India Golden Triangle, Rajasthan 2007

1. India 2007: on the edge… (12-11-2007)

In November 2007 we were able to have our first break from work since we started working for Stanley Safari Lodge. Of course we could have stayed in Africa but believe me, after several months in Zambia and working with Zambians you are craving to get out of there. But where to? We puzzled and puzzled. Of course it was very important to us that it would be something pleasant for Kiora as well. But also something so she could get used to travelling as well% We skipped Madagascar and Marocco: too expensive. Syria and Jordan: when Kiora would be a bit older. Malaysia and Indonesia: rainy season. So we choose India. Because Marieke once travelled on a motor bike through southern India we focussed on North India. It was going to be Rajasthan. Quite popular with tourists hence facilities were there in case anything would happen to our little girl.

This time we booked transport and accommodation via Outsight Travel in The Netherlands, a luxury position but a very welcome luxury given the fact that we would be travelling with a 2 year old. We were looking forward to a lively and colourful destination. Many told us not to go to India with Kiora, but we thought it would be alright. And we would go and see tigers%

We worked until the very last day. That last evening we were very tired and wanted to see a movie from our laptop in bed. I tried to put the plug of the laptop in the socket under the bed, but I couldn’t see what I was doing because of the narrow space. Suddenly I felt something wet on my hand and in a reflex pulled up my hand. A snake I thought (but I still don’t know why). The area is quite popular with the Mozambiquen Spitting Cobra, who can spit its venom over 4 meters% Marieke had to laugh about me and I was starting to think I was acting like a fool.  

Nevertheless I asked her to look under the bed and … a cobra was blinking in the light% We got a fright and warned the staff by radio although I was still on the bed, butt naked with a cobra under the bed. A bit of a comical situation. The staff found the cobra quickly (yes yes, I managed to put some clothes on) and they killed the animal. We rather see snakes alive but not under our bed% The animal was beautiful and about a meter long. And lucky for me the snake decided to spit and not to bite.

After we cleaned up the blood we still watched our movie. Did we nearly miss a beautiful journey to India. With a cobra bite I am sure we wouldn’t have travelled. This experience did confirm our motto: seize the day% So we would enjoy India even more. Because this was really on the edge…

…and India is also famous for its cobras…

2. Pandemonium India (13-11/15-11-2007)

India. It’s said you either hate it or love it. But one thing is certain: every traveller says upon his or her return “never again” which will turn to “a very impressive journey” much later. And that counts for backpackers who return with a red dot on their forehead dressed in orange dresses as for rich Americans who went for a silence treatment course in the Himalaya and who were only allowed to talk when settling their enormous bills with their holy teachers.

The worst of the worst would be northern India, a part of India where neither of us had been. We were warned: dirty, bad for Kiora, poverty, beggars, harassment etc etc. And right they were. But were we told about the friendly Indians, the colourful Rajasthani, the (positive) impact on your senses, the good food? Because that is also true. We would start in Delhi so a very good start indeed. Delhi: the capital of a country with 1.2 billion inhabitants and with projections of 2 billion by 2050 which would make it the largest nation on earth (by far).

After a flight via Lusaka and Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) we arrived in Dehli. But…no driver (as was arranged). A good start for Outsight Travel. Four times we walked past dozens of Indians with name boards who looked at us with hope in their eyes. But no, nobody. So we first exchanged some dollars into Rupees and started looking for a taxi. In the meantime however Marieke found our driver. He got stuck in traffic. Haven’t we all heard that before? Ramvir (that was his name) took us to his state-of-the-art car: a mix between a Mini Cooper and a Renault 5. We just managed to get inside with all our luggage but had to laugh about it all. Certainly this would not be our mode of transport for the next 3 weeks? “Yes yes, same car same driver, 3 weeks”. We didn’t laugh very long…

