|karni mata rat temple in Bikaner|
Bikaner was a small town, a little noisier than Jaisalmer but still very nice (I do wish I had stayed in Jaisalmer another day or two). The fort was red sandstone so very pretty. Also visited the Karni Mata temple where all the rats are - it wasn't as creepy as I thought it would be. Since it's a temple, you have to remove your shoes so I was expecting to step in poop, but it was surprisingly clean and only the odd smelly corner. I went in the afternoon, I think it was nap time as the guy I was talking to said that there weren't to many rats around (maybe 250 - 300) but later in the evening, there would be thousands. They didn't seem to care that people were there, the younger ones were playing around and kinda cute. They were brown and not so big.
Also went to a camel research centre, saw some baby camels but otherwise not really worth the trip.
Several travellers I met in the south said that people in the north weren't as friendly which has not been the case (for me anyways). Much fewer people speak English so it's a little harder to find your way or ask questions but that's to be expected. They do stare more here but I seem to be the only foreigner walking around so not surprising. When I realized at 6 pm that I could not get on an non-AC bus to Jaipur (getting very hot, would have been torture) the next morning, I decided to take an overnight train that night and at this late time, would have to go down to the station to see if a ticket was available. The hotel guy offered to come with me, which was so nice and then as we were leaving he said I looked tired, so he went alone and got my ticket. The hotel people in Rajasthan have been more friendly and helpful than anywhere else.
Jaipur was very spread out which meant having to use a rickshaw driver to go almost anywhere. The old city was laid out in straight rows and cross streets - a pleasant surprise - all all these streets were lined with stores - several kilometers! However almost every store person came out to try drag me in, when they started blocking my way to walk by i stopped going there. I was here for Holi and had a very nice rickshaw driver take me around, only a few drunks were really obnoxious and i had a good time. Elephant festival was ok - a tourist attraction - really only a photo op with the elephants and a chance to be up close for while.
I had one day where i didnt' have much to do and couldn't bear walking the streets so I did what i thought was best - went to a mall (not the same as ours but close enough) went for a sorely needed pedicure, McDonald's for fries and a shake and a Starbuck's type place for a frozen drink, came back and asked for a more expensive room with a TV. There is no English news on any TV here so i only found out about the Tsuanami and reactor problems in Japan a few days ago in a newspaper. have othewise been cutoff from the world (which is not always a bad thing).
Love you Bubbba
|In Jaipur, went to the monkey temple - was a bit nervous of them but 3 boys (about 12 years old) sold me some peanuts and said they would come with me so it turned out to be fun.|
|Once I gave them a peanut they would hang on to my pants or my hand, waiting patiently for another.|
|Tilt left - this is the back of the Hawa Mahal.|
|They really were cute and were peaking/coming out of these little cubby holes|