" 10 Green Bottles" "Happy New year"

Trip Start Dec 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 03, 2013

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Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jan 3 day 26
Udaipur to Ratlam
I am writing this on the truck taking the opportunity to update the blog as we drive along the rural back roads for the next 8hrs to a village where we are going to 'wild camp' and explore the caves over the next 2 days.

6 days ago
Dec 29 destination Jodhpur the 'blue city'

We stop at Setrawa village where there is the Sambhali Trust Project in Rajasthan. The project works to empower and educate disadvantaged women and girls. Volunteers teach and help organize workshops on topics e,.g. Health, nutrition, women's rights, handicrafts, sewing and basic math and English. We met a young German by the name of Casper and he has been here for the past 2 mths teaching Maths,English and loving every minute.
The children are the Untouchable caste. Being a Saturday there were no classes but a group of delightful kids and teachers were waiting for us. We were welcomed and the girls introduced themselves to us, most of them were between 12 or 13 yrs and were very very shy. They sang 10 Green Bottles in English and Tanya being a teacher led us into a rendition of the Hokey Pokey in return. I think they were quite baffled by our actions but we did get a clap. We then had a turban making competition, lucky hygiene day was Friday and all the kids had been de-loused. After some games of tug a war, a henna painting session we had lunch, made a donation and were on our way again.
We get into Jodhpur at a reasonable hr - 5pm and stay at a local guest house the Durag Niwas which was in a quiet street with the most beautiful bougainvillea.

Sun 30 Dec. day 22. Jodhpur 'the blue city' Western Rajasthan
Tanya turns 28

We spend the day exploring the magnificent 15th C Meherangarh Fortress, the wild local Bazaars and the winding medieval streets.
The Fort is now a museum still run by the royal family and is full of history and legends exhibiting a  'princely life and culture of Rajasthan'
The architecture is superb with beautiful networks of stone latticed courtyards and halls and so delicately carved. The galleries displayed Howdahs, miniature paintings and the most amazing was the Cradle Gallery which exhibited the elaborate cradles of infant princes.
We eventually walk home exhausted through the crowded Sadar Market, a headspinning assault on the senses e.g. - smells of incense, spices, urine and dung, both human, cow and goat, garbage, flowers, sweets. Chai, fumes, frying food and displays of everyday clothing and utensils.

Mon 31st Dec day 23 NEW YEARS EVE 'Pushkar'

We drive to Pushkar, a peaceful Hindu pilgrim town of only about 15,000 people. The town curls around a holy lake. We have the afternoon free to explore the temples and bathing ghats. The Main Street is one long bazaar with a constant soundtrack of gongs and drums in the background. The usual suspects of camel,pig,dog and human dung were very evident here and one did have to watch your step. Pushkar being an alcohol free area, the Dragoman partygoers stocked up before we arrived here but in some cafes if you spoke Spanish you could get a can of beer totally blacked out in alfoil...... True blue!

Tues 1st Jan 2013 "HAPPY NEW YEAR"
Destination Udaipur Rajasthan

It's very quiet on the truck this morning, most people are curled up asleep from the celebrations last night or the effects of the dreaded Delhi Belly! Yes, it finally caught up with me - bloody McDonalds of all places. Craving western food now I had a McChicken, my only non-vegetarian meal since leaving Oz.
Lunch - Coke and Crisps
We arrive late and our hotel The Inder Prakesh is right on the lake. Our room is grand with a 4 poster bed, mosaic lights and stained glass windows. This would have to be the best ever and for once the shower is not over the toilet but has its own dedicated marble recess.

Wed 2nd Jan. day 25
Off Exploring
Udaipur is known as The Romantic City and the City of White
The city does have a romantic setting beside the lake but the tag of the most romantic spot on the continent of India doesn't quite sit as it might've once done in 1800 when the streets were made for people and donkeys.
The classic James Bond movie 'Octopussy' was made on the famous Lake Palace hotel island to where we took a boat ride.
Lake Pichola is also home to the crocodiles, also the reason why no-one swims.
Rajasthani's largest Palace towers over the lake of which part of the palace is open as a museum extravagantly decorated with mirrors, tiles, mosaics and paintings depicting fierce battle scenes and hunts.
Sarah and I buy the most delicious looking tomatoes for tomorrow's lunch on the road
We have dinner on the rooftop of the 'Natural View' restaurant and borrow some salt and pepper (not the shakers) and serviettes for our tomatoes.
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Bec on

Octopussy was on the tv the other night and I was thinking of you guys when I was watching it.

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