About the traffic in Delhi you must have read before. With reason. There are no traffic rules in Delhi. We are quite used to chaotic traffic but Delhi did surprise us. The lines on the streets were fully ignored (on newly laid roads we didn’t see any lines anymore) so a 2 lane road was easily transferred into a 6 or 7 lane road. Between all the cars we found holy cows, beggars, bicycle risksja’s, motor riksja’s, scooters, motorbikes and street carts. I don’t know how they do it but all seemed to work, we haven’t seen many accidents. Which is very surprising because Indians are no gentlemen when it comes to driving their cars. Gee, are these guys rude. No consideration or whatsoever, its all about themselves. And that’s not only in traffic so we would learn the hard way.

Anyway, Ramvir might be driving in a very small car, he did manage to drive us through the chaos. Maybe a good choice from  Outsight Travel? We decided to test Ramvir a bit more. Ramvir, what about this fog in Delhi? Is it mist or pollution or smoke?
“No no no, no smoking I.”
Uhh, you are saying? 
“No smoking I”.
No no, we are talkin about this mist?
I mean it as a question?
Is it pollution?
Which continued for another 5 minutes. Ramvir didn’t say more than OK. We gave up. Not so good from Outsight Travel after all. We would be travelling around India with a driver who couldn’t say much more than OK.

So what do you do in a mega-city as Delhi? Explore. Which we did. We’d start with getting a feel of the city. We were located in the busy quarter Karol Bagh and we walked down  a couple of streets. Of course a lot of people were staring at us but we were used to that from other countries. But Kiora was the highlight of the day. Hello baby, they called from everywhere. Women were clearly moved by this little white baby and men were just staring. Kiora didn’t mind. She had a hard time digesting all she saw and heard. All those men and women, all those cars hooting, it was almost to much for her senses. She would definitely sleep well, so we thought. Were we wrong. Because of the time difference she kept us awake until midnight.

Next day we went for some good old sight seeing. First Delhi’s Red Fort. Through the “fog” (which is really air pollution, unbelievable, vision is not more than 500 meters) we couldn’t even see the whole Fort. It was nice but not more than that. The huge Jama Mosjid Mosque was impressive but we were more occupied with keeping Indians away from Kiora than sight seeing. Complete families were lining up to pick up Kiora and make pictures of her, whether we agreed or not. Before we travelled we agreed that we would allow taking pictures but no lifting. Well, most Indians did not seem to agree with us and more than once they seemed to
be annoyed. But in general most Indians were very friendly. Kiora however developed her own tactics after some time: she just refused point blank to pose for yet another picture. She just turned around and sometimes said “enough”. Very funny to see how such a small girl was able to make clear how far people could go with her (mama, the big people pinch in my cheeks).

In the afternoon we finally saw something what was really worth the trip: Qutb Minar, ruins with the Indian version of the Tower of Pisa as highlight. Very beautiful. Humayun’s Tomb the next morning we were less impressed by but the parliamentary buildings on the other hand were.

We left Delhi for our next destination: Agra. One of the 7 cultural world wonders was waiting for us: the Taj Mahal.

3. The golden triangle of India (16-11/19-11-2007)

The triangle between Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is also refered to as the Golden Triangle of India. In Agra there is indeed a golden reason for it: the Taj Mahal. Which was our next goal.

We did not leave Delhi in a hurry, we even visited some temples on our way and took our time for lunch. There was no reason to rush; wouldn t we have the whole of the next day to visit the Taj? But at 15:00hrs Ramvir had one of his next surprises for us. Taj closed Friday . Excuse me? Taj closed Friday . But, isn t it Thursday today? Yes yes, Taj closed Ramvir confirmed and looked very satisfied. We could have killed him. We could have been in Agra long time before if we only would have known. But how could we make clear to this man that we didn t fly half of the world for nothing? That we didn t come to India just to find out that the Taj was closed on Friday? Of course Ramvir didn t understand a thing of the commotion he caused with his casual remark, although he managed to drive a little bit faster that before.

