Trip Start Jan 28, 2007
29Trip End Mar 31, 2007
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Poor Victoria one of the girls from the UK had woken with Delhi Belly so she sure had the bus trip from hell and just layed on the seat the whole way. We had a toilet stop at one stage which allowed male passengers to walk to the nearest tree to relieve themselves (or 2 steps from the bus door is he so chose) and the girls had the luxury of going on the ground behind a building. It was generally agreed upon that this was probably much nicer than having to use any local toilet if there had been one.
The bus stopped at one stage due to a traffic jam (in the middle of nowhere) everyone just got out of the vehicles and stood on the road - all the local village people were out on the road standing around too so it turned into a big photo shoot with us tourists taking photos of the local children old men (great faces) etc
Turned out that the local village had blocked the main road in protest of the village only being supplied with electricity for about 4 hours a day - they want more. A meeting was held by the roadside with officials and a deal made - everyone back on the bus!!
I haven't really spoken of the driving here because its impossible to imagine if you haven't experienced it but just to give you an idea of the mentality: A brand new4 lane road (2 each way) with concrete block medium strip separating the two sides. Full on peak traffic flow (which is normal all day) and our clap trap bus driver sees a gap on the opposite side of road and pulls into the oncoming traffic lane - wrong side of road, wrong side of medium strip, oncoming traffic!!!.
No one on the bus including a passenger who was a policeman had a problem with this. The trip continued for sometime with a deadly form of chicken being played, where for example 2 buses one in each lane would be hurtling towards us head on and we didn't budge, so the bus in our lane would at the last minute pull back in behind the bus in the other lane only for us to find on having our view cleared that there was now a huge truck bearing down on us - we were astounded, and our bus was on the inside lane so we just had to stand firm cos the concrete strip stopped us dodging at all!
Our guide traveling with us is a 22 year old guy fro Rajasthan. Hes great and we all love him. He's super cool and good looking (and he thinks so too! hee) and very westernised although he hasn't been out of India. He's sense of humour is spot on so everyone hangs it on him all day but hes one liners usually beat us.
Anyway... he was telling me and Rob that 8 years ago when he was 14 all his family were on a bus going to a wedding. The bus was hit head on by a truck and of the 46 relatives on the bus, 30 were killed. Now he's a tour guide and on the road he has to ring his mum every night to tell her his safe. As an aside point - he is Muslim so its interesting spending lots of time with him and learning more, although all his best mates are Hindu.
Back to the day... after 4 hours we at last get off the bus to find jeeps waiting for us to take us up tint the hills to Fort Madhograth which has now been converted into a heritage hotel. It was spectacular, set on the top of a hill over looking a beautiful valley with little villages around its base. Every room in the fort was different but all wonderful and still have all the family's personal items displayed thru the fort
The village below sees few white people and as we all went for a walk the children all up and ran out of their small school to follow us and beg for photos to be taken. We visited a local house and as we walked around women were spinning yarn, young girls grinding stones to make bead jewelery etc. Mix in of course the usual passing camels, bullocks etc and it was a great couple of hours. Before leaving the village Javed (tour guide) stopped us at a small lean too shack where wooden benches were filled with all the elderly men in the village. It was a Chai stand (spicy tea). We all joined them for chai there in the street and they all wanted their photos taken too... bonus.... great faces, turbans, whiskers etc hahaha (must add that no one asked for money for their photos which made the experience a fun on - not like China!)
On returning to the Fort we went to the top look out tower balcony for sunset and the staff brought drinks up for everyone which was perfect.
A wonderful dinner was served in the candle lit inner courtyard with Indian musicians and a dancer getting most of the group up to dance under the stars - magical, and most of the group swear they'll return here one day.
.... downhill from here I'm afraid.... coming next....Gayle's Delhi Belly!!