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round-the-world in 2005

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Nov 1 - Dec 16, 2005

Such a big and varied country, we have planned six weeks to explore incredible India.

southern Indian thali

01 Nov 2005 Mumbai, India

Place to Sleep
We started the day early for the airport. It was another unseasonal mild day in London, but it is time to move on. We approached the ticket desk to have our new flight details corrected on our ticket, only to be told the 4th different story about what it will cost. They wanted to charge us 135 pounds, but we were able to convince them not to charge us at all! This money will go a long way in Indian rupees. It was an eight hour flight with a five hour time difference, so we arrived in Mumbai around midnight in Indian time. The hour long taxi ride to the city centre took us past a large number of Indian people sleeping on the roadside. Our hotel is very basic, but it will do as we just feel lucky to have a bed to sleep on.


Stall at Chowpatty beach in Mumbai

02 Nov 2005 Mumbai, India

Day one in India
We are back into our intense travel mode, and had a long list of sites to see and things to do. We started with a walk around the old town centre to view the wonderful architecture from colonial times. We used the very cheap taxis to get around town. We went to visit the washing centre, where all the city’s clothes come to get washed. Thousands of men and women bash clothes clean in dirty water in hundreds of concrete ground-level troughs. We went to the Gandhi museum and updated ourselves on the history of this great man. At Chowpatty beach we joined the locals for a stroll at sunset and tried some local food. It is an exciting time to arrive in India, as it is Diwali festival, and there are firecrackers going off everywhere. The locals are very friendly, especially the kids, who always want to chat - often about cricket. We have started a poll on their favourite Australian cricketer.

Elephanta Island caves

03 Nov 2005 Mumbai, India

Elephant Island
We took the economy ferry out to Elephanta Island, mixing with the locals. It was a hot tiring day, which we are still getting used to after getting soft in the English weather. There are no elephants on the island, it is just named after a statue there. There are rock carved temples to see. A friendly Indian family we met on the boat invited us to share their typical south-indian lunch, which was a delight. With a few hours to spare in the afternoon, we visited the Prince of Wales museum, and did some shopping for cheap practical hot weather clothing. We caught an overnight bus down the coast to Aranbol beach, in Goa, for some sun, surf and seafood.

Beach cricket in Goa

04 Nov 2005 Arambol Beach, Goa, India

Lazy Day
The overnight bus was a bit of a nightmare - loud Hindi movies played for half the night, and the road was bumpy, and we had to sit as the sleeper bus was full. This is India for you. Fortunately when we arrived at our beach shack we were able to catch up on our sleep. We are situated right on edge of the sand, looking along the beach. We had the afternoon free for some swimming (there are a few good waves), lunch, more swimming and dinner. We have been eating beautiful curries for every meal since arriving, and they have been great. Here on the coast the seafood is magnificent. Everything is so cheap, particularly after coming from England. The meals have been between $1-3, and our accommodation $7 per night here.

Carrying the Indian way

05 Nov 2005 Arambol Beach, Goa, India

Sand, Swim, Sunset & Snapper
We started with breakfast at a restaurant on the beach, with our feet in the sand. On the menu is English, Israeli, American and Indian breakfast. There are also Italian and Chinese food available - which gives you an idea of where the other tourists are from. We were getting a little grubby, so we treated ourselves to a shave ($1, Rob) and a wax ($2, Clare)We went for a couple more swims today, and joined in a little bit of beach cricket with the locals. Dinner was with sunset and beach views, and consisted of whole fish again. We are overdosing on seafood as after this we will not be near the coast again and will probably not risk eating it again in India.

Fresh seafood at Goa

06 Nov 2005 Panjim, Goa, India

New World Record
We started early by local bus, heading further south along the coast. We just missed a seat as we got on, but by the time we arrived an hour later in Panjim, the state capital, the bus was so full there were people hanging out the doors and we felt like we were back in a mosh pit. It definitely beat all the crowded buses we endured in central america. Goa was a Portuguese territory throughout the time the English were in India, and consequently most of the locals are catholic. The temples you see in the other parts of India are replaced by grand churches here. We walked around the town seeing a couple of churches and fine old colonial period homes, but as it was Sunday we had trouble finding place open for lunch. We also had time to catch an auto rickshaw to the Old Goa town 9km away, which comprises now days of just a few old but interesting churches and convents. At 7.30pm we were on a sleeper bus, a bus decked out with double beds - better than trying to sleep in a seat as usual.