Just an hour before sunset we arrived in Agra and we decided to head straight for the Taj. Ramvir dropped us in town and we took a bicycle riskja because we would still have to walk some kilometres . Only 300 meters further the riksja ride was over and done with and extremely satisfied the driver received a month salary from us hasty Dutch people. But we did everything to see the Taj, even if it would only be for an hour but how disillusioned we were when we saw the half-a-kilometre long line in front of the entrance to the Taj. This would take more than an hour% We had more than enough and decided to leave the Taj for what it was. At least for that day.

The next day we had made new plans. Our Lonely Planet mentioned Megab Bag, a kind of public garden on the other side of the Yamuna river with an excellent view of the Taj% Ramvir had never heard of it and was clearly reluctant to take us but we were determined. Apparently the man had never had people in his car who made their own plans. Didn t we want to go to a carpet factory? NO. So we drove through busy Agra and crossed the Yamuna river by bridge with thousands of other Indians. Indeed we would have had a nice view on the Taj if it wasn t for the pollution% We more or less saw the outline of the Taj. Ramvir was perplexed, he had never been at this place.

In the afternoon we visited the Red Fort of Agra and this fort was really worth the visit. It was much more impressive than the one in Delhi AND it has an excellent view of the Taj. When it started to get dark we asked Ramvir to drop us in the old part of Agra. Ramvir became very nervous. Not only had he never been there, but who on earth would like to go to old Agra when it was dark? Wouldn t we want to go to one of the fancy governmental restaurants? NO, Ramvir. So we did what we wanted and enjoyed a simple meal on the roof of a dilapidated hotel with the Taj in the distance. This was the kind of India we had come for.

Quite a shame that the same night the whole of Agra seemed to celebrate Happy Dewali in front of our room. Fireworks until two o clock at night sigh and sigh again. Next day our alarm went off at 5:30 because we wouldn t leave Agra without seeing the real Taj. That time of day the line at the Taj entrance was very very decent and so we finally saw what we came for in Agra: the Taj Mahal. And was it worth the (long) wait? Yes, very much. Very impressive. Very fairy tale-ish. Very romantic. Built by an empire out of love for his diseased wife (mind you, it was his second wife and she died while giving birth to their 14th child ). The Taj is completely symmetrical form all sides and any architect in the world will love it. The visitors fought for the best places to make pictures which delivered some hilarious moments. People pushing each other around, people having an argument because they blocked their camera etc etc. Aren t we a peaceful breed standing in the shadow of THE monument for love

After the Taj we rushed back to the hotel, packed our bags, took a quick breakfast and off we went to Ranthambore. We were going to see tigers% One of my biggest unfulfilled wishes, to see tigers in the wild. Ranthambore would be one of the best places in India (and in the world for that matter) to see these wonderful cats. On our way we visited the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. It was indeed deserted and although quite beautiful, not really our thing. But anyway, our entry ticket to the Taj of that same morning said we could enter Fatehpur Sikri for free the same day. Indeed, so the guy behind the entrance counter said, but you will still have to pay the tax. Which turned out to be 25x higer than the entry fee. Smart guys, these Indians.

4. The tigers of Ranthambore (20-11/23-11-2007)

A big part of the road to Ranthambore was renewed so we could move fast. Ramvir our driver however had some difficulties. All of a sudden he didn‘t have to break every 5 minutes or blow his horn every second. The man was seriously de-toxing. Without any reason he would break or blow his horn without a living soul in sight. Poor soul...

Ranthambore National Park is one of the best places on earth to see tigers in the wild. Which was the reason for us to come here. We were not the only ones, because we found many tourists in Ranthambore of which the majority were noisy Indians. We were not very keen to join 10 screaming Indians with cell phones in their hands while watching tigers, so we asked for a private jeep. That was not possible, because all these smaller vehicles were fully booked 6 months up front. So nice of Outsight Travel, our agent, to inform us% There was however another possibility. Things seemed to be a bit different in the Indian bush than in the African bush, because the alternative was...a gamedrive on a 4x4 canter truck% A truck of which the top was cut off and gave place to 26 seats. So there we went, for our first gamedrive, on a truck with 24 Indians...

