large apartment and driver. She must have been about 60 and the guy about 30. They had seen a tiger so Erica was very jealous. He was going on a 14 day hike to Everest base camp while she said "I will just stay somewhere else on my own, smoke dope and read Dostoyevski" so she was a little alternative and eccentric.
The 7 hour train ride went quickly and was rather pain free, 3 little children wanted to know everything about us "What is your Mothers name" which became a little tiresome after 3 hours of answering the same questions. We arrived back at Delhi and got a metro over to New Delhi. Upon arriving at the backpacker slum we were hit with a real shock, the whole place had been torn to shreds (yes even more than before), the roads had been dug up, the shop fronts torn down and piles of rubbish burning in the street (the latter is not uncommon though). We walked through the devastation with Erica believing there had been an Earthquake or something. I think the answer was that the various extensions built on the shops were without planning permission so while digging up the road they decided to knock down the 'extensions' to the shop fronts. A real Health and Safety show sparks from grinders and welders flying all over the passers by, unable to breath because of the dust but still cows, cycle rickshaws and bikes walking / riding over the broken up tarmac.
It's not easy carrying your backpack in about 40 degrees C so it was nice to finally reach our hotel again
. We decided we would visit the bar again for a quick one. After a Veg Thali and 4 large Kingfishers we invited a lone stranger onto our table. Simon from Northampton turned out to be a semi precious stone dealer who operated out of Liverpool and came to Jaipiur to buy stones. We had an interesting chat over the next 4 or 5 Kingfishers about large scale antique fraud where a friend of his had a factory in Indonesia which manufactored 'Antique' soldiers helmets from the middle ages to modern day which by using acids through to tea bags to age them were often sold through the big Auction houses as originals. Whenever he gets stopped by customs with a load of suitcases it is too specialist for them to have any knowledge of what they are looking at and a 'fake receipt' can be shown to show they are not subject to import duty. All very interesting.
After 4 or 5 more Kingfishers.... well I cant remember anything after that. But we drank too much and spent too much. Oh to be back in Delhi!
At last a reasonable time to rise, with the alarm set for 08:00 I woke at 6:30 and had to sit quietly and try not to wake the Lady. When she finally woke we went down to the restaurant which overlooked the river and had a couple of Onion stuffed Paratha's and an 'Amlet with Slice'. I love to order anything which isn't well translated so was furious when the man explained they had run out of 'slice', I'll never get to know what a slice is now. Instead we got a masala omelette. The Onion Paratha was full of chillies but we ate it anyway (something we regretted later in the day).