Hits 1739 | Created 1995-11-01 | Modified 2007-05-24
From my journal, travelling in India,. 1995
28th November 1995.
Over Europe Somewhere.
I feel confident enough that we're really actually going to get there, now that we're in the air, to start my India journal. It seems that it is all really going to happen, as long as the epic Turkmenistan flight doesn't throw up any spanners.
The last few days have been busy, running round to pay cash for the airline tickets and worrying about the dodginess of the whole set-up. But, it's worked.
Flight was delayed by only half an hour, which, considering the quality of the outfit, I thought quite good. Small plane (six seats across). Next refuel stop, Kiev (so rumour has it).
There was a half hearted life-jacket display, but there seem to be no life-jackets under our seats. I just can't wait to see the food, really.
The plane is packed out with entire Indian families, and a handful of tripped out looking traveller types. It is 10.30pm now. No fags until Russia.
4.50am. The Ukraine, Kiev.
The plane decided to stop in part of the old USSR to refuel - no-one seemed to know about this. It's -1 outside and we've gained two hours, and spent about two more waiting around big, cold airports with lots of military looking people standing about. Some chaps had a sneaky smoke - I wonder what the Ukraine says about dope?
Flight food was good (plain) curry style, free can o' beer too. Now waiting for take off which seems delayed for some reason.
3.20pm. Turkmenistan airport.
Well, we arrived here on time, but are now being forced to endure a six hour wait to fly out again, on our plane, which is sitting just outside here, refuelled and ready to go.
Turkmenistan is a strange country. Vast stretches of desert, then vast ranges of mountains with a few towns and cities in-between. It is not very warm (sun, but chilly) and there are lots more Soviet looking types marching round in uniforms, but still no sign of guns. Just been fed a bit of a meal (minus the meaty bit) - very hard bread...
(Just got moved off the window ledge by a soldier).
...tomato juice, a biscuit, some sweets, an orange (very small) and some suspect fizzy water which I'm sipping on now.
This means we get into Delhi at about 10.30pm - great huh?
30th November 1995.
Went with Brian and some Guy he was meeting at the airport (Brian = the guy we sat next to on the flight) to the 'Tourist Camp', near the centre of Delhi. 140 Rs for a room each night (Less than £1.50 each). Basic, quiet and secure, it is. Just had breakfast of masala omelette and very sweet chai for 20 Rs (40p). Yes, it's cheap, warm and dandy. Booked in for another night and am (we) are going into town to look at train times etc.
It's a very mad place indeed.
Just had our first run into Delhi to see about getting a train to Pushkar. Overwhelming place. Our cab driver (auto rickshaw) found out we were travelling and after tickets, so took us to his friend's good booking agents, then we wanted to walk to Par Ganj, and he offered us a free lift there, discovered we were doing a bit of shopping and whisked us off to his friend's cottage industry shop, where Anjila bought an overpriced sari (nice though). The guy was still outside and gave us a free ride back to the train station (finally!). He must have been on a nice commission.
People wouldn't let us get to the booking office with tales of 'no, no, Indians only up there,' and 'no, no, if you book there you have to turn up two hours early and try to "jump on the train"' (this may still be true).
Anyway, after a couple of hours in the booking office and one complicated system later, we got two tickets to Pushkar for 790 Rs for the pair (£7.50-ish, each for a 7 and a half hour journey of 300km? Hmm).