2 Days in Jodhpur, India

Jodhpur, India
We walked around town a bit and took a 5 hour public bus to Jodhpur. The bus was not too bad, though the locals tried to 'squeeze' onto the seats that we were sitting in. I didn't let them sit with me though. We paid for our seats and the others just paid to stand. When we go into town we walked around and met for dinner on the rooftop restaurant. The first thing I noticed when I got off the bus and stepped off was the thick dirty air. I was coughing up a lung. It was much dirtier than Delhi, at least that was the impression that I got. Our hotel is just in the heart of the town...less than 5 minutes from the clock tower (picture on right). I wanted to visit some local villages on a safari, but no one else wanted to join me. I couldn't go alone so I pleaded. After I showed the others an in my lonely planet I got 4 of them to change their minds. There were now 5 of us taking a village safari to the Bishnois village. These people sacrificed their lives to save the cutting down of a tree. We took a jeep packed with 6 of us total and went off road (really really off road) 50 km or so until we pulled up to a couple of huts. We were informed of the Bishnois caste and some other information about their small village. We drank some opium tea and then some Indian chai. We toured the village and helped grind flour and some other daily chores. Next we went to another village, of the caste I think is Megual (something like that). There we tried on some turbans and local clothing and helped an old man weave carpets from camel wool (see picture on left). All these castes are sub castes of the Brahmins. The Brahmins don't eat meat which is killing me, but tonight we are going to an upscale restaurant which serves meat, yummy. I keep ordering my meals extra extra spicy, but am left having to order a side order of chillies. I don't think the Indian food is as spicy as I hoped. After the village safari I went to the Mehrangarh Fort (see video below), where I got a 50 Rp discount since I had a student ID card. For the total price of 200 Rp. we got an entrance ticket plus an audio tour of the Fort. It was quite wonderful, but I think I'm done with the forts. The village safari was about 6 or so hours and it was 550 Rp ($11 USD), which included the 100+ km round trip off road transport, a tour guide, and lunch.

A few of you asked where I went to the bathroom in the desert...um behind a sand dune! As for TP, I typically remember to always snatch a handful wherever I find it, but you just have to improvise. I was very happy since our hotel last night and tonight actually had hot water, but only from 7-10 in the morning and 7-10 at night. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to write about but am at a loss of words. It's just so dirty here, people spitting, their mouths and teeth stained red from whatever the hell they're chewing. Cows and dogs just sleeping in the middle of main roads, constant honking of the horns. The smell can be pretty rancid, but not as bad as it could be. There isn't much of a night life in India past 8:00, and TVs are not really available, and Internet cafes often don't have signal. This morning I walked with a couple of people to the clock tower before our jeep picked us up for the safari. There we went to a stand and got some breakfast, some type of fried break with some yellow and green sauces. I think they were just curried chillies. Tomorrow we wake up early for a 7 hour public bus journey to Udaipur, we'll be there for 3 nights. Cheers!


Camel Safari in Thar Desert

The Camel Safari
After a short 30 or so minute jeep ride into the heart of the Thar desert we unloaded our packs. We took just what we needed and tossed the rest into a cart pulled by a camel. We each were given out own camel. The man claimed my camel's name was Raj, but I'm not too sure how much the name means. Dave's camel was named Michael Jackson and the others had typical Indian-sounding names. We were all in dressed in pants and shows to protect ourselves from the abrasive sand and sun. We rode the camels nonstop for roughly 2 hours. I was doing quite well, but the others were complaining about their backs and bums when they had gotten off. We were only 5km from where we initially started, but it was desolate. Very little vegetation and sand dunes all around us. There were ants and large beadles swimming in their endless baths of sand. We watched the sun set which started at 6:30 and was fully set at 6:40. It set over Pakistan and tomorrow we will watch it rise over Delhi. We enjoyed a nice snack that was freshly cooked by the people that walked along out camels. We got some fried vegetable stuff, along with some sweet biscuits, and some freshly fried potato slices. They also had this one treat that is similar to the Chinese colored wafers some restaurants give you for your soup. This of course was accompanied by some authentic sweet chai. We played some drinking games and drank the Indian beer of choice, Kingfisher. While we were watching the sun set a man played some music for us using some type of metal vibrating pin. See to the right for a sampling.

