We had told Khan that we wanted a lie in this morning so we planned to meet him outside the hotel at 10am. Breakfast of honey porridge was pretty good as anticipated. The swimming pool outside was just staring at me, calling me over to relax and sunbathe in the gorgeous sunshine with a Pina colada by my side... but unfortunately my dreams were crushed when Matt interrupted my thoughts informing me that Khan was waiting for us outside. Oh well...Goa soon!
Khan dropped us off in Pushkar town centre and we went for a wonder. Before we had time to breathe, an Indian man put a flower in both of our palms and told us to head down to the Holy lake for the festival. 'Ooo, what festival?' we thought. So off we went. We slowly walked through the streets, stopping to look at different interesting stalls. We walked past a bank surrounded by locals and tourists desperate to draw money out! Khan had lent us nearly 5000 rupees to keep us going but we couldn't rely on him forever so we thought today we be a good time to try and get some out after the festival. We kept walking until we saw a little side street that had lots of lovely little shops down. On our way down, the same guy that had given us the flower each suddenly popped out behind us and demanded to know where we were going? He was annoyed weren't heading straight to the lake. I found it creepy he'd obviously been behind us watching where we went so I said to Matt I wasn't happy to go with him. After our wonder, another person gave us a flower each and said he didn't want money, it was just for respect and if we carried on going we would get to the festival, he then drove off! 'Ah that was nice' we thought. Then on arriving at the lake we were immediately approached by 3 priests dressed all in white. They split me and Matt up and very forcefully ushered us both to the bottom of a Ghat to the Holy lake. Suddenly, I had Deja Vu of being back in Haridwar with the Aarti festival and a priest being quite aggressive that we had to pay a lot of money for a prayer. I hoped this wasn't yet another scam. I told the priest up front that I didn't have any cash on me if that's what he was after and he assured me he wasn't. Well, after doing the exact same prayer that the priest performed in Haridwar, of course he then demanded I give him money. I told him again I did not have any cash on me and he got very angry and started shouting. Two other men came over and started asking me for dollars or euro! I assured them I didn't have any cash on me and they too started to shout, waving their arms in the air. At this point, I lost my cool, and I started shouting back at them! I was just sick of being lured into a false sense of security with people and then hit with the demand that I have to hand money over! India is definitely toughening me up! I stormed off and interrupted Matts prayer in doing so. I was really quite upset at this point so we left sharpish! The main thing is, they wouldn't be as forceful or intimidating with Matt, they are always going on about how he is a 'big strong man', so it annoys me that they separate us.
After all that commotion, we thought it best to try and tackle this money problem head on. We took the hit and joined the back of an insanely long queue for an ATM in the midday sun. After 30 minutes of queuing and moving possibly half a meter, the bank officer announced the ATM was closed as there was no money left. Everyone groaned but pretty much just accepted it and we heard locals around us saying, "maybe tomorrow". Now, I was just about ready to fly off the handle in sheer outrage at the poor organisation of the situation but everyone around me seemed very calm. The general feeling here from the locals is that the Prime Minister is making a short term difficult decision ultimately for a long term gain for India which mostly everyone is happy about. I can be pretty confident that if this same situation had be thrown upon us in the UK, overnight, without any warning, and so that people were not able to access their money, or there was a cap on how much money you could spend a day... it would be absolute carnage! People just wouldn't stand for it, but here... 'this is India!!!'
As the ATMs in the whole of Pushkar were now out of use, it dawned on us the severity of the problem. We needed to prioritise getting some money out. Luckily I had brought US dollars and British Pounds with us so I thought maybe we could exchange Dollars/Pounds for Rupee. This was possible but at an absolute premium price. To exchange £60, which would usually get us 5000 Rupees, they charged us £8 for doing so. In the UK I would never have paid this, but we had no other choice. The other problem was, they could only give us the old 500-1000 notes. This would mean we would then have to stand in a different stupidly long queue at the bank to change these old notes for the new notes.
On arriving at the bank, to the complete disgust of the locals (and I don't blame them) we were pulled straight to the front of the queue and straight into the bank. I suppose they see it that if tourists can't access money, we will eventually have to leave the country and tourism brings in a lot of money to India so it's important to them. Inside the bank, there was yet another queue (or more of a free for all). I started off being very polite and waiting my turn but after being physically pushed and pulled, and people diving in front of me completely shamelessly... it was every man and woman for themselves! After literally elbowing my way to the front, I exchanged our money. The maximum we could exchange per day was 4000 rupees (approx £48). It isn't a lot, but it should last us a few days. One good thing about booking through the tourist company now is that all our accommodation and travel is paid for, we don't need to have cash for any of that. Most travellers would need to go to a bank everyday just to have enough to live on.
We paid off our debt to the Funky Monkey restaurant for our meal the night before and headed off on our 4 hour journey to our next stop, Jodhpur. Khan played our music through his stereo via a cable he had. He was bopping along to songs from Avici to Little Mix, and then requested we send him the song list as he really liked our music... bless him! One thing we've noticed through our hours of driving around India is that you drive for miles and there is nothing, then you arrive to a town which is one to two buildings deep from the straight road through, just like towns from a Country and Western film. These towns (if you can call them that) are very small but extremely busy considering their size.
We finally arrived in Jodhpur, our hotel, 'Byvham Heritage Guesthouse' was a lovely surprise. We were given the best room they had to offer, which was beautifully decorated and clean. It was owned and run by a family who were very welcoming and warm towards us. The best thing about it was the rooftop view of Jodhpur city. I was pretty chuffed to be staying here. We got food from the rooftop restaurant which was nice; a Cashew nut curry with rice to share, but unfortunately the portion sizes here weren't what we were used to so Matt ordered a pizza afterwards.
After the hectic and busy day we'd had, it was yet again an early night for us!