Being blessed by a temple elephant

07 Nov 2005 Hampi, India

Rocky Road
We arrived on the sleeper bus somewhat rested after a very rocky and bumpy road. After we had registered with the local police (a requirement here) we visited the main temple at the end of the main (only!) road. We fed bananas to the resident elephant, and Clare was blessed with the elephant’s trunk on the head after placing one rupee into it’s proboscis. At the other end of town, we climbed a rocky hill for a view of the surrounding landscape - plantations, ruins and scatterings of large round boulders. Clare received a henna tattoo on her hand - just like the Indian women do. After exploring a few of the nearby ruins, we walked along the river to a restaurant set among a banana plantation for a wonderful curry meal. The locals here are particularly friendly, and we have had to pose numerous times for photos with them.

Locals off to school in the back of a truck

08 Nov 2005 Hampi, India

More elephants
We woke early to go down to the river to watch the elephant get washed, but unfortunately she did not turn up. While waiting we met a couple of fellow travelers, and had a nice rooftop breakfast with them. We walked a couple of kms along a shady road to the main ruin complex, an ancient city was located here before being destroyed and lost to the jungle. There are many nice carvings and temples to see, and also old elephant stables. We had lunch in a small nearby town - only $1 for both of us! In the evening we returned to the elephant stables for a ‘sound and light’ festival - which was good to see but as it was in Hindi we did not understand it at all.

Friendly local children

09 Nov 2005 Badami, India

Pig City
We had a nice final breakfast in Hampi - spicy food again, even first thing in the morning. Our journey to Badami started with an autorickshaw to the nearby town of Hospet, then onto a local bus to Badami via Gadag. We had over an hour to wait at Gadag bus station, and the place was like a zoo (and we were the main attraction). Foreigner watching seems to be a local pastime, we even had to sign a few autographs. Maybe they though Rob was Shane Warne. We arrived in Badami at 4.30pm, time to have a quick look at the local ghat (washing area) and lakeside temples. We had a local boy volunteer as our guide. There are pigs galore around the streets of this small town. With our evening meal we downed a bottle of India beer - called Knockout. We hope we wake up alright tomorrow.

Rock cut caves in Badami

10 Nov 2005 Bijdapur, India

Broken Bus
Badami is set around a lake and under rocky cliffs. Into the cliff faces are carved temples, the main reason for visiting here. We started early with a guided tour of the caves. On the way to the museum, we bought a bunch of bananas, which were promptly stolen by a cheeky monkey as we walked along. We walked up the hill behind the museum, for a fine view of the town and a few temples and the ruins of a fort to see. The kids here are so friendly, following us around everywhere, and all we hear is “what is your name?” and “what is your country?”. Once they find out we are from Australia, the discussion inevitably turns to cricket. Our cricket poll continues with Gilly in the lead. We caught the bus to Bijapur in the afternoon, having an unscheduled stop just outside Bagalkot as the bus broke down (bits were falling off on the bumpy road). Luckily we were not far from town, and luckily we had a nice young English speaking Indian man to help us get on the right bus to continue our trip. In Bijapur, we just walked through the dusty haze to our hotel and had an early night.

Runied arches

11 Nov 2005 Bijapur, India

Indian Training
We were up early as usual. First we needed to book tonight’s train journey to Hyderabad. From the train station we had a short ride on a tonga (horse and cart) to Golgumbaz, an immense domed mausoleum, which had amazing acoustics within it’s dome - a very effective whispering wall and a 7-time echo. We also saw a couple of palace ruins around town, an islamic tomb, and a giant cannon. Tonight was our first Indian train journey, which can only be better than the last couple of bumpy bus rides.