After a short while a local hill tribe (gypsies) played us some music and danced. One instruments was a drum and tambourine while the other sounded like a bag pipe. There were two young women dressed in native clothing and danced gracefully for us. They took our hands and we all joined in, only not so gracefully. Men were building a fire at this point and preparing our feast. Were were all very hungry since we hadn't eaten for a while. When the meal came we couldn't believe how much there was. We were given chapati, rice, and 4 vegetarian dishes. I didn't think it was too much, neither did Deb, the Scottish born Aussie who was sitting next to me. See a photo of Deb on the right. Much to our surprise men kept coming back with large pots of food and gave us heaps upon heaps of food. I couldn't believe how much I ate. After dinner we got a table/bed closer to the fire and set up a card game to drink to. Each card has a rule and every player takes turns drawing cards. The point of the game is to drink. No winners, no losers. We all drank and drank for hours until it was about 12:00. We were listening to some music at that point. It was funny because no one had a pair of speakers that was working and my iPod wasn't loud enough. One girl had a flashlight you can wind up and charge anything via a USB port. One of the girls had bought a small speaker that charges just this way. So we would be winding this damn flashlight to power the speaker, and If I would wind too slow the speaker would just stop. It sounded like a broken record was playing. We were all having a blast trying to wind this thing fast enough to keep up with the music of the iPod. We gazed at the stars and it was just so clear. We slept on a, well, don't know how to describe it. There was a frame with 4 legs, and along the top there were some straps of fabric. On this fabric we laid some sheets and then a pillow. We were just sleeping out in the open under the stars (see picture on left). The nearest toilette is wherever the hell you want it to be. The rule was just that you were supposed to kick sand on wherever you had just gone. I was writing in my journal and there must have been at least 5 girls swarming over to see if I had written about them. They were quite put off that I had not, though I passed it around and let them all write a little something. I've been keeping up very good on my journal writing. Everyday, between 2 and 4 pages a day on average. Here in India they sell nicely crafted leather bound journals with nice paper and I want to buy them all. I am not sure I have any more uses for them, so Please give me some suggestions as how I could use them. I need SOME type, ANY type of an excuse to buy 1, 2, or 8 of these. Also, if you like journals and want one, just let me know what size, and style and it's yours. TRUST ME ON THIS...I went to look at many journals before settling on the one I brought with me on my trip. The leather journals back in the states will cost between $15 and $80 USD, while the SAME ones will cost between $2 and $10.

Anyways I'm off to take a 5 hour public bus to Jodhpur, India.