The history of the tigers in India (and everywhere else in the world for that matter) is not the best. The animal has been hunted since the old times, first by maharadja‘s for fun and villagers out of fear, later by the British for trophy hunting. Now that this big cat is protected (of the 12 subspecies at least 5 are said to be extinct) still its existence is threatened. The Chinese think that most parts of a tiger body are aphrodisiac and as such the animal is on the loose. Any Chinese man of 80 and above will pay a small fortune for being able to perform at least once more, and as such a poor Indian can earn a yearly salary by just shooting one tiger. Even though, India is still the best place in the world to see the largest of cats because in South East Asia and Indonesia this is almost impossible. Of the Bengal Tiger (the one in India) it is said that still some thousands do survive in India‘s parks. And Ranthambore was the place to be. A boy‘s dream was about to come true.

The first gamedrive brought us to the entrance of the park where the guides chose one of the 6 zones to go in. And he chose well% After only 4 minutes we found another canter. All persons on it were pointing to the left. And indeed, a proud tiger popped his head out of the bushes, looked our way once but without much interest, crossed the road in front of the trucks and disappeared in the bushes on the right hand side. What a luck, only some minutes in the park and we already saw a formidable beautiful glorious tiger. What a beauty% We continued full anticipation and yes, 5 minutes further we found another tiger. This one was just for us, the cat walked towards us, passed the car and glanced up once, posed in the sun behind the car for a while before heading for te bush once more. Jesus, do they serve tigers every 5 minutes in this park? We continued for another 1,5 hours and saw sambar deer, white spotted deer, wild boar, peacocks, parakeets, black tailed mongoose and other smaller birds. We returned to the hotel full with images and stories of that morning in our head and enjoyed a good breakfast. Also Kiora liked the tigers very very much. Kind of a change after Africa‘s lions...

In the afternoon we went out again. Kiora could not wait. After her favourite ‘Tas Maral‘ the ‘Tigers‘ were now her favorite. This time we followed another route, much more beautiful than the morning one and we saw crocodiles, different species of deer, lots of birds tigers. Did we have that much luck on our first drive? We almost left the park when we saw about 10 cars parked at one spot. They‘d seen tigers% And yes, after a while a female tiger with a grown up cub appeared from the bush and did their thing. Amazing, not only for us but also for the 200 other spectators...

We did not expect too much of the next days results after such a great day. Other guests of the hotel said they didn‘t see one tiger in 4 days. But again, that same morning, we saw 2 grown up tiger cubs playing for a while in the high grass, only 5 minutes after entering the park. The rest of the drive was a bit annoying because of the guide; these guys don‘t know a thing about proper guiding. They can actually learn a lot from the African guides. Who would have thought...

In the afternoon no tigers but a long interesting drive through the highlands. The next day we cancelled, Kiora had enough of the game drives. And we did not want to push our luck too much...

Was Ranthambore everything we expected it to be? Yes and no. Yes, we did see tigers in the wild and we realise we were even very lucky. However, because of the mass approach the whole experience loses a lot on its romantic atmosphere, which is what we find so attractive about the African approach. In Africa you are often (true, not in Masai Mara or Kruger) the only one enjoying ‘your‘ lion or leopard without another car in sight. In Ranthambore it is a real rat-race to find THE tiger. Especially the Indian tourists are only interested in tigers and are not in the least interested in anything else. Than, if they see a tiger they are so excited even Vishnu can hear them in the Indian heavens (or wherever he may be). But: the canter does have it pro‘s. It‘s very high and especially when one stands up it‘s perfect for photography%

5. Rajasthan, from Jaipur to Udaipur via Jodhpur (24-11/30-11-2007)

After the Indian Tigers we continued to visit the part of India we actually came for: Rajasthan, the north western state of India which is famous for being very colourful (especially the women). Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, was our first goal.

