Busy, busy, busy
Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
20Trip End Feb 24, 2013
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Where I stayed
Silverine Hotel, Shimla
So, amazing time in Udaipur, love it, will go back. Last day with Diana had the most wonderful lunch at a restaurant called Ambrai with spectacular views over the lake (see picture of Terry chilling in the sun).
3rd Jan – off to Bundi. Ruck with driver who turned up with one totally bald and flat tyre! Five hours on the road to Bundi, some of it on the new Expressway but the locals have not received training in motorway etiquette so we met camels, cows, goat Herds, groups of women carry sticks on their heads, lorries, trackers and much more coming towards us at various stages
Bundi – nice but a bit smelly. Highlight was staying in a great Haveli called Dev Niwas and enjoying superb chai from Krishna who made up a special mix to soothe my sore throat. Saw Palace and Fort, all rather run down which is sad.
4th Jan – off to Jaipur. Two nights at the Vimal Heritage, another old Haveli with lots and lots of "bling". Jaipur supposed to be the pink city, actually more orange. A really busy city, nice feel to it, spent quite a lot of our time trying to resolve future rail bookings which were wait listed. We abandoned plans to get to Delhi by train and booked a flight. Great food here, but HOT!.
6th Jan – back to Delhi. Some serious purchasing of warm clothes as north India is experiencing the coldest spell for 43 years.
7th Jan – met up with our Intrepid Group who we will spend next 2 weeks with travelling up to the northern hilly areas of India. Great walking tour around old Delhi including spice market and some of the back streets
8th Jan – early start (0630 aaahhhhh) for train to meet the famous toy train up to Shimla which was the summer home of the Viceroys of India before independence. We have seen romantic programmes about this train journey and the scenery was breath taking, however, we did not fully appreciate that it would take over 5 hours.
9th Jan – day in Shimla. Started with a VERY steep climb up to the monkey temple overlooking Shimla. One of our group had his glasses grabbed by a monkey and we then had to spent 20 rupees to buy some treats as a trade off to get the glasses back. The monkeys have worked out this system very well!
Important lessons : Do not get stressed in India, there is no point! Just accept everything as an adventure.
What is in the news : The papers are still full of reaction to the fatal gang rape of the medical student in Delhi which has rocked this country about their attitude to women and the frequency of assaults and rapes
Great conversation : Spent two hours talking to a lady on the train and got a real insight in to the dilemmas for the young middle classes in India. Sayantani is in her mid twenties and lived in Birmingham for 3 ½ years while she studied for her Masters and worked. She returned because her parents are getting older and as the eldest child her sense of duty to look after her parents is still fairly strong. She is breaking the mould in many ways : she lives with her boyfriend in Delhi and is confident they will marry, this will be a “love marriage” unlike most of her friends who still have arranged marriages. Her boyfriend’s parents do not consider her ideal because, although they are proud that she has a Masters and studied in England, she is working which they do not approve of and they say her skin is too dark.