More Time in Jaisalmer, India

1st Night in Jaisalmer
Last night we met on our rooftop restaurant for several beers and to watch the sun set over the city. The picture to the right shows our view of the city from our hotel. I wanted to venture out more and try some other food, while most of the others were content with staying at the hotel and eating there. I took the initiative and organized the group to come out for dinner. I was on the hunt for meat, since our hotel was vegetarian only. The two other places we came across were vegetarian only as well, so I had to settle. It was an Italian place, I KNOW I KNOW, I didn't want to eat here, but I lost the vote. I got Olgio Olio, but it was very simple and not nearly as spicy as they had promised. I have asked all my meals in the last two days to be EXTRA spicy, and I have yet to be impressed. Finally after an hour we had given our orders and after another 30 minutes some of us started getting our food. It took at least 2 hours for everyone to finish eating, at which point it was nearly 9:30. We went back to the hotel but were not able to buy any more alcohol even coke since everywhere closes at 8:00. We got everybody up to the rooftop again and ordered some cokes their. We had several bottles of Vodka and Whiskey from earlier and drank that. We played drinking games and talked for hours. I was actually the first person to leave the group for bed. It was about 1:40 and I think the others must have stayed until at least 2:00 in the morning. It was an OK time, I'm not really into drinking, and wine is expensive here, so I'll have to adjust. Last night I got in to a deep and 'heated' debate/discussion with Dave, the only other American on our trip, about some hot topics. He grew up in and has family in Youngstown, but has lived outside of America for a couple years. We mostly discussed national health care and how he (as well as everybody else in the conversation) felt it was a human right and that it should be free. If you know me at all you know how I had a field day with this. I discussed competition and efficiency and how if the government controlled health care it surely and inevitably result in doctors having pre-set salaries provided by the government, which would in turn decrease or completely eliminate all competition within medicine. This would then drive down the standards and would finally result in poorer health case for the people. It would mean higher rates paying for less efficient/capable doctors. Technical advances in medicine would slow to a crawl since there would be no private interest the matter, etc, etc, etc. His main argument was, though not in his words, 'Doctors [should] go to school to help people and not to make a lot of money". It got me so pissed I was shocked I was able to contain myself. I was asking why he didn't go and get a higher form of education or for that matter a more lucrative, and thus more challenging, career. He said he was smart enough and 'had the grades', but didn't want to spend, or waste, his next 8 years to become a doctor. I asked him, "So the doctors 'waste' 8 years or more of their lives in order to better serve those that have your mentality, where you would rather travel and settle for a lower skilled job?". He would have the "few" elite sacrifice their lives (or at least much of it studying) for the benefit of society so everyone can get health care. I asked him if he would think the same if he were a, he said he would...but I just said you wouldn't be a doctor because you wouldn't want to waste your own 8 years. Ok Ok, I'll stop, but it got me SOOO mad. I've noticed most of the travelers I have met in the last 5 weeks have very Utopian view of the world and believe in socialism (even though they don't like to call it that). Though I find it quite funny that EVERYONE of these travelers also would benefit from their 'ideas', and hold lower-earning jobs. The few that I've met that have been doctors or well-off business men do not hold these views. Many of these 'socialist' travelers feel they are more 'worldly' and more 'knowledgeable' than the professionals, doctors, lawyers, etc. I get so bothered by this, because when others are striving to be the best they can and to achieve high status/ high skilled professions these 'socialists' are taking unskilled labor jobs just to fund their year or so of traveling. And they do this for much of their lives. They are worry free, contributing to society very minimally, and these are the people that think EVERYBODY should be GIVEN things for free, since the high paid professionals SHOULD want to help people and it's not about the money. Hippocrates would have a field day with these people. UGH. O well THAT'S the ranting that at least one person voted for. haha.

2nd Day in Jaisalmer
Today started very late. I got out of bed past 11:00 and went across the street for a nice huge breakfast. I was quite hungry since the dinner last night wasn't really a meal (since there was no meat in my pasta). My breakfast included a large mineral water, tomato and cheese omelet on toast with french fries and baked beans in some ketchup-like sauce. I ate it all, though will be full for the next week. My entire meal cost 85 Rps. ($1.70) and I have him a 100 Rp. bill and asked for 5 back. A while ago I would think asking for 5 Rp. back would be kind of pointless/rude since it's only a dime, but prices are all relative here. After breakfast I walked around and bought the book "The White Tiger" off the street. I traded in a book that another traveler gave me back in Lao and paid a total of 200 Rp for the book, though it's probably a bootleg. I've heard great things about this book so I'll try to read it over the next few days. I sat
on a curb to read the book and was approached by at least 8 different people over the course of 2 hours. All of them were young men, between the ages of 19-24. At first I thought they were going to try to sell me something, then I thought they were going to try to rob me, but 'most' of them just wanted to talk with me. One of them was 20 years old and we spoke for at least an hour. I let him listen to my Ipod. He told me he worked at a stone cutting factory outside the city and that his father owned it. We discussed India and American and how wages were different. I met his brother who is studying at University, but comes to help with another family business, selling fabrics in the market across from where I was sitting. I must have spent the better part of my day talking with people in the markets, outside shops, and just on the street. Bought a pack of henna that I'm going to bring home. Maybe some wants a temporary (several weeks) tattoo? I am going to find a place to get a henna tattoo, but all the places were too busy or closed today. I just bought a lonely planet for Rajasthan + Delhi + Agra off the street and am in the shop's back on their computer right now. They wanted 850 Rps. for it ($17 USD) and the book says it sells for $23.99 in the states. The book is new and genuine and only a couple years old. I was able to negotiate 670 Rp. ($13 USD) for the book and 1 free hour of Internet. Tomorrow we go on the camel safari through the Thar Desert.