The drive from Ranthambore to Jaipur took about 4 hours. Jaipur was very, very busy but impressed us much more than Delhi and Agra. A lot more authenticity, much more the real India. As was our hotel: Hotel Palace Bissau, built in Maharadja‘s era but so beuatiful and impressive. In the late afternoon we drove to Fort Mahargarn on the hill with a nice view of Jaipur at sunset. Jaipur is also called the Pink City but that was very hard to see from our viewpoint. Only the old and new city walls do resemble something pink, but the rest of the city buildings have all the colours of the rainbow.

Ramvir, our driver, offered a whole program for the next day consisting of Forts and Palaces and Temples. Of course one or two carpet factories as well, good for his commission. In other words, the usual tourist circle. Gee, how low can you go. No Ramvir, why don‘t you enjoy your day off, we will explore the old city on our own. What, alone? Ramvir couldn‘t believe his ears. It took some effort to persuade him but finally we could stroll along the streets on our own while hundreds of Indians would stare at his with mouth open. Lots of them would just make fun of us, especially since I was carrying Kiora around in a back-carrier. It seemed they never seen that before. Funny enough we did end up in a carpet store at the end of the day and were shown carpets, dresses, shirts etc for about 2 hours, while enjoying Indian tea. Kiora loved it - unpacking everything which made everybody else in the shop very sad since they had to put everything back again.

Well, if Jaipur was just the beginning of Rajasthan we couldn‘t wait to see the rest. In about 3 hours we drove to Pushkar, normally a small town in the middle of the desert, but now the location of the biggest camel market in the world. Camels? Yes, camels. Every year in November all tribes from the mountains come down to Pushkar to sell or buy camels. And to party of course. With them loads of tourists come, both international as national. The result was a colourful mix of Indian tradition and plain tourism...but it was real fun% The main street of Pushkar was now a huge bazaar with beautiful handicraft and outside of town we found hundreds of camels and horses, waiting to change from owner.

By the way, this is the camel with only one hump. Asia also knows the camel with two humps, but they don‘t occur in India. In Africa for instance only the one with one hump is known and if you tell about the camel with two humps they will make fun of you...or think you are crazy.

Anyway, we came for the camel fair which was the main reason for us to travel to Rajasthan in November. Especially to make pictures of the women dressed in beautifully coloured dresses, the sari‘s. The colours just pained the eyes and the old men with the most impossible moustache‘s were a pleasure for the photographic eye as well. I walked around with my camera on my belly and Kiora on my back. As such, I got as much attention as I gave to the local people.

The lake of Pushkar we could hardly see. All around it are buildings and ghat‘s (holy baths) and entrance is very restricted, especially if you walk around with a camera. But despite that we thought Pushkar was just great and we enjoyed it a lot. It was India as you picture it in your dreams.

Next destination was Udaipur, according to travel books the most romantic city of Rajasthan. Such a note in travel books usually means hordes of tourists will follow. In about 7 hours we drove to this city, situated in a valley surrounded by mountains. A lovely lake is the centre of it all. Well, lovely: maybe not. Indians are used to throw their garbage on the street or, in Udaipur‘s case, in the lake. So, next to green water plants, Mr India is washing his body, 5 meters further Mrs India is washing the laundry of her husband and 8 children with poisoinous washing liquid and of course all sewer pipes of the 50+ hotels end up in the same lake. No, don‘t go to India if you are keen on hygiene.