Budda statue in Hyderabad

12 Nov 2005 Hyderabad, India

Big Buddha
The overnight train journey turned out better than the buses, but snorers all around us kept us awake. On arrival in Hyderabad, we booked tonight’s train and placed our bags into storage for the day (30c each). We went to the Health Museum, antiquated but colourfully presented. The nutrition section was very interesting to Clare. We then visited the Science Museum - just like other hands-on science museums around the world - we love them. We also visited a modern art museum, and the largest mosque in india. From there we went to a lakeside park and caught a ferry out to see the largest monolithic stone statue of the standing Buddha. It was beautiful being out on the lake at sunset. On the way to the train station, we lashed out and went to a fancy restaurant, and tried Hyderabad’s famous biriyani. We only had a day to explore this big modern city, and it ended up being a great day.

The next champion cricketer

13 Nov 2005 Balaghat, India

Monsoon Wedding
We woke on the train still heading to Nagpur, the geographical centre of India. On arriving we needed to get a bus to Khana National Park, so we walked into town. We received three different pieces of advice as to how to get there, so we randomly chose one route. The bus left late and arrived in the connecting town of Balaghat much later than we had been told. From here there was no direct bus to Khana (as promised), and no more indirect buses today either - so we were stuck in this nowhere town which is not even on our map. We found a place to crash, we were tired and dirty from two days of travel, and hungry for some dinner before bed. On our quick dash out for some food, we chatted with a local who invited us to his cousin’s wedding. From curiosity we took a look, but this became a full night of drinking, dancing, meeting everyone and photographs with all including the sister brides. We finally got home after midnight, absolutely exhausted. This nowhere town turned out to give us a great memory of India Outdoor oven

14 Nov 2005 Khatia, India

Cross country rickshaw
With no drinkable water, we woke dehydrated and hungover. We met our friend from last night who was going to help us with transport today. We ended up on another bus anyway. It was 2.5 hours to a small town called Biahur, and after a 45c lunch from a bus-stop snack-bar (for the two of us), we took an auto-rickshaw (1.5hrs) through rural villages, across rivers and along dirt tracks to finally reach a hotel outside of the Khana National Park. We were welcomed with some chai (sweet milky tea) and were happy with the excellent rate of $3 per night. We took a slow walk up the main road, then hired a bike for an hour for a further look around. At 6pm we saw a scratchy National Geographic wildlife film at the visitors centre to get us prepared for our tiger search tomorrow. It was a cold night and so we hit our ‘comfy’ concrete bed early.

Bison in the bush

15 Nov 2005 Khatia, India

Spotted tiger
We were up before the crack of dawn to go tiger spotting in the Khana National Park. We shared a jeep with an old Indian couple, with a driver and guide. During the morning session there were heaps of animals to see - spotted deer, sambar, barasingar, bison, monkeys, birds and elephants - nut no tiger. One was sighted, but by the time we arrived it had moved on. Still it was beautiful to be out in the wild on such a lovely day. Encouraged, we returned for the afternoon session. With only a half hour to go, and losing hope, we finally saw the elusive tiger. And it was well worth it! It is nice and quiet in the village near the Park, and a great break from the cities and long distance travel.

Painted horn on a bull

16 Nov 2005 Jabalpur, India

Internet Only
We left Khana on the 8.30am bus, arriving in the transport hub of Jabalpur at 3pm. We couldn’t get onto the train we wanted to Varanasi, which left us here with eight hours to spare waiting for the midnight train. We used the time to catch up on our blog and emails. We have been too busy traveling and looking for tigers lately. We are on the air-con sleeper tonight, which should be a comfortable ride before arriving in the hectic city of Varanasi.

Dusk on the river Ganges

17 Nov 2005 Varanasi, India

Hassle full
Varanasi train station was very busy, with many locals trying to vie for our attention. After getting advice and booking our next train journey, we were followed by touts all the way to our hotel. We spent most of the day walking along the the ghats (steps) of the Ganges River, a very holy river, watching the life of the locals and tourists - action everywhere. We passed the burning ghat, which is where they cremate the dead. There are several piles of wood at different stages of burning, some down to ashes, others piled up with the body wrapped in cloth and laid on the top. A bit eerie to see. In the evening there was a large puja ceremony (praying to the gods), next to the river, which we watched before heading home. An early night for a sunrise start tomorrow.