I really like the people here in Jaisalmer. They are friendly, for the most part, and the city is much more relaxed and quiet. Though it's a little bothersome to be caught behind a street cow in a tunnel when I'm trying to get somewhere and have to wait behind. You can see a photo of some cows just 'chilling' on the left.

I'll stop with the ranting and let you go in peace. Cheers!


Sleeper Train to from Delhi to Jaisalmer

Sleeper Train
We met outside our hotel at 4:00 to leave for the sleeper train. I stopped by a convenient store for some munchies. I go ta diet Pepsi, and some cookies and chocolate bars. Others got sodas and cookies as well as well as some pringles. We took two local taxis to the train station, which took 45 or so minutes and then we had to walk up and down several flights of stairs to get to our platform. Finally we had arrived, but without ample time to buy dinner to take on the train with us. We all gave our guide, Ajit, 150 Rps ($3 USD) for some dinner and he ran to get us some food, just making the train. The food was quite good, though packaged in a plastic TV-dinner like tray with shrink wrapping. The train left a little before 6. The train was quite insane. It wasn't as packed as I had thought it would be, mostly because many people had arrived during periodic stops. There were 6 of us to a 'room', though it was not quite a room. It was completely open to the public and there were not even dividing sheets like there had been in Thailand. 3 people sat on the lower bunks. We were getting looks from EVERYBODY. There were no other white people on the entire train. The Indians starting going to bed around 8 and 9, but were up much later. Out of respect we decided to set up the beds at 10:30 and by 11:00 all the lights were off. I slept in the middle bunk, with one above me and one under me. There was just enough room for me to sit up if and only if I was slouching very much and sitting Indian style. The bunks were supported by hinges on one side and held up by two metal chain links on the other side. Although one of my links was longer than the other so all of my weight was supported with only one cable. The girl below me didn't like this so we managed to get some duct tape and tape the support chain to the bed. Though this wasn't structural, if the one link failed, the other chain would be in place to take the weight. We all got along great last night, and it's great being among the older travelers, such respect I get. Some girl had broken her camera such that the lens wouldn't close and I was able to fix it. That coupled with the fact that I was able to do a Rubik's cube that some girl brought along impressed the girls. Maybe I'll be able to play that for all it's worth. Hahah. We woke up and managed to occupy ourselves until the train arrived at our final destination, Jaisalmer.

1st Day in Jaisalmer, India

The most obvious thing about this area is that it's in the middle of a desert. As we got off the train there were stray cows everywhere, even in the train station. We arrived at our hotel within the fort and I received my own room, yippee. Since there are 3 guys and we all paid for doubles, we will be rotating who gets the single. We will be staying in this hotel for 3 days (only two nights). Tomorrow is a free day and the day after that we take a camel ride through the Thar Desert. I think we're actually on the camel for 3-4 hours. I have been on a camel before and trust me, they're not comfortable to ride. We met for lunch today on the top of our 'guest house' and after Ajit took us for a walk through the city. Tomorrow I think I'll go into one temple, get an Indian massage, and I'll figure the rest out as it comes. India doesn't really make their own wine so it's very expensive here, which is unfortunate, for me that is. Also, it's quite hard to find liquor and beer, so it's going to be quite different from South East Asia. I am not a liquor person and that is what everybody seems to be buying. The beer is hard to keep cold since there are no refrigerators in our rooms. You probably don't know this but most tour companies provide several levels of trips:

  1. Basic - no frills, as much public transportation as possible, nothing included

  2. Standard - higher level of comfort, more private transportation, etc

  3. Comfort - nice hotels, no public transportation, many activities provided
My first trip was of the Standard level, while this trip is of the Basic level. I don't see it being a problem at all, but thought I would just add that little factoid. I figured my expenses for all of Indochina and Thailand for the 34 days and I came out exactly on budget (but that's including the cost of my suit). I am very happy about that. I will likely not spend as much in India as I had originally anticipated. Also, all of India is 10 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Cleveland time. I know it's kind of weird, but just add 10:30 to your clock to get my time.