We arrived very tired but fortunately we had booked one of the better Haveli‘s right at the lake. So we thought. The manager said we were only expected the following day and as such, if we would be so kind to leave. Mistake of our local travel agent. There we were, with 2 heavy backpacks, crying baby, child‘s cot and no place to sleep. The manager was so rude that I lost my temper, but that doesn‘t really work in India. Fortunately Ramvir, our driver, hadn‘t left yet so he could call his boss to find out if they could find something else. To explain it to him did cost me 20 minutes. He took us for a drive for 2 hours in madhouse traffic hour. Eventually they did find us another to the other we had to drive back throught the same traffic jam...

But all was well after all. This haveli was quite basic, but the owner welcomed us as if we returned home and we had dinner on the roof with view on the lake...a bit romantic it was...

We stayed for 2 full days in Udaipur. Strolling through narrow streets, buying too many souvenirs, visiting the Jagdish temple (very nice) and the City Palace (much nicer than we thought it would be, with many secret hallways and all). Udaipur was fun but indeed quite touristy.

After Udaipur we travelled to Jodhpur, the blue city. Jodhpur would be really blue, whereas Jaipur (pink) and Udaipur (white) would only carry this as a title. On the way to Jodhpur we visited Ranakpur, a Jainist temple. What the heck is a jainist, one would think? Apparently it is an ancient believe and not too many followers are left. Jainists are one with nature and as such refuse to kill any living creature for consumption. In the old days Jainists would be walking around the streets with a broom to sweep away insects in order not to step on them. We were already joking to run around the temple, clapping our hands and yelling: another mosquito, and another one, and another one... Maybe better not. The followers were indeed quite fanatic because I had to remove my belt and leatherman-bag before entering the temple. But it was worth it. The temple had 42 pilars, all decorated in detail and all of them were different. One of the monks was running around chasing the pigeons. We hoped none of the birds would die of a heart attack because the poor monk would never forgive himself...

De road to Jodhpur led us through beautiful mountains followed by a semi-desert area. At dusk we arrived in town and our hotel - dirty and old. Another mistake of our Dutch travel agency? The owner though was very friendly and that was the most important thing.

Next day - another fort, the one of Jodhpur. It was very surprising: very informative and great views. It was clearly a blue city, at least the centre of it. We did an audio tour - never did that before and Kiora looked at us with surprise when she saw us walking around with head phones and not reacting to her calls. But she had fun running around the old fort anyway so no parents really needed there%

Jodhpur is bordering the Thar desert which goes all the way to Pakistan. That same afternoon we travelled on, deep into the desert.

6. The Thar Desert (1-12/7-12-2007)

Our first stop in the desert was Jaisalmer, only 150km from the Pakistani border. Pakistan and India did and still do have some conflicts (among others about Punjab) which was quite noticable from all the jets flying over quite low and all camouflaged military camps in the area. Anyway, we arrived in Jaisalmer after 6 hours driving, just in time to see the sunset. The sunsets changes Jaisalmer into The Golden City or that‘s at least what they want us to believe. Yes, Indians like to give their cities a colour. In Jaisalmer apparently all houses are made of sandstone which colours gold at sunset...yeah right...

Jaisalmer offers two major things: it‘s huge Fort and camel safaris in the desert. The latter was not an option with Kiora and besides, we did quite similar trekkings in Sinai and Timbouctou. So we opted for the Fort once more. This Fort however did have quite some inhabitants, it was like a city within a city. It was a lively though dirty affair. Nice vistas from the walls, loads of shops selling touristy stuff and lots of restaurants offering the best views from their terraces...none of them mentioning anything about their menus.

It was clear they didn‘t have a garbage disposal service so it was infested with rats and mice. Cow shit was everywhere because these animals are holy so can do whatever wherever they want. The locals are true Rajasthani who seemed to have escaped from the Book of 1001 Nights. The colourful saris of the women are beautiful and although the woman herself might be as ugly as hell, the sari makes up for it...

