Heading back

Trip Start Jan 09, 2007
Trip End Jul 18, 2007

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We decided to catch an early bus from Sanchi and spend the day looking around Bhopal, shouldn't have bothered really. The bus took a different route back which was a much better road and more pleasant scenery. The bus station was the usual chaos we've come to love and respect with rickshaw drivers fighting for our services, we agreed on a price with a driver in the station but when we went to the rickshaws Annette got in the wrong one creating all sorts of mayhem among the drivers, quite funny really. We left our luggage at the railway station and set off on foot to see Bhopal. Walking in Bhopal is the same pointless exercise that it is in just about every other Indian city. The pavements are full of anything but pedestrians which means walking on the road and risking life and limb. We found the old market but it seemed to lack the character of other places I'd visited and there wasn't anything that I particularly wanted to buy. Annette seemed keen on visited a mosque, apparently the biggest in India, WOW!, but following the sketchy map in Lonely Planet and negotiating traffic was futile. Annette's keen interest soon turned to blind obsession and we were fighting traffic, waving away rickshaw drivers and generally having a wonderful time. Eventually we came to a massive lake and a nice little park so laid down for a nap. Fortunately when we awoke Annette seemed to have got over the mosque. We walked along the lake shore, I could have been fooled into thinking that it was the ocean, and headed for the new part of Bhopal. We eventually caught a rickshaw to the new market, as was inevitable, and were immediately accosted by the most aggressive beggars we'd seen in India. A woman and her daughter would not leave us alone and continually nipped at our arms. They clearly delighted in annoying us and laughed every time time Annette got angry, they did a lot of laughing. I threw them off for a while by walking towards a policeman but they were soon back on the trail. When we finally got rid of them a young lad (brother?) turned up and did the same thing. This kid stuck like glue and even got into a stand off with a policeman. I handed him over to some rickshaw drivers and asked them to take him somewhere but all to no avail. We eventually got into a rickshaw and went back to the old market where the beggars were more user friendly. The old market was much better in the early evening, not so busy and all lit up. There was a very attractive spice market but I don't think that Bhopal will be on my itinerary for future trips to India.
Our train to Delhi was late and we were standing on the platform for quite some time which inevitably attracted a young beggar. This must have been at least a cousin of the new market beggars because he was also very persistent. He got a 1 rupee coin out to show me what he wanted and I tried to take and said thank you. I don't think he saw the joke. I eventually bought him an omlette and he seemed satisfied. Got a nice picture of him eating it too, 10 rupees well spent.
The train trip was okay except that there was no food after 8pm and because the train was over an hour late we missed out. The beggar with the omlette did better than me, I spent all night thinking about those omelette's.
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