Welcome to Delhi, India

En Route to India
I opted in taking a shuttle bus to the air port to save some extra money. It left at 4:00 in the morning and it was about 15 minutes from my guest house so I was up VERY early. I ended up getting to the stop and noticed people were still out for the night just able to stumble on home after a night of drinking. I was propositioned by 3 prostitutes, one that I KNOW was a lady by her, hmm, his 'package'. I met a French girl who studies in Australia and is traveling for holiday and a local Thai boy who is traveling to Korea for 6 days while on the shuttle. We checked0in to our separate flights and said our goodbyes as we headed to our own gates. While in line at immigrations I met a girl who grew up in Carmel, California but has lived in Asia for the last 4 or 5 years teaching English, French, and Spanish. She's planning on teaching yoga for the next year on a Thai island. She gave me some tips for when traveling in India. She forewarned me that I will get diarrhea at some point, but just make sure to be prepared so I can get better asap. I walked to my gain, but before security I got a nice ice cream cone from DQ, since I didn't know how long it would be before I would be able to get one. Even thought it was vanilla I enjoyed every last lick. I was carefully searched and by bag thoroughly searched when I went through security, but was through in no time. I patiently waited until I was able to take my seat on the flight. I selected a window seat, but could have sat anywhere on the account that the airplane was largely under-booked. (just a side not, I had a mouse crawl across my toes just 5 seconds ago as I was typing the last sentence). I got a very heavy delightedly maroon blanket and was fast asleep before I even heard the pilot say anything about preparing for takeoff. I woke up and we were already in the air. I guess those noise-cancelling headphones can do magic. I had the meal on the plane which included some chicken, steamed rice and vegetables, and of course a roll. I ate then went back to sleep...the flight was only 4.5 hours and when I arrived in India I was slightly refreshed. I hadn't slept too well the previous night since I had to wake up sharply at 3:00 and probably wasn't fully asleep until well after 12:00.