From Jaisalmer we drove to Bikaner. Along the way we did see wildlife% One of them was a gazelle named Chinkara. It was pure coincidence we saw the animal. Ramvir had to do a pitstop and chose a bush where the Chinkara was hiding. Not for long, when  Ramvir unzipped his zipper the Chinkara was already running miles away.

The landscape was desert with many shrubs, desert with few shrubs and desert with no shrubs. Not really exciting. We ended up in Bikaner, not the most appealing town in India. Ramvir said the city centre was just around the corner but once on the streets we found out it was still 6km walking distance. So we choose for an early night if it wasn‘t for the wedding taking place in the hotel until early morning...

Next day we made a trip to Deshnok, to the Karni Mata temple or temple of the rats. The story goes that a halfgod was threatened with death and to escape he returned to earth as a rat. Of course a rat is a rat and you are never really sure which rat is the halfgod, so in Deshnok they decided to play it safe and worship all rats.  Which meant thousands of rats are literally everywhere in this temple and if it doesn‘t sound appealing I can assure you: it wasn‘t. Especially since you are only allowed in bare feet. So there we were, gliding on rat shit trying to avoid stepping on these rats of which many of them didn‘t look very healthy. Of course it‘s quite fascinating to see all these rodents running around and Kiora couldn‘t get enough of them.

From Bikaner we went to Mandawa, the last stop before our return to Delhi. And Mandawa was a very nice surprise% We stayed in a beautiful Haveli and walked the lively and colourful main street. Bishnoi-women (a minority) walked around in beautiful dresses while buying fruit and vegetables and old men were chatting to eachother in very old havelis. Yes, Mandawa was a nice farewell to India.

In Delhi we bought an extra backpack to put all our souvenirs in and after that we drove to the airport for our flight to Lusaka via Addis Abeba. By the way: they will tell you to be at least 4 hours prior to your flight at Delhi Airport and I can assure you, it‘s true. The whole procedure at the airport takes forever. Unfortunately we had a 5 hour delay but that‘s another story...

What do we think of India? India is referred to as a sub-continent which implies BIG, and that‘s what it is. This time we only saw a small part and its also one of the most touristy one. Disadvantage is that you are never alone (tourists everywhere), there is a lot of hassling and prices are tourist level. On the other hand it means that there must be something worth seeing which is very much true. Many old buildings from bygone eras and beautiful and friendly people. A paradise for photographers%

And Indians...are Indians. The population will be the biggest in the world in 10 to 20 days (they are catching up with the Chinese very very fast). Its a huge ants nest. Indians are really everywhere, its amazing where they are all coming from. Its chaos but its people do work. The average African can learn a lot from them. The dark side of all this development is that nature is disappearing rapidly. Natural resources are exploited on a large scale and national parks become smaller and smaller. To our opinion there is no space for the tiger in future India...

Cricket by the way is sport number one in India. In every village the kids are playing this extremely boring game on the streets...

And the traffic keeps on amazing you. On highways you can find bikers, pedestrians, camels, cows and elephants. Don‘t be suprised if you see a truck with highly afflamable gases coming towards you on a 4-lane highway. Nobody else seems to be. Indians are very opportunistic in traffic, they all seem to think that what they want is possible at all times. So they just turn, pass or stop whenever they feel like it. We‘ve seen so many extremely funny situations but you would almost forget it is so dangerous.

The most arrogant beings in traffic however are cows. Since they are holy to Hindi and since Hindi form 80% of the Indian population, the cows can go wherever they want totally unharmed. So verybody avoids them on the streets which results in many dangerous situations. Anyway, no beef for menu in India. Its good to be a cow in India. And for that matter, being a pig isn‘t bad as well. The other 20% of the population are mainly Islamic so they don‘t eat pig. That‘s why it‘s so easy to be a vegetarian in India.

By the way, did you know that research had revealed that cows prefer to be among traffic in India? First of all the pollution keeps the flies away and second, the exhaust fumes makes the cows feel high which they seem to enjoy very much%

Namaste and keep on travelling%

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