OK, I want to start by writing a few guidelines to driving in India:
(1) Always drive on the LEFT (this does not apply to cars, vans, mopeds, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, pedestrians, cyclists, cows, camels, any other motorised vehicle, andy other non-motorised vehicle, any other road user).
(2) Yor horn is the most important piece of equiptment you own- you MUST use it at every oppertunity.
(3) If a gap looks big enough for a moped, it IS big enough for a car. If a gap looks big enough for a car it i big enough for two.
(4) Always drive down the middle of the road- that way you dont have to decide on a lane until overtaking.
(5) Driving on the wrong side of a duel carrageway is only acceptable if absolutaly necessary or you really want to.
(5) Right of way is given to whoever gets in the gap first, pulling out in front of fast moving traffic provides a valuable test of their breaks (and more importantly their horn)
(6) Red traffic lights mean stop (this does not apply to cars, vans, mopeds, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, pedestrians, cyclists, cows, camels, any other motorised vehicle, andy other non-motorised vehicle, any other road user).
(7) Wing mirors are an unnecessary piece of equiptment (whoever is behind you has a horn remember), so if you see a vehicle with wing mirrors, drive close enough to remove them.
Anyway, We are now in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Any I think a much nicer city than Delhi (although still very crouded and noisy) . We travelled down from delhi with our driver Bhinda who is with us for about a week, and last night visited the main hindu temple in the city (an impressive white marble construct built in 1985) and had a nice dinner. I would like to add at this point that although I am already getting sick of curry three times a day, I have not yet been tempted to the dark side of pizza hut, mcdonalds, subway, dominoes etc... that are readily avaliable- although Fran did have a cheese pizza in the resturant the other day - which tasted like jam!!
This morning we were out the hotel at 8am (still 3.30am on my body clock) to begin a fully packed day of sight seeing. We went first to the Amber Fort, a fortified palace in Amber about 10km from the city, other than the building itself (which was huge) there were stunning views and lots of monkeys. We were supposed to ride an elephant to the top but the queue was two hours long- so we didnt bother; we did however ride one down the hill half the way back to Jaipur, thanks to Bhinda stopping a passing elephant (with a driver) and sorting us out. The elephant was a huge 35 yr old male called Ramu and was taller than the busses speeding down the road (see driving guide above) - if there was a colision i would have favoured the elephant to come off best.
After elephant riding we proceded to two more forts first the Jaigarth Fort, an older hillside fort, which is the proud owner of the largest wheeled cannon in the world (only fired once), it has a range of 22 miles! Other than a temple and small amoury museum there was not a lot there except more stunning views of the city. After that we briefly stooped off at Nahargarth (Tiger) Fort, a smaller fort previously containg 9 indentitical apartments. Not the most exciting place- a few interesting frescos (pictures of elephants and tigers etc) and the best view of the day - see photos.
We had lunch at a resturant (nice vegetable curry), then Bhinda took us to see a fabric printing factory, (probably because he got a commision on anything we bought) a little different to sight seeing and quite interesting none the less. Following that we were dropped off in the old town for an hour to peruze the small shops and market stalls. Then we returned to the hotel, had dinner and came here to write this...
Thats about it for now - Tomorrow were moving to a small town not far from here where we can go on a jeep safari and hopefully spot some tigers. It will be nice to get out of the cities even if it is only for a couple of days.
Ta ta for now
PS If somone can update me on whether we beat france tonight that would be nice - i can receive txts.