Arriving In Delhi
I went to the bathroom in Delhi only to find squat toilets...yippie! After waiting in line and going through immigrations I got my luggage and exchanged the remaining 470 baht I had left in my pocket. I was largely ripped off, but what could I do, I probably only lost 3 dollars or so in converting my money to rupees. For the record there are ~50 Rs. to $1 US dollar. I walked down an ales where there must have been 50 people holding signs and waving their hands to get peoples' attention. I found my name and walked towards the young man holding the sign. He introduced himself and was the nephew of a Mr. Arora, who is a very close friend with my Uncle Marc. I followed him to a Toyota van and he introduced me to the driver, Mr. Kamal. He didn't speak English, but I guess I was OK with that at the time. Mr. Kamal dropped off the nephew and I was on my own with the driver. We drove around the city for a while and then pulled inside a gated housing community where we must have taking at least 6 or 7 turns before stopping. Another man met me and opened the door for me. He took my luggage upstairs and Mr. Kamal showed me upstairs to my room. I had passed a woman cleaning and said Namastay and continues past her. My room had a queen (or possibly even a king) sized bed, color TV with cable and a wooden entertainment system built around it. There were nicely carved wooden chairs with fine red velvet and an in-wall closet. There was also a nice bathroom with western-style toilet, a shower, as well as a separate tub. The entire time I was being asked what I wanted to eat/drink. I finally said coffee is fine. They came out with a tray of coffee, a light sandwich, and some biscuits. The sandwich had cheese and tomatoes on a light white bread, the biscuits were just crunchy vanilla type (and there must have been an entire plateful), but the coffee was aimed to impress. There was a very nice coffee cup, with gold painted fine china legs, such that the body of the cup rested half an inch above the fine china coffee plate. I must say that it was coffee, but not what I had expected. It was frothy and tasted like a cappuccino. The man who carried my bags in gave me the remote and kept coming to check in on me and asking if I needed anything. Mr. Arora called me and said that I may use Mr. Kamal to drive me anywhere I wanted to go, but I knew I would be seeing Delhi later and wanted to enjoy the nice relaxing bed. At one point the guy even placed the covers of the bed over my legs...wow was I being pampered. They had a tough time understanding why I wasn't going to stay the night. Again they asked what I wanted to eat for lunch...I thought I already just done that? I wasn't able to communicate well with them so I just went along with it, even though I was stuffed. I said I am fine with whatever and said I had no restrictions. Finally Mr. Kamal instructed me to follow him and we drove off. We pulled up to a restaurant and parked. He walked me inside but had to go back to re-park the car as a policeman was yelling at him. I took a seat in the restaurant, but wasn't sure if he was going to be joining me for lunch or not? I figured it was not. I was in a t-shirt and khaki shorts with sandals. I looked around to see everybody else in pants and mostly business formal ware. This was a upscale place and it was obvious. There where three younger people in the place next to me, but I could tell from one of their Mont Blonc shopping bags that they had some money. I ordered chicken in spiced chilli sauce and an order of nan and two diet cokes. I was soo impressed with the food. It may have been the best meal I've had in the last month? Before my meal came I was served some red small onion and a green salad dressing. I wasn't sure what to do with it, but just ate it up and it was very flavourful. I was prepared to pay for my meal, but Mr. Kamal came in from waiting outside the door and quickly paid before I was given the check. After Mr. Kamal had left I asked my waiter if he was tipped and he nodded that he hadn't so I left him 100 Rs. This is equivalent to 2 dollars, I think the meal was maybe 9 dollars or so. This was a very nice tip for him, and I wasn't even sure if he was telling me the truth, but I wanted to pay something, that and he looked just like an Indian version of Mario Lopez. Mr. Kamal drove me back to my room and I watched some Indian tv for a while while I wrote in my journal. I kept telling him that I wanted to be at the hotel at 5:00, but it was 4:30 and he hadn't come for me. I had someone get him and told him I wanted to leave, but he said, "no no 1 hour 30 minutes left". I don't think he understood, but I just told him I wanted to leave now. I was on my way to meet my new group.

Meeting My Group in India
I had to go to several ATMs in order to find one that would pay out the 20,000 Rp that I needed (18,000 Rp. just for a last payment for the trip). I went to drop off my bags and get freshened up when I met my roommate in the room. His name is Sam, is 19 years old, and is from Essex, England. I think we'll get along famously (very good thing). We went down to meet the other at 6:00 and for the group meeting. To my surprise many of the people on the trip were younger than I (very different that from my last trip). There are twins from London who at 19, a girl traveling on her own from London as well and she is 23.. ( ;)wink wink ;) )! Three girls traveling from Norway who are 19 years old, A Scottish girl who is studying in Australia came with her Aussie friend and their both 22 (but with boyfriends). There is a 26 year old German who just finished up her degree. There is one other boy, a 25 year old American who has been living and working outside the of the States for a couple years. Get this...he's from Ohio...YOUNGSTOWN OHIO! Quite coincidental since we've BOTH only come across a hand full of US travellers. So in total there are 9 girls and only 3 guys. We all went out to eat, but I only got some type of bread (other than nan) and a water since I was still quite full from my two lunches earlier. Afterwards we went on the top of our hotel where they served beer. I have been getting along amazingly with all of them and I can feel that we will be very close this next 3 weeks. We joked and and talked and just had a great time. I can definitely detect the younger ages in the group, but it's OK. It's not that they're not mature, it's that they lack a lot of experience. Most of them are on their GAP year. For those of you that don't know what that is, it's a year of traveling after high school and before starting university. Everyone on trip is traveling for at least 5 weeks, and some for several months. My roommate, Sam, traveled with a group to Egypt for the last two weeks, and will be traveling Thailand after this trip. Many of the girls here are a bit tall, but I don't think it will bother me after a while. And I mean tall...maybe 5'10", maybe taller. After having a couple drinks the majority of people went to bed, but Sam and I offered some to come down and play cards in our room. 4 girls came along and the 6 of us played cards for a little over an hour. We finally said our good nights at 12:30.