Morning Varanasi row

18 Nov 2005 Varanasi, India

Seeing sunrise
We arose for a sunrise boat ride along the Ganges River. This is a very tranquil time in Varanasi, a peaceful change from the busy crowds during the day time. As the sun rose, we watched people bathing, washing, splashing and praying in the river. Truly an amazing sight. After some breakfast we walked north from the main ghat to the last one several kms upriver - passing animals and people going about their daily business and activities. We visited the museum at the university, then took the ferry across the river to visit the fort on the opposite bank. After sunset, we took another boat cruise back to our hotel.

Busy train station

19 Nov 2005 Varanasi, India

We changed rooms this morning to one a little cheaper to store our luggage and allow us to freshen up before our overnight train. We spent the day in a small town called Sarnath, the place where Buddha preached his first sermon. Many countries have built temples here to honour this holy place. An interesting town. Our dodgy rickshaw driver on the ride home tried to drop us off far from where we asked, but in the end after some disputing we got our way. Clare bought some silk scarves while Rob had another barber shave, before heading to the station for the overnight train. When the train arrived we were shocked to find our carriage chocka-block full of Indians. We could hardly even squeeze in the door. We gave up and headed for the more expensive aircon sleeper where there was room. Clare wasn’t feeling well after eating some dodgy food in the afternoon, and not looking forward to the journey ahead!

20 Nov 2005 Khajuraho, India

The longest day
We were on the Aircon sleeper for only a few hours, Rob asleep and Clare very sick in the toilet, when the ticket inspector came by at 3am. We were promptly kicked off our comfy beds and sent back to our reserved beds in the regular class. Luckily there were half the number of people in our cabin than previously and we managed to kick them off our beds so we could sleep. We stood up from our valuable beds to alight at 6.30am as expected, but the train was late and we stood for another hour before arriving at our station. Next was a 5 hour very bumpy bus ride to Khajuraho. We arrived at 2 pm feeling very average. We caught up with some sleep in the afternoon, had dinner then straight back to bed for a sound, well needed, night’s sleep.


21 Nov 2005 Khajuraho, India

Everyday activities
We woke fully rested and ready to explore this famous World Heritage Site. The entrance fee was quite steep, but well worth it. The Khajuraho temples are famous for their erotic sculptures, but equally impressive is the setting, the architecture and the well-preserved condition of the temples. There are a myriad of sculptured scenes covering the temple walls - depicting everything from armies fighting to everyday activities, including some done in private. We spent a few hours exploring these, did some window shopping in the very touristy shops, watched a ceremony (puja) at one of the active hindu temples, then finished the day watching a professional production ‘sound and light’ show which was somewhat entertaining - it was nice to see the temples flood-lit with coloured lights at night.

Indian boy

22 Nov 2005 Orchha, India

We took a walk to the outlying temples, and were followed by a couple of Indian teenagers, who were trying a well known scam on us, luring us to make a ‘donation’ to the local school. Us worldly travelers are too savvy to fall for that. We sent another package home, but first had to get it sewn up in cloth - the Indian way - for it to be sent. We caught the 4 pm ‘express deluxe’ bus to Jhansi, then after some negotiation we were able to squash onto a local bus, with what seemed like hundreds of others, to our destination Orchha 18 km away.

Bulding through an arch

23 Nov 2005 Orccha, India

Peaceful change
We spent the day exploring the old ruins of palaces and temples of Orchha. This small town, smaller than Khajuraho, and immensely less hectic - practically hassle free, is a welcome relief. The palaces could do with some better restoration, but are nevertheless beautiful buildings. The town has a fairly slow pace, particularly the food service! Today we decided to come back to Australia a little early for the Wood family reunion which is at the end of January. So we have changed our returning flights to a couple of weeks earlier. We can see our wonderful journey coming to an end fairly soon - too soon.

Indian family at the Taj Mahal

24 Nov 2005 Agra, India

The Taj
We walked out of the hotel straight onto a bus to Jhansi, then on to the train north to Agra. There were no problems getting onto our reserved seats this time! Our hotel in Agra is just around the corner from the Taj Mahal, and has views from its rooftop restaurant. We wasted no time and went straight there. It is closed tomorrow, so we had to make sure we got to see this ‘must see’ site of India. We had an hour or so before sunset to enjoy the gardens and inside the building, close up the intricate gem stone inlay designs in the white marble are very special. The colour of the building and the mood changes as the sun disappears.

