Camel fair was amazing!! It was at Pushkar which is just at the start of the Thar desert - Pushkar is a lovely little town surrounding a holy lake. We fell in love with it straight away! especially after the big cities we had previously visited. It was absolutely packed with indians and foreigners alike - the indians were bathing in the holy lake as it's one of the holiest places in india. We all blessed our families there - attempting to copy hindi verses and throwing flower petals into the water. The camel fair lived up to our expectations. was the strangest experience with a fairground on one side(very rickety looking rides) and about 10, 000 camels on the other side.
The entertainment included an indian bride beauty pageant thing (we werent quite sure) where foreigners dressed up in saris and were asked the most hilarious questions by two crap questions by two indians who couldnt speak very good english (eg would you marry a man on camel?, in one word, how would you describe tourism in rajasthan?) Our favourites had to be the turban tying competition and most of all the moustache competetion (these guys were so proud of these taches it was unreal!) the winner wore his as a necklace and when undone reached around 2 metres! It even rivalled Becca's grandad's moustache!
On the other hand, our hotle in Pushkar was an absolute joke. We paid about ten times what we usually would bcause of the fair but turned out to be the dirtiest and most disgusting room ever. It was entitled 'deluxe air-con triple room'. First of all the air-con didi not work, becca was shoved into a small cupboard alongside a fridge with hairs in and live wires dangling out the wall. Lets just say we werent impressed - were usually pretty laid back about a bit of dirt here and there and are used to a basic indian accomodation but even we had to complain - manager's response was to call us 'his daughters' and slap laura with a fatherly hand?! not quite sure what one of them is?
This didnt detract from the amazing time wed had in Pushkar.
Slightly unnervign experience on our way to Udaipur - we have taken to playing sunil english music which he gets pretty excited about on hannahs ipod speakers. Whilst he was tapping away to Shakira or the like we heard a loyud bang and a sharp inhal;e from becca. Noone said anything until sunil got out the car calmly, shrugged his shoulders and said simply "cow." We thought only having one wing mirror was bad enough - we now have none. Turns out not only people but cows should look both ways before crossing roads in india. ut don't worry the cow lived to tell the tale! (possibly with a bit of a sore head for a while!)
From Pushkar we moved on to Udaipur (I'ts one claim to fame being the place where Octop**** was filmed - not such a good film we later discovered! - but it did invlove a tuk tuk which did wheelies - havent seen one of them yet!)
Udaipur is again based around a lake - not so pretty this time. We arrived in the evening and were really impressed by how pretty it is but we discovered in the morning it was actually full of green gunge. Oh well - we are in India after all!
However, the green gunge didnt seem to defer hannah and laura from thinking hiring a pedlo would be a good idea - it really wasn';t! we got stuck in the middle of the lake in a trail of green gunge - and at the low point when our time had run out, we discovered that the rudder had actually broken. We were then thinking that it may have been a better idea to book ourselves a seat on the motorised boat which had lapped us about 5 times by this point bu we were too stingy to pay the extra 30 rupies (about 40p). so that was fun.
The other highlight of Udaipur was the german bakery. Becca and lauras new-foudn paradise - with apple crumble. Hannah had her first good coffee since arriving in india(that didnt contain ginger or cumin!) so she was also in heaven...still not as good as yours though ash!
Jodhpur was our next stop, famous for its fort overlooking the blue city. Luiterally all the houses are painted bluie. Its a nice place, if a little (well a lot) smelly. Paid to go into the fort which was worth it if just for the amusement of the free audio guide - an indian bloke trying to do a posh english accent. Just for a change we got a tag-along as we were exploring the fort who get wanting us to stop and take photos with himon our camera which got bit tedious after a while - we must have about 30 photos of us with random indian families. After watchign the sun set over the city we sat on the roof of our hotel with butterscoth (not butterscrotch as some indians like to call it) ice cream looking up at the fort and watching fireworks. Completely idyllic, we all felt totally content.
The bit we'd all been looking forward to was the camel safari and it was even better than expected! the best day yet and one that i dont think well ever forget. Began with being waited on hand and foot in our thatched huts, we then got introduced to our camels: we'd like to introduce you too (pictures to follow)...
Typically Beca got the pretty one called Loula but was renamed camilla (camilla the camel). She had long eyelashes and was covered in very fashionable necklaces.
Hannah's camel on the other hand (Cameron) was the ugliest camel that ever happned. We had wobbly lips, bad diarrohea and liked to slurp water loudly in a very unattractive way! He did however have character and she loved him all the same.
Laura's camel was just a cool dude named Kenny, altough he was wearing alot of jewellery so it could be a Kelly - were not quite sure.
We were led out into the sand dunes from where we watched the sun set. Camels are not the mostr comfortable forms of transport we discovered and lets just say we were ll wishing we had sports bras and extra padded pants! We're definately paying for it today... After returning to the camp with traditional rajasthani folk musicians and dancers we were volunteered to have a go at the dancing which invloves a lot of arm flapping, and can-can style leg kicking. To be fair, not much different from what we normally look like on a friday night in Durham. Let's just say every last ounce of dignity we had (which lets face it wasnt a lot considering we were wearing fleeces and adventure sandals) evapporated, especially in front of all the other tourists who seemed to sit stony-faced around the circle. After tea we got some different camels and trekked through the desert in moonlight to our 'camp' which turned ou just to be blankets on a sand dune - which was absolutely amazing! a full moon and fantastic starts - meant to be one of the best places in the world to see the stars). Our camel guys decided to befriend us and decided to sing song-after-song-after-song arounda campfire to us. In order to get the singing to stop laura brought out some cards which lead to the most confusing game of cards weve ever seen. As far as we could tell the rules were - put any cards down and if you were assertive enough about it this seemed to be the right card. needless to say we didnt win.
The three of us snuggled up in the freezing cold desert (we decided this was the most romantic experiences of our lives so far!) and slept peacefully until we were woken up by birds at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise. Pretty Amazing as im sure you cann imagine. Had breakfast and left extremely happy albeit a bit tired and moved on to Jaisalmer, where the first thing we did was to find a hotel where we could sleep for 3 hours. We've just explored today - foudn the most amazing italian restaurant - the first time weve ever eaten canneloni whilst sitting on cushions on the floor with a view of the indian fort. about to have a very nice piece of chocolate cake which weve been eying up - who said india wasnt a home-from-home?! going on tomorrow to Bikaner, not long till were back in Delhi to get the train to Varanasi, we'll keep you posted as were going along. Hope everyon'es ok. We're getting into the swing of things and absolutely loving it! Still missing everyone loads though so keep sending messages, were loving reading them!. Love to you all, Becca, Hannah and Laura xxx