A Travellerspoint blog

Arrived in Udaipur

The train journey was quite enjoyable. According to the booking list we had an entire four bed compartment to ourselves, but we were joined by an Indian couple who came and sat with us keep us company and to stop 'nasty people' from sitting there.

They were on their way to Udaipur to visit some of their extended family. They talked about their life in India - they live with their two daughters and sons in law as well as their grandchildren and servant in a 3000sq ft house just outside the city. Indians think nothing of asking questions that most in the west would shy away from such as salary and religious information. He was shocked that on a Westerners salary I was unable to save anything because of he high living costs in London, I said this was because Tabi costs a lot and he noded, knowingly. ;-)

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People we met on the train

We arrived in Udaipur at about 7am and promptly found an autorickshaw to take us to our hotel. The hotel is nice and has an internet cafe and a normal cafe upstairs. This place is very different to the cities. The streets contain as many stray cows and dogs as they do people, and shopkeepers would rather stop us for a chat than rip us off. The local women don't scowl at Tabi, and no one stares at us as we go by.

We had a quick breakfast when we arrived, followed by a short nap. Then we found an autorickshaw to drive us out to a local villiage where we hopped on a camel and were shown around. The inhabitants sang songs to us from inside their cow dung huts, but I was too distracted by the buckarooing camel to take too much in.

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Mud Hut

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Villagers performing for us. Not a very well composed photo, but have you ever trried taking a photo from on top of a camel??

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That's us and the camel. (Top row: Tabi & Rob, Bottom: Camel)

We then went to a local 'animal reserve', the name demonstrating a remarkable lack of self knowledge, as there were no animals to be seen. It still had some spectacular views, and we got some nice pictures.
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Posted by roblist 05:17 Archived in India Comments (1)

Moving to Udaipur

We've just booked a ticket to our next stop, Udaipur, which is about 250km North East. The day's problems are finding a cash point to pay the hotel bill and finding somewhere to stay tomorrow night. The train is another overnight sleeper, which saves a few quid on hotel bills. With a population of 300,000 Udaipur is the smallest town we'll visit in India, but sounds the most relaxing.

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Route so far

We spent most of yesterday afternoon with an English lecturer at the city's university. He told us all about India, and in return we told him all about London.

I ate a nut last night, which caused quite a bad reaction. Ironically the nut wasn't contained in an exotic indian dish, but in a plate of good old egg and chips.

So there you go, that's about it. What can I say, it's a slow news day. I guess that's what happens when you don't get up until 3pm! We're off to get some breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Posted by roblist 04:14 Archived in India Comments (0)

Welcome to Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is about 300km north of Mumbai. The train journey was okay, but a little scary at first. We shared our compartment with an Indian family who were travelling to Ahmedabad to visit a temple.

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Outside view of the train

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Inside the train

Ahmedabad is scarier than Mumbai, mainly because very few people speak English. When we arrived, a taxi driver took us to the wrong hotel (one he was probably on comission for), but we eventually got him to take us to the correct one. We have a nice air conditioned room with TV, and room service bring me up a big pot of tea for about 15 pence.

In the evening, we went to a local place to eat, and had a fantastic 20 dish meal in fantastic settings for about the price of a coffee in starbucks. Waiters came from every corner of the room, and within a few seconds, our table was covered with the colours and smells of India. Some pictures to follow...
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We went on a long walk around the city last night, got hopelessly lost but thankfully managed to find an autorickshaw driver who took us back to the cinema (it was the only place he understood), and we walked home from there.

We haven't seen a single other white person in town, and the locals seem shocked to see us. Women scowl at Tabi when she walks past, and the men do nothing but stare. That said, there's no shortage of people wanting to try and help us. We only have to glance at the guide book and we'll immediatly be surrounded by people offering their help. As they can't speak English, and we can't speak Gudgerat it tends to confuse more than help.

In news from back home, I just learnt that Porism came 17th in the Deloitte awards for the 50 fastest growing technology companies. This is up from 35/36th last year, I tried to have a drink to celebrate, but this is a no alchol state... :(
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Gerald and Mike from Porism with Paul Ross, collecting the award

Posted by roblist 03:22 Archived in India Comments (1)

Last day in Mumbai

I finally managed to get to sleep before 6am last night, but even so we didn't rise until noon. As today is our last day in Mumbai we had a few jobs to do which have taken most of the day.

I packed too many clothes, so I've posted some back to the UK to lighten my backpack. Posting the parcel took about 4 hours start to finish.

The first step is finding some post wallahs, who stitch canvas around the parcel and address it. The next stage was taking Tabi's parcel to the airmail desk. There was a long que in a building with no air conditioning. By the time we got to the front of the que there was someone trying to push in behind me - this didn't go down too well with the person behind me and by the time we left the counter several people were shouting and throwing punches at each other. I found it all very amusing, Tabi less so.

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Tabi with the post wallah

My parcel is going to be sent by sea, so I had to que again at another counter. Apparently I needed an export licence to send it, so I filled one of those out. The post wallah had left the top of the parcel open for customs to search through, which they did. The officials took great delight at passing my posessions around, and everyone had a go on an air horn I picked up from a market stall earlier. An 'official' post wallah then un picked the stitching from the canvas from around the parcel (one stitch at a time), and then stitched it all back together again. I thought it looked neater the first time around, but decided to keep quiet. Finally, the customs officials gave me my export licence, applied wax to the seams of the canvas and now the parcel is waiting to be shipped.

We're booked onto a train at 9:50pm to take us overnight to our next stay in Ahmedabad; until then we're lazing around. Tabi's writing her blog next to me, and is just about to put her first entry live.

We have some great photos that I want to share, but it doesn't seem possible to get them off the camera's memory card and onto a CD here, so it may not be possible until Singapore.

Posted by roblist 04:31 Archived in India Comments (2)

Bollywood calls

but we're asleep

On the way back from the internet cafe yesterday, we were approached by a scout from one of the Mumbai film studios asking if we'd like to appear as an extra in a Bollywood film - apparently they're always on the lookout for people from the west. Of course we both said yes - and arranged to meet the scout at 8am the following morning.

As I mentioned earlier, the new hotel we're in is pretty crappy; and neither Tab or I fell asleep until about 6:30am, meaning we slept through the alarm and missed our big chance. I guess the pivotal role of 'man in swimming pool' is being played by someone else.

We think we've worked out a route - we're leaving here tomorrow night for Ahmedabad. It's an 8 hour overnight train journey, leaving from Mumbai central at about 10pm. From here, we're going onto Udaipur, a nice town of about 300,000 people before heading up to Jaipur, Agra and then Delhi where we fly on to Bangkok.

Tabi's set up her blog here http://tabi.travellerspoint.com

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Some street sellers

Posted by roblist 03:43 Archived in India Comments (2)

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