Marble work

25 Nov 2005 Agra, India

Getting Agra
We walked to the Agra Fort in the cool morning air. We saw some more beautiful buildings, this time red sandstone with white marble inlay. We took a cycle-rickshaw for the afternoon to see a few more sights, mostly tombs, including the ‘baby taj’ made of marble as well. We ended the day with a backside view of the Taj from across the river - looks the same though as it is a perfectly symmetrical building. From this side you get the most common picture, a reflection photo at sunset. The people here and other places can get pretty pestery and it is difficult to keep your cool all the time. It is difficult to trust anything anybody says!

Part of a building in Fatespur Sikri

26 Nov 2005 Fatespur Sikri, India

Bucket Shower
An early bus to a tiny town with a massive old palace - Fatespur Sikri. The well preserved ruins of this palace took a few hours to cover. We also saw the elephant tower covered with fake tusks. After a long lunch, we got our bus to Jaipur, the capital of Rajhastan. Wanting a shower when we arrived - we again had to go with the bucket shower, the only supply of hot water in our budget room. We have had a few of them lately!

The pink city

27 Nov 2005 Jaipur, India

Pink City
We traveled 10km from the city to Amber Fort and Palace. We skipped the elephant ride up to the fort, but watched them getting a wash in the lake below. A lovely palace from the 16th century with a fancy mirrored room. Back in the city we visited a fascinating old astronomy centre with a massive sundial, the shadow of which can move at 4m per hour. We also visited the City Palace containing interesting items from the Rajput era. It was a big day of walking the busy streets. They call this the ‘pink city’ as a previous leader painted all the building pink to welcome some English royalty. The have continued the tradition, but the buildings are not really pink but an orangey/brown colour. We went to see a movie in the evening, the latest Bollywood feature, in Hindi. We couldn’t understand much but the simple plot and the overacting was not hard to follow. We also treated ourselves to some western food - McDonalds with an Indian twist.

Pushkar lake at sunset

28 Nov 2005 Pushkar, India

No Nothing
We have both been feeling tired lately - tired of traveling maybe? We caught a bus from Jaipur to Ajmer, then to the nearby holy town of Pushkar. We missed the famous camel fair by a couple of weeks, which is held here annually, but we didn’t miss the flies that hang around afterwards. The pleasant town surrounds a lake which is holy to the Hindus - and therefore in this town there is no meat, eggs, alcohol and kissing and cuddling in public! There are lots of tourists - and a few of them seem like they have been stuck here for decades. It must be wedding season - we saw a few processions though the narrow streets. The groom on a white horse, following a band with people dancing, surrounded by large fluro lights powered by a generator. Very surreal.

Groom off to a wedding

29 Nov 2005 Pushkar, India

Tourist Trap
We had a fairly lazy day today with a rare sleep in. We posted another package home, then did some banking and shopping. There are loads of indo-western clothing and jewelry to buy here - too much to chose from. In the afternoon we took a quick look at the Brahma Temple and then continued to another temple on the top of a nearby small mountain, which gave spectacular views of the town and surrounding areas. In the evening we did some internet so Clare could get her resume organised for a possible job at the English Institute of Sport.

Bundi Fort

30 Nov 2005 Bundi, India

We took an early bus back to Ajmer and then straight on to a government bus for Bundi - 4.5 hours away. We scored good comfy seats, though we had a clear view of the road ahead which is not always good when the driving is so erratic. As we arrived the imposing fort and palace built on the slope of a hill near the town lake came into view. After checking in we immediately took a walk up to the palace to see the 16th century Indian paintings that Bundi is famous for. They were mostly of elephants, hunting scenes and royalty. We continued further up the steep hill to join the monkeys at the ruined fort at the top, and another lovely view at sunset. We notice in India, out of necessity and cost-effectiveness, that they recycle a lot. Takeaway plates are often made of leaves (which the cows eat), bags form newspaper, and old tyres are made into shoes and furniture arm rests! Very inventive.

