The preparation/Arrival in india:
how to have so much trouble all at once?
-my car was first refused on the controle techique for rust on brakes.. hummm funny.(it had rained a lot and the control buildings were on top of a hill, i don't remember ever braking hard with the car even once to get there from home)
-my suitcase got lost once arrived in New Delhi. i received it 24 h after arrival, the stickers showed it was sent from brussels the day after i departed!, shame on them i checked in 2h30 before take off, i remember telling the hostess that there was a bag stuck in the rolling carpet behind her desk. is that related to my bag problem?
-Sarah's plane had a flat tyre in China, resulting in her flight's cancellation. it was delayed god knows how many times. She therefore decided to buy another ticket and cancel the previous.
-Later during the visit, at Jodaipur, i send my clothes for cleaning but they did not pick up everything! since the next days we were going to be changing hotel, there was no way to get it cleaned again so i had to clean it the old fashioned way. great.
D1 Delhi (no Sarah yet)
i had my first lonely day in New Delhi, or should i say crazy day.
Rickshaws are really harassing me, but not only them, everyone hanging out in the street talks to me once i stop and open a map!
it is disturbing and annoying and all i want is run away from them. because at the end i am distracted and i go in the wrong direction.
-roundabouts are dangerous, not only for pedestrians but also for cars. i ll shoot a video. ps... run if you are a pedestrian, or really have 360 degrees vision, i am thinking about grafting an eye in my back.
i saw the National Railways museum of New Delhi.
:) much bigger than the one in Beijing!
took lots pics
i had to walk 14 km to get there and see all the things on the side, Ambassies, gardens... and i must have walked too much as my foot got swallen.. not a good start.
1h37 taxi picks me up at hotel
2h15 i arrive at the ARRIVALS screen of new delhi airport. delay of the plane : 3h30.. glups! 1 h later delay on screen = 3h45, after 1h30 waiting, delay is 3h33! precisely... after 2 h 10 ish Sarah SMSed me she had landed in New Delhi :)
5h ish back at hotel and discussions and deserved dodo til 9h10... (less than 3 h sleep)
turns out the original flight had not yet taken off! lack of crew she had booked her flight on lastminute.com and once in new delhi she skyped to the company and made her cancellation insurance work. 6-8 weeks wait before refund! glups she found another return flight too. wooow that is adventure
we followed the day by gathering courage to visit south side of New Delhi :)
- my feet hurt!
Driver pick up at Delhi's hotel and visit of Agra, the tomb of Akbar ?, the Taj Mahal, baby Taj, some random manufacture of marble with semi precious stone incrustations. we bought some gifts :) the funny thing is the guide received an enveloppe - money ! for getting us there. usual practice in india, however we still feel exploited.
Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall, Birla Mandir (?)
by the end of the day, the driver told us, "i know good place, sells good things" ok, let s have a look inside, no real choice, he drove us there keeping it kind of mysterious. It turned out to be a Jewelry, after watching some things, we found a nice violet amethyste that sarah liked, so i said ok, mount it for a necklace. the price was ok, 4500 inr. they said it was fine to have it mounted and delivered by the evening. a bit later and after lots discussions, we agreed on the silver holder. I was paying when one of the assistant came back with the thing and said that it was impossible to have it done before the next day in the afternoon. Glad i had not paid yet. They still tried to sell us others mounted stones but we did not like it as much. So we left and our driver did not have a commission. On the internet, we saw similar stones for much cheaper...
In the evening, we were KO and slept right after coming back to the hotel at 7 pm untill dinner.
Day 6 : Pushkar
Sarah is sick, (bugs, food poisoning?). i am just recovering.
hope sarah will not vomit anymore in islamic sites ... ( in Ajmer)
carbobel has limited curative effects. we only eat fruits, vegetables, bread, rice.
there are so many impressive stuff to see that we force ourselves to stand up.
it is hot and not a cloud in the sky. not too many mosquitos so far...
Our driver is strange. he want s to tell us what to do and tries to skip some of the visits on the list.
So many people try to call us " Hello, Hello..." is is so annoying.
a lot want to take pictures with us " several times i answeared " do we know you?" and turned away. they even tried when sarah was about to vomit, looking pale ( of course and holding her belly. i had to control myself not to tell them to go to hell and said " it is not a good moment!" i have lost the count of how many times i ignored peoples now.
Clock Tower & Sadar Market,
Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada & Umaid Bhawan,
visit of a superb temple ! 1440 pilars all with sculptures. i must have not turned off my camera more than 30 sec total while there.
Outside I was asked where I was from by a guard, I said Belgium, the guy asked, so you use euros, hummmmm that was a trick to try to exchange the euros into roupees…do I look like a bank?
later we arrived in Udaipur (city palace, boat trip on the lake, crystal gallery (amazing crystal pieces from a bed to a chair to lots of glasses)
it was annoying the amounts of guards whisteling at us, go here, not there, and the best of all: whenever we asked more detailed questions like which way is it to go to that temple, the answer of the guards was repeatedly 'YES'. Us: ‘Where is...?’ – the guard: ’Yes’. not helping.
we just arrived at our initial hotel again after an overnight sleeper train trip from Udaipur to Delhi.
