Day 64 - Ali Baba Returns
Trip Start Jan 10, 2011
221Trip End Jan 08, 2012
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At the site of the ruins the Jama Masjid Mosque remains active and the town is obviously a Muslim enclave. As we walked around almost every kid and even some adults pointed at Eli and called out with glee "Ali Baba. Ali Baba". We knew Ali Baba was a fictional character from medieval Arabic literature, we gathered he was depicted as a man with a big red beard!! It was quite entertaining.
Here we saw the same massive honeycombs that we had seen on the gates into the Taj Mahal grounds. High up on the archways were these stout 'stalagmites'. There were so many bees on them that from 50’ away (up) they looked completely black!
On the road again we drove west across the country side about 300km. In between small hamlets the natural scenery was dotted with the brightly coloured Sari’s worn by the woman working in the fields.
Although 80% of the route was on highway, the trip took almost 6hrs due to a flood damaged 50km section of road. Imagine the worst camp road or cottage access road - add large shipping trucks, lots of cars and of course scooters and motorbikes criss-crossing the buckled asphalt to find a way through the undulating surface – for 50km!
We saw numerous trucks bulging with overflowing loads, a rickshaw bike toting a portable Muslim Mosque (taking it to the people) and many instances of overcrowded jeeps & scooters. We’ve seen 6 family members riding a single motorbike, a woman riding side saddle talking on her cell phone with no hands on either the driver or the bike and 15 people riding a jeep the size of a small suv (Honda CRV size) which involved guys standing on the rear bumper and sitting on the roof rack. However, the craziest thing we saw was a woman sitting behind the driver with one hand on the propane tank on her lap and the other clutching the scooter at the rear. No helmets in any of these examples.
Reaching Ranthambore, we checked in to what would be our nicest hotel in Rajasthan, decorated with many pictures of Tigers and the nearby national park. We had to get up early the following day (530am) for the Safari and excitedly tried to sleep.