A great place for a meal in Bundi

01 Dec 2005 Bundi, India

Well, well, well
Firstly, we can’t believe it is December already. There are less than two months to go. Bundi is well known as the well city, with over 50 wells, pools and public baths, some fancy and others simple and run down. We discovered a few of these as we wandered around the town in the morning. We bought some fruit at the colourful market before getting a lift to some ruined palaces and tombs just out of town. There are no trains to our next destination, Udaipur, so we are risking another sleeper bus. We hope the roads are better this time!

Udaipur lake palace

02 Dec 2005 Udaipur, India

Bumpy ride again
After not much sleep again on the bumpy overnight sleeper bus, we crashed for a few hours in our hotel until lunchtime. We took the afternoon to visit the huge City Palace, which host many very attractive and elaborately decorated rooms. Later, Clare did some shopping and internet while Rob rested as he is not feeling the best.

Young omelette maker

03 Dec 2005 Udaipur, India

The Venice of India
Today we explored more of the beautiful town of Udaipur, starting with a restored haveli (old home) done up in early times. We then had lunch at a very romantic cafe on the waterfront - with views of the Palace and Island Palace - which is now an expensive hotel. In the afternoon we visited the site of hundreds of memorial tombs of all the local kings and warriors, then a lovely waterfront garden, followed by a sunset view over the lake. A very lovely city.

Jodhpur the blue city

04 Dec 2005 Jodhpur, India

We’re in Jodhpur
We took the ‘deluxe’ bus from Udaipur to Jodhpur - six hours into the desert. We arrived at 2pm, then Rob rested while Clare finished her application for an EIS job. She also tried the local lassi specialty made with saffron and curd. During this time she had a taste of what solo female travel in India may be like - a lot more attention is given. We had dinner at a rooftop restaurant again, which is all the rage in India, this one had a view of the fort.

White house

05 Dec 2005 Jodhpur, India

Just a fort
We visited the well organised and well preserved fort on the large hill in the middle of the town. Surprisingly there was a very professional audio guide (made by an Australian company!). Afterwards, Rob went home to rest and to be closer to the toilet, while Clare checked out a couple of other less interesting sights. We had to hang about until 11pm for the overnight train to Jailsalmer.

Jaisalmer living fort

06 Dec 2005 Jaisalmer, India

Desert and no dessert
We arrived at 6am, with limited sleep again as it was bloody cold on the train. We decided against our better judgment to follow a tout to his hotel. The nightly rate was excellent, and we knew the hard sell for their camel safari would be coming. We had a few hours sleep, then breakfast on the rooftop while their camel trek was explained to us. We decided to have a look around at other options, and found a much better deal. We explored the streets, the fort, then Rob went back to rest while Clare shopped. We had some authentic Italian food for a change, knowing we will soon be out in the desert not having any choice of cuisine.

Carrying bowls

07 Dec 2005 Jaisalmer, India

Slow and Repetitive
We decided to stay another day before going out into the desert, so that Rob’s gut could settle from his bout of Delhi belly. We did some shopping for a bedspread, and also to buy another hat to replace the one he had lost in Italy. We visited an old haveli, and were taken on the slowest most repetitive tour ever. It was a nice place though. We made up a big package to send home, our biggest ever, but by the time we got to the post office it was closed.

Camel Safari

08 Dec 2005 Jaisalmer, India

Beer at Sunset
We met at breakfast for the jeep to take us an hour into the Indian desert, where we started our camel safari. After a brief meeting of our camels, we jumped on board and headed towards a small village. After a couple of hours, we stopped in a dry creek bed, while our guides cooked up some curry and chapattis for lunch. At 3pm we were once again on the camels, and finished the day at some sand dunes, in time to watch the sun set. While there a young boy from a nearby village arrived by camel with some warm beers - it is hard to be isolated anywhere in India. Another great meal cooked up by our guides, some Rajhastan songs around the campfire, then off to sleep under the stars. So peaceful.

After a hard days camel riding

09 Dec 2005 Jaisalmer desert, India

and then there was four
We woke at sunrise after a restful sleep. Breakfast was boiled eggs and toast. The group we started with has now split in two, just four of us for the longer trek. We had a long camel ride in the morning before lunch under a shady tree. We rode some more in the afternoon with a little bit of a trot to shake us us. We arrived at some beautiful large and isolated sand dunes for dinner and camping the night.