“Delhi 2 - Le retour”
crafts muzeum: original museum with lots artefacts. We crossed the path of a girl 's school expedition and it was striking that therse little indian girls had never seen a white women with long hair like Sarah has. She had a lot of success and they all wanted to shake her hands. I like to think that the reason for her success is she wore the same purple/pink colors as the school dress of the girls.
PS: i was totally ignored :( perhaps because i was not dressed in purple.... ;)
in the evening, sleeper train trip to Amritsar,
We first stepped into the golden temple express which was not our train! because of train delays that train was announced to depart at the exact same time as our ticket said, which was very confusing. Our train left 1h later. The train is shaky and not always stable to sleep into but it was fine, if you forget about the strange guy on the other side of the compartment that did not stop looking at Sarah and left in the middle of the night without turning off the lights…
in the morning, as i was on the top couchette, i leaned down and saw sarah fixing her hair quietly on the bed under mine. Somehow the only sound that came out of my mouth was some kind of grave sound that scared her so much that she instantly kicked me in the face... If i was a dog, i would have walked the tail between the legs for a while that day...
I got very sick and stayed at the hotel for 1h30 after exploring from the top of the bathroom WC what I had not eaten for breakfast together with the bottow of my stomack. Meanwhile, Sarah decided to go ahead and get lunch in a resto not too far where she met an Australian guy who apparently was very nice until he made funny unexplained comments about USA’s journalists freedom of speech which made it all awkward to her. She later met me back at the hotel ready to go for visit after a nap.
We went to the commemorative garden where the british made a massacre in 1919 and booked the trip to the Pakistan/Indian border for the ceremony of the closure of the border. See Awesome video from Sarah’s cam.
The (Sikh) golden temple
In order to enter the place, you have to purify yourself, therefore, you must wash your hands and your feet, which I was not too happy about, and the saw it so I had to pass through the waterfeetbath. Also I was not allowed to wear my hat, the guard found a foulard for me … pink!
We entered and sat to look at the yellow temple in the middle of the artificial lake when a guard came and told Sarah she had to cross her legs while seated. Later I was told that I had to sit the Indian way ( yoga style?) try to understand… they certainly had a lot of fun with us. No need to say that it is easy to be sick of being told what to do all the time.
After 1 h of pushing in the line to get to the golden temple in the crowd that pushes and passes you as soon as you let them a little mouse space. We finally entered the temple and it was really beautiful, (no pictures allowed ) we tried to stay as long as possible to admire it. We also went on the roof to discover the white marble was incrusted with semi precious stones like on the Taj Mahal. On some specific places touched by a lot of peoples, one can see the gold has disappeared to show the underlying copper support.
That night we took another sleeper train back to Delhi.
We though we would not make it! The train car we had on our ticked did not exist! We walked along the entire train and did not find it. Finally, Sarah found our names on a listing stuck on the AB1 car (and not HA1) it took us 15 min to find it. Once in, we got to our compartment and installed ourselves on our bottom allocated beds. Later that night some people came on the top side. Until +/- 2h30 when a couple of old people which did not speak any english woke me up because the handicaped old lady did not want (even did not try) to go to the upper bed and just sat on the bed of Sarah while she was sleeping. I decided to move above Sarah’s bed so that things get back to normal. I prepared the bed for the second time that night. I somehow managed to sleep again until the controller passed and shoke me to check for the ticket as I was at the spot of people that supposedly had just stepped into the train.
In the morning, Sarah woke up and had no idea of what had happened. So she went to the bed where i was the last time she saw me and woke up the person in that bed... she stepped back! "hhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaa MAX what happened to you??? " well it was not me but an old indian lady... fortunately she realised it was not me before giving a kiss... ;) pouah! The old lady pointed in my direction and Sarah sat and recovered from her emotions.
The Delhi Ghandi intl. airport story:
- the taxi we had booked was late, to the point we though we would have to run to get another taxi to the ‘New Delhi’ train station close to the hotel. But eventually (35min late), they told us to follow a guy. (I had heard the other Chinese people tell to the shop people that he was going to destroy their reputation, I am still wondering, what reputation?) At this point we were 8! after a 10 min crazy walk with luggage in the crowded area, we arrive to 1 small car-truck were only 4 of us would fit into. no need to say the others were not happy. we made it to the airport in time. If I had known I would have paid the extra 210 rupees to get the taxi from the hotel we were at. Not so much a good idea to book a taxi in a shop selling plastic women jewelry in a funny narrow street…
-getting into the airport:
ONLY in INDIA will you have such hassle. Sarah did not have a printout of her schedule cause she had to rebook her return trip independently from the hotel after the first flight fiasko. so the army guard would not let her inside the airport. We had to run to desk A on the side of the airport to be told to get back to Gate 5 where an agent had a list of all passengers. total loss of time = +/- 10-15 min.
Then was my turn to have fun. it was 8 pm. my flight was not untill 3 am. 7 h later. The guard said i had to wait outside. how fun. we had to strongly insist we were together. Fortunately a girl inside said something and they let me in with sarah. what would i have done outside for so long?
I should also mention the amounts of passport/ticket checks between the plane Gate's entrance (waiting area) and the moment you can actually be in the plane: 5 ! you would think 1 is enough...if it was well done.
the solar clock
all trip part 2
At the end of this nice trip in india, i feel like a Tomb rider. we saw so many!