Wednesday, 6 July 2011

As You Wish

The Agara-Jaipur tour came to its conclusion today - no wakeup call but I had set my 330am alarm - too dark to properly get up and the snooze button was used, I was sure i was conscious, but blinked a few times and checked my clock to find that it was 430am which was time to leave - i was throwing everything in my bags when the bus driver came past all the stragglers doors to hurry us up - unfortunately i think i must have left my phone charger back in Jaipur because I don't seem to have it now. Excruciating few hours sleep on the bus - luckily being a single man meant that i have managed to score two seats next to one another, offset by the fact that the couple in front of me pushed their seats right back so they could sleep - nothing compared to the tiny buses of Vietnam many years ago but i did manage to drift off a bit.
A series of guides today, one hopped on the bus for each different site and a couple of new temples - i've noticed that quite a few of the sites we've gone to have been Hindi and Muslim temples where there is not a white person to be seen - the benefit of having the tour booked by Vamshi in Hyderabad is that i'm getting the Indian tour and a lot of the temples are active which means i get to see something that I'm sure the standard tourist doesn't get to see. The security at many of the temples in the Muslim areas is very serious - no phones, no cameras, no lighters or matches, of course you can take in your wallet (how else would they try to fleece you?) and i can't count how many times i've been felt up by a burly soldier, also, even though we've got to remove our shoes (occasionally for a fee, but sometimes not) there are soldiers in heavy boots plodding around, often armed with rifles or machine guns (which is a bit disturbing).
We saw the main attractions of Agra Fort and Taj Mahal, Indian entry 40 rupees, my tickets were 1000 - these ones DID have a fair whack of foreigners - both of these sites very beautiful, Taj Mahal especially, but it did feel like i was right back on tourist trail with those two (which, obviously, i am).
Have gotten to know my fellow travellers substantially better - a few of them are expats and are very fluent in English - whilst all of the other groups were couples or families, I've barely said a handful of words to any of the women - i don't know if they're shy or you just don't speak to single men over here - I'll be definitely glad to be finished with the bus now that the tour is over but i will miss the semi-familiar company.

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