A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving India


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This is my last day of dodging cow dung (well mostly cow I think), auto-rickshaws, street vendors, beggars and eating bland food. For tomorrow I will be in Singapore. Looking forward to some Malay and South Indian food ... the North Indian stuff is nice but rather subtle for me.

Don't get me wrong ... I enjoyed India ... in fact I enjoy it more each time (this is my third time). Some things are much better in small doses (with repeats, as the pharmacist would say).

Also, gotta watch where I throw things ... not that I litter in India voluntarily. On the train last night from Jaisalmer [Jaisalmer-travel-guide-483129] to Delhi, I ordered a dinner which came in two shoe boxes (well, kiddy shoes). After I finished (or ate as much as I could), I took the boxes to the back of the train and struggled to fit it into the bin with a tiny opening. The helpful suited conducted opened the door and beckoned me to throw the two boxes and contents out!

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

In the Newspapers (again)


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Here are some interesting snippets from the Indian newspapers.

China

There was comment that Chinese generally mistrust India. There are two apparent reasons:

* Chinese children are taught in their school history lessons that India was aggressive in how they secured the lands (Tibet-like areas in the North East) near China. They aren't taught about Tibet in a very different perspective though.
* Chinese have an inferiority-complex when they view themselves against Indians. This is due to the richness India's culture and besides India gave them Buddha. Hhmmm ... I don't quite buy this one.

Matrimonials

Arranged marriages are still the norm in India. Looking a the Matrimonials (ie. Personals) ads in the newspaper, I couldn't help noticing that most of the responses were to be directed to Mrs X (presumably the mother of the seeking party). It is very competitive and attributes boasted or sought include::

* qualifications (MBA, IT ... even for girls, and convent-educated ... for girls only I guess),
* caste (if Hindu, presumably),
* religion (Sikh, Syrian Catholic, born-again Christian, Shite, Sunni etc),
* language (Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam etc)
* other features (Australian PR, USA H1 Visa).

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

The Golden City


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large_5550_11661356523575.jpgJaisalmer is has many lovely mansions or havelis.
Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer is much like Jodhpur [Jodhpur-travel-guide-483695], crowned with a fort on top of a hill. Well, it was somewhat in reverse for me ... in Jodhpur I stayed on the flat an looked up at the fort but in Jaisalmer [Jaisalmer-travel-guide-483129], I stayed in the fort and looked down into the small town and the desert. It is known as the Golden City as the city is largely built from golden sandstone.

The highlight of Jaisalmer was staying in a 500 year old haveli (mansion) that has been in the family for some 17 generations. It certainly had that "uh oh" factor when I walked in the front door ... was rather old and dingy ... but I had a large bedroom, small sitting / dining room and a bathroom.large_5550_11661356523576.jpgThe low doors in "my" mansion act as security features ... you get clobbered if you are an intruder.It was all very basic but had all the atmosphere I had wished for.

Ancient Home Security Features

Many haveli interior doors are quite small and one has to stoop to get through, rationale being as follows - the person entering gets to bow and show respect to the household. Further, intruders are forced to stoop and can get clubbed while trying to break in!

In the palace, I also noticed that the Maharaja's bed was quite small. He would sleep with his feet hanging of the end so that if intruders tied him to the bed, he could attempt to stand up (with the bed tied behind him) and defend himself!

The Desert

Jaisalmer is also where people normally go camel-trekking into the desert. I gave this a miss because I have:

* been to and slept in far better deserts (real dunes with no scrubs).
* been on camels (briefly).
* eaten delicious meals cooked in very basic Indian kitchens.
* seen my cat pooh in the sand.

I figured I could combine all that in my head to form the typical Jaisalmer desert outing. Strangely, after I had decided on this, I met a Belgian couple that told me not to go ... half hour on a camel in the heat is enough (even though they enjoyed the night in the desert).

So I spent most of my time relaxing and roaming in Jaisalmer. Why roast when you can chill?

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

The blue city


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Jodhpur is known as the Blue City. The highest caste, the Brahmins, painted their houses in blue.

The main attraction in Jodhpur [Jodhpur-travel-guide-483695] is the Fort (Meherangarh) on top of the hill. The workmanship is very intricate and the buildings rich in history. It was built in the 1800s and houses several palaces.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

Pooja Trap & Being Vegetarian


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Pushkar Pooja Trap

The heart of Pushkar [Pushkar-travel-guide-492136] is a holy lake ... this is the scene of the biggest tourist trap which I'll call the Pushkar Pooja Trap. Holy men (and those pretending to be) will accost visitors on the streets and hand them a marigold then strike up a conversation about how many family members they have. The victim is then taken to the lake where a blessing (pooja) is made for each declared family member. One pays at least INR100 (about EUR1.50) per pooja, which is horrendously high by Indian standards ... that's about a plate of chicken tikka in a flash restaurant.

Some wristbands are given to the victim (seemingly as an evidence of victimisation to prevent further victimisation!)

I kept my hands in my pockets or had them wrapped around the straps of my bag while walking around the more notorious parts of town ... and managed to get away scot-free.

Vegetarian Town

In keeping with the strict Hindu faith, no meat or eggs are served in Pushkar. Pancakes are made without eggs ... eggless wonders! However, I saw cakes in one bakery ... I had been told that they use custard powder instead, not acknowledging that it contains eggs. Also I doubt the gooey cheese on pizzas served in town are rennet-free either. Not my problem.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

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