Thanks to a very sweet girl, Gauri, Ville and I experienced a very different Delhi than most. Gauri is Indian and lives in Delhi very close to the amazing Hostel Mustache she recommended (if ever in Delhi you must stay here, the staff is fabulous and it is a much needed place to relax, unplug, meet with fellow travelers, with 5 star accommodation!)
Gauri picked us up to go to yoga, unfortunately a flat tire took us a minor detour from that, but back on the road she took us to the best market in Delhi, Sarojini Nagar Market, with incredibly cheap clothes and we loaded up on warm weather things for Darjeeling and Nepal. Next, our tour guide took us to a food festival near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (where big matches of cricket are played, the nations most enthralling sport!) After stuffing our pretty little faces, we headed to the trendy Hauz Khas Village. It seemed like a hip new area of restaurants, bars, and places where hip, young Indians come to either work in an innovative start-up space, grab (expensive in relation to everything else) drinks with friends, or hang out in the old fort near a lake and smoke cigarettes. It was our most fun yet getting to meet a local and get the inside scoop on the cultural norms, the places to go and just what its like to be an Indian today. Thanks Gauri for being awesome!!
Next, we headed on an overnight train to Jaisalmer in the Rajasthan area of India. The train actually went really well compared to our last bus experience, and we even roomed with a nice middle aged Indian couple in the same berth who only spoke Hindi, but who needs words when body language says it all. Finally, Jaisalmer was quite a bit less crowded than the last few cities and we were able to check into a guesthouse near the fort and take a deep breathe. I can't even explain how nerve racking it is to walk out the door and head ANYWHERE in India without being here to experience it firsthand. The maddening honking from every direction. Motorbikes, cars, tuk tuks, cows, people, and every other thing you can imagine packed onto roads meant maybe for one car. And there is no order or rules. It's just step on the gas, break hard, and honk. A lot. Being a walker here is taking your life in everyone else's hands constantly. It's crazy how the madness comes together somehow and works, but really inefficiently. But it works.
Jaisalmer's Fort was pretty cool. People are still living in it and the narrow stone streets are littered full of people selling blankets, clothes, jewelry, and the likes to all the passing tourists. And yes, whities, but also we have seen lots of Indian tourists on our travels. And boy do they love to take pictures with us! But no, really, they do. It's the weirdest thing. And not just because word is out that Ville is a visiting male model from Sweden, but because they want to take the pictures home and show them off to friends we have been told. You will see we added one such pic above with a huge Indian family. Do we know them, of course not! They just asked to take pictures with us. Finally getting the attention we deserve. :)
The second night Ville and I did a camel safari where two young lads, whom we nicknamed (Dad you would be proud) Camel Warrior who is 17 and Little D who is 12, took us out on camels to sleep a night out on the dunes. On the way out of town we passed a gypsy village (Zoltan, we asked if they knew you) and met some pretty cute kids. Once on camels, Ville, aka Omar the camel trader, was a natural. He was like one with the camel. Riding a camel is like riding a horse with a strut. Pretty bumpy. And getting up and down was a trip. Camel Warrior and Little D were super into sunglasses, cell phones, and camera. Camel Warrior told us how in a couple years his father will decide on the girl he will marry from another village. He made us promise to come to his wedding. We said we will bring him a goat. He followed up a phone call the next day to make sure we will still be coming to his wedding.
These two boys cooked us a mean meal of curry vegetable, naan bread, and chai. It was great! And we got to sleep on a moonless night out under the stars. It was like PCT all over again, but with camels. Our ride back into town was fun, and Ville said that camel riding is not for boys. He just might need a new nickname. Anyone?
Until next time...
K.G. & Ville
In Huanaco, Peru. Battered, but still going south.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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