Trading cities for Villages

Back to free wi-fi! Yay!! (Update: I realize I can’t complain since I’m in rural India and to have wi-fi at all is really ridiculous actually – but I’m uploading this at 4 am because everyone else is sleeping and the wi-fi actually works. lol)

I’m a couple of days behind now in my writings…. I’ll do this a little backwards and start with today and work my way back to the days I missed. There’s just so much to cover.

Today was mostly a travel day, first by train and then by bus heading from Agra to Khajuraho with a sightseeing stop in Orchha.

Our train experience wasn’t as crazy as I’d expected. When you have someone else looking after all the logistics and leading you through the crowds to where you need to be you really don’t get the same sense of chaos. It was fun though, another mode of transportation to add to the list on this trip…. plane, bus, elephant, rickshaw, jeep, train…. We had a little different view of the countryside as we cut through, no villages, more farms this way. We were even served a little meal (and yes, I was as excited about my tiny boxed lunch on the train as I was about my airplane meal!). Our other on board excitement was using the facilities. The western toilet was either broken or busy so we all opted to go for the squat toilet. I’ve used them in China but it’s a little different on a moving vehicle. For those of us not blessed with an overabundance of balance or coordination it’s tricky! I’m just lucky I didn’t pee on my foot! Hahahaha! It was just a short trip, only about 2 1/2 hours to our stop where we met up with a new driver and a  new bus.

Our sightseeing for today was to Orchha, a village famous for the palace and temples nearby. It felt about 100 degrees in the blazing sun under the first blue skies we’ve seen in days but I know it wasn’t near that. However, standing in the courtyard of the palace, trying to listen to the historical importance of the site…. I’ll be honest, I didn’t retain much. Although, the palace really is quite impressive and once I started wandering around checking out the nooks and crannies I could have stayed longer.

What I did get out of the discussion is that the palace was gifted to an Emperor but it was only used for one night because he had to leave immediately to assist with some conflict in another region and died before he could return… and, once something has been given, it’s not given back so the place remained empty.

The guide had a good expression for it:

“The palace was like an elephant for them, easy to buy but difficult to maintain.”

Once we finished at the palace, we had another buffet lunch (good though they are, I will likely be ready to not eat at a buffet for a long long time after this trip!! hee hee), and then several more hours on the bus.

The good part of these bus rides is seeing life in the villages we pass. Slowly driving by as someone has their hair cut at an on-the-street barber shop, or watching fruit and vegetable stalls being set up, or cooking and selling samosas and pakoras and all kinds of other delicious looking snack foods.

Not to mention, marvelling at the fact that I haven’t witnessed a hundred traffic deaths a day really makes travel day go by faster than expected. Trying to count the number of people piled into and onto tuk tuks meant for three people (my highest so far is 9 but apparently there can be up to 15) adds entertainment as well. Today’s drive had the added excitement of being on a one lane highway for the last couple of hours. From looking out at the road as we drove along, they really mean one lane… no dividing line and too narrow for two large vehicles to drive past each other without one pulling waaaaay over onto the shoulder (usually us). Plus, the last hour was in the dark so it was all bright lights and horns on the busy little highway.

Finally, 12 hours after boarding the bus this morning, we arrived at our new hotel. Hard to believe we only actually covered 200 km!!

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