Today we watched scenes of India unfold outside the windows of our bus.
We saw the landscape shift from posh colonial manors to office towers to markets to slums to apartment buildings and universities. Often within moments of each other.
The traffic is insane. Well, actually the drivers are insane. Cars and trucks coming from any direction, sometimes going the wrong way down the highway, or cutting completely across all lanes of traffic to exit. All manner of vehicles are traveling together on the roads – bikes loaded down with cargo, motorized rickshaws stuffed full of people, buses, big trucks, tractors…. and at times camel and donkey carts. Plus wandering cattle… I have to say I’m certainly impressed with our bus driver. That has got to be one stressful job! It was pretty harrowing at times. Our guide also mentioned that the roads are even busier at night when most of the big trucks are coming through and the overnight buses are running. Since there are no streetlights and generally no painted road lines, I shudder to imagine how terrifying that would be.
It is fun though seeing how some of the vehicles have been decorated with brightly coloured tassels and other symbols. Apparently the tassels are to bring luck. I’d be loading down my car with as much luck as possible if I was venturing onto those roads!
We had a few wildlife and other animal sightings:
A few camel carts transporting goods. A couple of elephants coming home from working at the fort.
Monkeys!! By the side of the road several monkeys were eating the bananas given to them by a trucker who stopped to feed them.
Wild boars scavenging garbage near a town.
A herd of sheep.
Lots of cattle. All over.
We also came across a group who was moving their belongings on horseback. They had even bundled their small goats and sheep in what looked like scarves and tied them to the sides of the horses.
There were a few stretching/nature breaks as we made our way to Jaipur but mostly it was just driving.
Our new hotel, a sheraton property, is really quite nice. The rooms are spacious and comfortable if a bit quirky. Oddly the bathroom wall facing the beds is glass. There is a blind to pull down for privacy but if it’s not used you could watch someone using the facilities from the comfort of your own bed! A bit weird, not sure why that’s an option. ; )
I was planning to write more about the tour group and the guide but I’m surprisingly tired for not having accomplished much today. I guess 7 hours in a bus can tire you out!
Tomorrow is an exciting day, we visit the Amber Fort, ride an elephant, tour the pink city, ride a rickshaw and I can’t remember what else. I’m so excited to ride an elephant!! Should be a super fun day!!