Living in the wild

Jaisalmer Fort

Desert city. Dust, sand and garbage everywhere. Jaisalmer is the last city in the Indian desert to the border with Pakistan. So you can guess it has a busy military camp. But if you’re not intimidated by army trucks, uniformed men with big (but old) guns and planes flying by every once in a while, it could be a nice addition to the festival happenings.

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Timeout! We need rest. :)

We’ve reached it! The last bit of the road (through the hills) was a fun ending to our journey.

We used the time in Pushkar to do what everyone else does here: calm down, gather energy. This small lake town has some character. It’s one of the last hippy hideouts where you can enjoy the begining or end of the day by the temples on the sunrise or sunset hill. That’s all about Pushkar. Like i’ve said: chillin’ and gathering strenth to continue our adventure.

Next stop: The blue city with the great Mahagadesh fort (Jodhpur).

p.s.:  Some random pics from Pushkar:

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Tilen the tuk-tuk driver

Jaipur view from an old watch tower

Came late. Got really lost this time. We were doing circles in the city because

  1. they have a 6 lane road converted to one way,
  2. no one knew where our hotel was. Every person we asked said “straight and then right!”.

We arrived at Anuraag Villa with rickshaw escort. Of course the first thing he said stepping our of the tuk-tuk: ‘tomorrow i pick you up for sightseeing day with rickshaw!’. They always find something wrong with your choice of transport “motorbike no good,drive to fast; bus is to many people; other rickshaw no know the best place for quality and cheap prices…”


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Staying in Agra: Taj Mahal

View of the great Taj from the rooftop restaurant.

In Agra we booked Hotel Kamal whitch turned out to be a really nice choice. It has a nice rooftop restaurant with a view of the monument (as most hotels near Taj Mahal) and some really friendly staff (they speak very good english as opposed to northern folk). There was a waitor at the restaurant (called Aamir) that we joked around with a bit and he ended up giving us a representation of curently the most popular Bollywood songs and dances. He was actually quite good. :) If you’d met him, you would love him instantly.

There we’ve met Claire and Rebecca. Would you guess they’re Canadian, eh? (damn, I hope I used it right :P) We got along really well, had some beer (which is really expensive compared to other things – it’s about 120Rp = 2€; coke is 20Rp :) ), and went to Mehtab Bagh park to see the Taj from behind at sunset. Sadly, there was no sunset – one moment the sun was there, the next, it was gone. I think this was the lamest sunset in my life. :)

This is only half the crowd at the entrance of the Taj in the morning.

The next morning was an early day too – we got up at 5:50 to get in line at the ticket office for Taj (the office opened at 6:30). This is the best way to se this marble if you want a photo that doesn’t have big black spots of tourists on it. To our luck it was the 26. of January: The Republic Day of India. That ment even less (Indian) tourists in the morning!

The ticket was expensive (750Rp = 11€ – relatively speaking, of course), but it is totally worth it. The next time I go to India, I am going to visit it again. It’s THAT specatular. The architecture can be best observed at sunrise or sunset. The direct sun at noon makes you think you’re looking at a cheap poster of the real thing. :)

This is where our paths seperated. In a few hours we were riding west (Bharatpur and the ruin city of Fatehpur Sikri!) and the girls were waiting for the train to Varnasi. Good luck to you girls and hope to see you again!


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Ramnagar (Corbett Motel)

An unapealing place that lives mostly off tourists of Jim Corbett National Park. We had a hard time locating the Corbett Motel (that is the ‘best choice’ in Lonely Planet). It was written that the staff is extra nice,but after the first quarrel we were the main targets for ripping off.

We expected the staff would speak at least basic english, but mostly what they new was some words and a sentence here and there that they kept repeating.
One more thing I noticed: if they don’t know the answer to your question they look at you with the most innocent look and assuredly say: ‘yes’. :/ DON’T give them yes/no questions-that way you know if they understand you at all.

Enough words for this place. I don’t have the slightest wish to return.


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Tigers, Birds, Elephants and Crocodiles

Jim Corbett National Park. Now this was something special.

We took an overnight pass for the park-you get a jeep and a driver and you go at about 10:00. Then you reach the camp (Dhikala), get a guide, try to find some elephants or tigers and get back to camp in the evening. There you sleep in loghuts with 10 other turists (we were the only foreigners there-the camp is not known so much internationaly, but a lot of Indian people come to visit). In the morning you have another jeep safari or elephant ride. Weee! :) And at the end: checkout.

The park is closed in summer because monsoons flood their temporary roads

The drivers were all saying they know where tigers can be found, but we kept our cool and stayed with Dany (Danish – 22 year old guy who’s actually a great driver. Knows a lot about birds too). We knew we had to be extremely lucky to see a tiger, because the sightings are rare (and for elephants – it’s not the elephant season now :/).

On the way there and back again Tilen got his treat: we saw at least 50 species of birds that he hadn’t seen before. Dany was shouting for them too, so it was kind of nice seeing them on the toes with curiosity. (there is a whole list of sighted species in the slovenian translation of this post)

Tiger claw marks on tree (just to let you know you're on his terf now)

So we reached the camp, got a guide and went on search for wild cats. The jeep stopped on a long straight road in the bushes. The other jeeps were there too. Waiting in total silence we were afraid to ask what we were doing. .. And then we heard it: snap! Something’s mooving! Somehere slowly coming out of the bushes was … an elephant? With tourists. Dissapointment. :/ But wait,they went back in the bush. Something was up… There was to much excitement in the air. Is there something in that part of the thick forest? We heard banches break and some fast steps… Looking through the sea of leaves and branches I thought I saw something orange… Is that a bird or is it.. OMG, it’s a fucking TIGER!!! It came running out, jumping across the road just 5 meters from our jeep. I still can’t belive it was so close and we saw it after 10 minutes of searching for it.
Tilen got some crazy shots and I made a video. Happy!

Back at the camp the receptionist explained: ‘door on loghut always close-pin here,close here.’ then nodded his head: ‘… monkey problem…’ it was hilarious! But when we went to sleep, we found monkeys were the least of our problems. We slept with 7 indians – three of them snoring and one farting all night. A full orchestra. I had my music on full but couldn’t get to sleep until 3am.
Tilen was sleeping on the bed below. He had one more problem… Rodents – and not the pretty ones. But after two visits on his sleeping bag, they let him sleep. Or maybe he just didn’t notice it anymore. :)

The idyllic jungle in the morning sun

The next morning we booked an elephant ride. It was very misty and seeing the giants come slowly out of the dark was just like in the movies. It definetly set the mood for the morning: tiger hunting in the unknown woods. On an elephant. Pretty awesome.

Well, what can I say … Incredible India.


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