Matthew's News and Gossip

Matthew's News and Gossip

A man with no talent, but armed with a digital camera, can waste lots of bandwidth

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Jodphur--So the tavels and travails of being a blogger in India continue. I wrote a long piece this morning, and as I was going to save it, the town had a power cut. The store had an uninteruptable supply, but not attached to the computer I was working on! So all lost--great art needing to be recreated. (My god I'm writing Indian English!)

India, or more accurately Rajasthan:
I feel like I've been here for ever, and maybe I have. I started in dirty noisy crowded Delhi. I hid in a gorgeous 5 star hotel. As I checked into my room at midnight Murdoch's ESPN Star sports was playing the live game of Birmingham v Aston Villa. Brimingham won a scrappy match 3-0, and I finally got to sleep around 3. I got up for breakfast but lunch was in full swing in the coffe shop. That meant there were three tables full out of 25. I looked disdainfully at the menu and asked if I could have fried eggs instead. "With bacon sir?" came back the response. So there I was--watching British TV and eating British breakfast. I went for a swim, hailed a cab, and plunged into India. Taking a cycle rickshaw around Delhi's old market has to be seen to be believed. I'm amazed I'm still alive but I'm even more amazed that everyone else seems to be alive too! Cows, Rickshaws, lorries, bikes, people all rushing crammed into one or two inches of road, that's actually a 3 ft wide path. Above you are incredible tangles of wires--the electric supply which burst into flames in the rain apparently--all around are tiny shops filled with fabrics here, food there, machine shops next to bread shops, 10 tailors then 10 chemists. Of course I got stiffed by my rickshaw wallah, ending up taking him to dinner and buying, but that wasn't as bad as the first rip-off by the guide at the distinctly unimpressive Red Fort. I mistakenly allowed him to pocket a 500 rupee tip because he kept on asking. It was nearly my major expense in India; however after the tip he did twenty minutes of pseudo religious stand-up fortune telling bullshit that was very funny--especially as I wouldn't let him read my palm and he read my face. Dont worry, I am going to be a great man, and America is a great country; but sir, India too will be a superpower! This sir is not from me it comes from the God! (Which God didnt seem to matter much!) More photos from Delhi are here

I've been to three amazing cities besides Delhi. After a hideous overnight bus ride I ended up in Jaipur. Jaipur is called the Pink City but it's hard to see the pink. It does have a nice Palace in the middle with evidence of the incredible wealth of the Marajahas, such as the 5 ft tall silver pots which were in 1902 filled with Ganges water and taken to London so that the King wouldn't have to drink the impure British water, and the 2 Kilos of Gold on ONE wedding jacket! Of course the people starved or died for their marahaja, as they were always at war with each other. It's also full of bustle and hustle. You find lots of best friends in India very quickly, usually driving a Rickshaw or guiding you. They are relatively cheap and some are great, some less so. The honest ones will tell you the cut they are getting when they take you to the shop with the "best prices!" One nice kid called Sandeep showed me the Amber Fort and then of course wanted me to get him a job in the US. On the 5 Rupee (10 cent) bus back to Jaipur, we almost hit another bus head on in an old gate. (In this photo you can see the front of the other bus) 10 minutes of maneuvers just about got us through. Sandeep leaned over to me and said "the problem with people in India is that they don't fear death" There are very few tourists here and the people are all suffering. 1/4 the usual amount of rain from the recently ended monsoon didn't help.

The album from Jaipur is here

I clambered up the Tiger Fort with a random Swedish girl called Mia whom I met while buying my ticket out (which is a great performance in India and must be done in advance). After a very expensive dinner (12$ for two). I went back to my hotel. Luckily the midnight train was late and Terminator 2 was playing on the TV. I went to the station at 2 am, the train was now not arriving till 4.30. The staion stunk and was 33 degrees, but the floor was marble and quite comfortable to sit on.

I woke at about 12 to look out at the desert, then eventually we pulled into Jaisalmer . I was the only tourist on the train and 30 touts and rickshaw drivers descended on me as I got off. They were very confused as I burst into hysterical giggles, but what else could I do?

(I'll update my second week in India soon!)

posted by matthew  # 11:37 PM
Matthew's News and Gossip
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