Fetching water from the well

10 Dec 2005 Jaisalmer desert, India

Got the trots
After a cold and windy night under the stars, we woke with sand in our ears and a steaming cup of chai next to us. As we mounted the camels on day three, we found we were not as sore as yesterday, we are finally getting used to this camel riding. Our break was near a little village of farmers, who came to visit us for lunch. In the afternoon, our camel drivers took us for a very long trot, more than our bottoms and insides could handle. Now we will be sore! We arrived to meet the jeep at 4.30pm, which took us back to the fort. We had to find another hotel since our last one kicked us out for not going on their camel safari. We found a room with a bath, which just can not be beaten after three days on a camel with no shower! The view and size of the room was a bonus.

Fort Palace

11 Dec 2005 Jaisalmer, India

We had a nice sleep in, after starting at sunrise for the last three days on the camel safari. We saw some more sights of Jaisalmer, more haveli’s and the Old City Palace which is a good museum. Jaisalmer Fort is the only fort in India to be inhabited by locals, so we spent some time wandering the small alleys and doing some shopping.


12 Dec 2005 Jaisalmer, India

RTW round the finger
We visited the post office today to send all our shopping home. There was a minor delay due to power outage (which is very common in India), so we finished this a few hours later. We hired a paddle boat and spent an hour on the lake relaxing around the lake temples and bird life. We then headed to make a special purchase. We found a pair of matching silver rings, with etchings of all the places we have visited on our trip - Indian Taj Mahal, Egyptian pyramids, Central American Mayan ruins, New York Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Paris Eiffel Tower, London’s Big Ben, and the Sydney Opera House. What a memory all in one ring! Our train to Delhi was due at 3.30pm, and was only delayed by 1 hour, which is pretty good by Indian standards. We have opted for the AC carriage, with softer beds, as we have a long 20 hour journey ahead of us.

Rickshaw transport

13 Dec 2005 Delhi, India

4th time lucky
We had breakfast of pakora (deep fried veggie balls) bought at one of the train stations we stopped at, and chai and a veggie burger bought from a seller on the train. Fairly limited options when you don’t know how long the train will stop for! We arrived at 12.30 pm, and managed to get a rickshaw to our hotel. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we just thought a little shopping would be good. So to save some time we got a rickshaw to a large emporium. Unfortunately though our dodgy driver decided to take us to three different shops with similar names, and all the wrong place. Of course he blamed his poor language skills for the ‘confusion’, but we know he was just after some commission. We gave up hope of getting to the right destination, so we walked the rest of the way ourselves.

Traffic in Hyderabad

14 Dec 2005 Delhi, India

On the move
We moved hotels this morning as the one last night was too cold, and only had bucket showers. We ate a quick breakfast omelet on the street before heading to Delhi’s Red Fort. It has a very open plan with much garden space and some newer English Defense buildings within. The nearby mosque is the biggest in India, so we had to climb the tower for an overview of the bustling streets of Delhi For the afternoon we took a rickshaw to the Qutub Minar, a very spectacular victory tower of the muslims, with some ruins of an old mosque. A quick call home to mum Reilly in the evening, made Clare even more homesick.

Indian uttapam

15 Dec 2005 Delhi, India

Modern India
We walked down to the metro underground train station, despite being told that it was not yet working, and caught a train on their very efficient and modern system to the new Delhi area. We visited the interesting National Museum, then walked to see the India Gate monument. Near there was the Museum of Modern Art, then we got a lift to a Planetarium to see the stars of the northern hemisphere and a movie ‘life cycle of a star’. Rob was not feeling well again and we headed home.

COpy of the Sydney Opera House?

16 Dec 2005 Delhi, India

Get it India
Rob rested today - another bout of funny tummy. We’ll be glad to get away from the grimy dirty streets. Leaving Rob with some food supplies and with the Australian cricket test match on the telly, Clare explored a multi-faith lotus shaped temple, and a large tomb. We had planned a big splurge for our final night in india, but we were not up to it. Instead we went back to a favourite place for a standard Indian meal.


next we transit through Hong Kong for 24 hours.

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