We got up at 8:00, washed up, and repacked for the day. We had breakfast, but then had to hurry down and check-out of the hotel since we'd be in the city all day. We walked to the metro (train station) and took a train several stops down and had to transfer onto another train line. We first went to India's largest Muslim Mosque, Jama Masjid (see photo on left), which was built by the same buy who built the Taj Mahal. We could see the Red Fort, which was beautiful, but I chose not to go in since it was $5 and I didn't think it was worth it. Next we walked to the Hindi Temple Guru Bhawra, where people from all over and all faiths came come for free food. Afterwards the group split up and I walked around with Sam and Lisa (the girl from Germany). We tried to find an Internet cafe, but finally gave up after over an hour. We hailed a tuk-tuk, or motorized rickshaw, and went to the metro station. The 4 km ride took more than 30 minutes. The traffic here is indescribable. Horns going off in every directions, people crossing at a whim. I have noticed the people here are not friendly. In Indochina they at least will walk around you. Here we have to walk around them, even time, they make no effort to move. I have been working on my 'stiff shoulder' because I will only move half way. If they want to be hit, that's up to them, all it takes is for them to move that other half way. I hope my opinion of the Indians gets better because I have very little respect for them. It may just be that in Delhi it is a different culture. They are not welcoming and not approachable. I was also under the impression that many of them speak English. This is completely wrong, some speak broken English, but that's about the best you can hope for. Maybe it's just that since 17 million people live in the city, the people tend to be colder...like how NYC is? One can only hope. On the way to the Internet cafe we were accosted by children and beggars alike. They were trying to sell us stuff and wouldn't leave us alone even though I asked politely 5 or 6 times (or many a hundred). Finally I put out my hand and said "Thou shall not pass". Surprisingly they stayed exactly where I placed my hand and finally stopped bothering us. Some of the older man showed us books, similar to journals, where people were supposedly commenting how great their 'services' were. They were trying to clean our ears. I couldn't get over the fact that someone would actually let this dirty person stick an even dirtier piece of metal and cotton into their ears and 'clean them'. They just would not leave us alone even though we pleaded. I noticed many swarming around us and I didn't like this so I placed my backpack in front of me and placed my hand in my pockets guarding my valuables. I told them they can do damage if they cleaned out all the wax, but it was useless. The German girl actually fell for it and got it done. It was because of this that Sam and I couldn't leave and had to wait around while being accosted. I was shocked that I never snapped at them and that I was able to keep my cool the entire time. I need to device another way to brush them off that doesn't involve me having to leave the area. I may get a spray bottle that one would use to scold a jumpy kitty and just spray them when they approached me. I mean no disrespect to many of the Indians, but they truthfully have no idea what it's like to be a tourist in their country. I have not seen many westerners AT ALL since I've been here since much of the tourism comes from within their own country. We are meeting at 4:00 back at the hotel and taking a taxi from there to our next stop--A 20 hour overnight sleeper train. We are taking a 3rd class train that sleeps 3 vertically and I am going to pick up food beforehand, since there is no food service on the train.

Also, shorts are not appropriate while walking in temples or any holy areas. It seems that it's even frowned upon to wear shorts on the street as well so I may have to buy a pair of light-weight linens. I am going to die of these heat. After the train ride (maybe a day after) we will be taking an overnight dessert trek on camels and will be camping out along the way. I'll do my best to keep you posted, but Internet access here is VERY spotty.