Livia and I went to the train station at 6am to find out our train to Amritsar was cancelled ue to flooding. As usual people were adament the tourist booking office was closed, which in fairness, it was. One guy reckoned there was a 24 hour emergency one ouf the the station, across the road, and above a food shop- very 'official'. They also reckoned all the later trains would be cancelled, but conveniently had a bus leaing in 10 minutes that cost 1250Rs!! (as opposoe to the 100Rs train). So we naturally got the hell out of there, went to eat downstairs and waited for the actual booking office to open. We decided we couldn't travel north, so put our Rajasthan plan (that we just developed) into action and booked a ticket to Ajmer, so we could get to Pushkar, for later that day.
After waiting for ages in the nice air-conditioned office, we went to eat again on that rooftop cafe and got some Westrn food. I actually seem unable to eat large amounts of Indian food becauses it's always so spicy and it's far too hot for that. It goes against my principles of eating only local food, but hey, I do try, a girl's gotta eat. We then got the crowded metro to Old Delhi station where we were still way too early for our train, so we casually went to the massive public library. It was pretty cool to get a sense of everyday real life in India. All the books were like 1000 years old and we saw someone steal one, probably to sell.
After reading a bit and using up their fans, we went to the station still 30 minutes early and got on the train where we met fellow BP Dean (Gok Wan) who was way too stylish and wearing ridiculously tight jean shorts that couldn't have been comfortable.
I proceeded to mop myself free of sweat with my scarf and bought some water and pretended to be one of the train water sellers shouting "paniiiii paniiiii" to Livia and passed her some through the window which resulted in people staring. They're going to stare anyway, might as well entertain ourselves in the process. We then settled/melted onto our plastic seats of sleeper class for the next 8 hours. A nanima, and dadima squished into our 'compartment' with about 5 massive suitcases, and 2 LCD televisions, I joked that they were probably moving house, which later on, we discovered they were!
The train began to slowly move and Dean/Gok Wan laughed at all mine and Livia's jokes and Asia 1.0 stories and he kept getting frustrated because he couldn't get good pictures because of the bars on the carriage window haha.
The scenery rolled past, and soon we left Delhi, the slums, the piles of rubbish, and the smell of shit behind, and entered Rajasthan: colourful, saried women working in the fields; small towns with piles of people waiting by the train crossing; children walking along the tracks; people clambering in and out of the train; and countless walls painted in advertisements for bicycles. What's that? Silence and tranquility from the loss of motors? Thank you.
More people piled into our bit of the train and played their music and laughed when Livia and I did the chal chaiyya chaiyya song thingy and we talked to them for a bit and they bought some Indian food thing for us :) I got a bit restless so went and sat in the doorway, yes, the ACTUAL train doorway. You know, the ones in England that get LOCKED shut and have warning signs telling you not to lean on them in case they accidently open.
Well yeah, I decided to hang out there (quite literally) with my legs dangling out and my head almost getting chopped off and the most amazing breeze, and a majestic breathtaking view of... well, life. After a while, a police officer/random guy in uniform with a beater stick came and shouted at me in Hindi and did the usual head and hand movements that vary from meaning yes, no, okay, thank you, move, come here. This one was the 'MOVE' variety, and he had a beater stick so I scuttled off and the train soon stopped which is why he wanted me to move, because otherwise I would have been a casuality of the stampeed.
Oh yeah, sometime during the journey we realised from the shadow of the train that there were people sittong on the roof! It started raining at some point and we watched them all do some spiderman action and climb down through the door.
Our friends also got off somewhere and there were goodbye all around like we'd known them for years which was nice. It felt like we belonged and were no longer just 'gori'. All that was left now were the originals: Me and Livia, Gok Wan, Nanima and Dadima. Nanima took a nap and had her feet all up in my space (I hate feet) so I moved to one of the upper bunks and also took a nap. Gok Wan got of at Jaipur
, and we rolled into Ajmer at about 11pm. We helped Nanima and Dadima move there stuff of the train, and they pointed us in the direction of the town centre/where the hotels were. Now, from the title, you may have thought "Where's the weird/scary part" well this is where it begins.
We left the station, and crossed the road via a bridge, where some woman thought it was okay to literally grab me and start stroking my arm.
Not okay. Obviously the auto-rickshaw drivers saw gori's and assumed we wanted to go to Pushkar (which we did) but were charging an extortionate price, in which case it was cheaper for us a find somewhere to bed down and get the bus in the morning. After bumping into a few cows, we went into some sort of hotel looking building, which I think was some sort of brothel/strip club; there were about 20 men drinking beers and there were posters of naked women- either way we didn't want to stay. The next few places were fully booked, I even asked if I could just sleep on the sofa in the hotel lobby of one place but they thought we were joking. We walked round for a bit, and literally everywhere was fully booked. We found out it's because there was a teacher test or something, and pretty much the whole of Rajasthan had come to Ajmer.
After haggling for ages with one of the autorickshaws, we eventually settled on however much it was to take us to Pushkar. However, the rickshaw driver's "friend" squished into the back with us, stinking of alcohol, was absolutely smashed, and was the biggest CREEP ever. He kept trying to put his arm round Livia and me, and we told him to get out, and told the rickshaw driver to make him get out. Livia then thought now would be a good idea to tell me, that earlier when I was napping, Dadima had told her a story of some girls who got kidnapped and were taken to a brothel or something along those lines... Cheers. Oh yeah, I should perhaps mention that it was PITCH black, we'd somehow diverted from the main road, midnight, and we had know idea where we were. If we were to jump out, what we would do then? I think the closest I'd been to this scared, was when we first started travelling and got in that crazy taxi from the Vietnam border, or perhaps the Cambodian rabid dog chasing us.
Not even creepy David and his pal the creepy tuk tuk driver from Kep (who followed us to the next town) even came close. Anyway, after much arguing, and Livia casually getting her pen knife out of her pocket, the drunken guy finally got out at the hospital (mental hospital perhaps?). Our rickshaw driver was actually quite nice (if he actually got rid of that asshole) and we joked as the chugga chugga sounds got louder and louder as we tried to go up a hill at 5 miles per hour. Eventually we got to Pushkar, I think some 'entry' fee was paid. I don't know. I didn't care. The guy said he'd take us to a good hotel. Whatever. I was past caring if I slept in a dumpster by this point. I just wanted to be away from Ajmer, and away from creeps. We went to a hotel, got a room, and slept.