July 30, 2009

Jaisalmer-Shimla by train

After spending such a good time with our Jaipur guest house family, we found it hard to leave. 
We arrived on Jaisalmer without any reservation. The touts there were pretty hungry with the low season, any tourist is assaulted at the train station. I never got so surrounded, at a point that Noah started to yell at them. We walk out of the train area to escape from the touts and went on the road. It is the desert, so hot and bright. Few hundred kilometers away is Pakistan. 
Jaisalmer is famous for its kamel rides in the desert. 
A beautiful fort sits in the middle of the town and you can have your beauty sleep inside it.
We checked the first hotel I read about on internet and thankfully it wasn't full. We had the best room in India there, all built into red stone, very clean, big bathroom with a tub, good TV and AC. It felt like I was in a castle. We didn't really left the room as we felt so good...The heat outside and the hassle you get every time the local see you is discouraging... we totally forgot about the kamel ride... too short stay anyway... instead we spent two nice days relaxing in our hotel with the nice view on the fort from the top roof restaurant. 
Late at night, we hit the railway again to go to Bikaner and visit the unique rat temple in the world.
At the train station we met Judy, an Indian girl who is living in UK since she was little. We shared a room in Bikaner with her and spent the day together, she was such a lovely person, I really enjoy her company. Luckily we found a clean hotel right at the train station with a very good restaurant. We hired a rickshaw to go to the Rat Temple and rode for an hour as we had the slowest rickshaw in India. It was fun though and we didn't broke down like all the ones we saw on the way. We had plenty of time to look at the scenery. 
The rat temple is small and you have to take off your shoes to go in (like in every temples). From outside it looked good but inside..... the smell was really strong, rats were hanging out everywhere. They didn't look healthy and I didn't want to get too close from them. Most of them were just sleeping or trying to get cooler since it was such a hot day. Death animals were all around and I didn't feel good at all. I visited it on the tip of my toes and went out very fast. 

Back on the rickshaw for an hour direction the Fort, one of the best I visited, arranged a bit like a museum. It was really interesting to see it.

The long day and rides got us hugry and we decided to have brunch-dinner at a nice restaurant by the hotel. We had the best indian meals and service there. Then I walked down the street with Judy. A street "marchande" tried to sell me some plastic bracelet... I ended up buying some rope to dry my clothes...

We caught the night train back to Delhi. We had an AC sleeper coach, very nice and clean but an old woman sleeping under Noah's bed snore so bad that she kept Noah awake the whole night...

Delhi... We took a room for the day before our night ride to Shimla, north of India. 

In the train to Kalka we shared our room with two mans from Delhi. They are railway worker and they were going to the north to have some security classes. They were traveling with two other co-workers, very funny people as they all sit with us in the same room, squeezed in so we could be all together...

We had to stop in Kalka to change train. We rode the toy train to get to Shimla. It is a very pleasant little train and the ride up to the mountain is surely a change from what we've seen so far. The nature and the temperature is really nice, but the buildings spoil the view. We rode the mountains like a snake and I felt asleep. 
Shimla is an Himachal town, situated 2000m above see level, in the northen part of India. The weather is totaly different from the Rajastan and the lifestyle as well. More westernised, more cleaned with rules and clean roads. 
It felt good to be in the forest and cool weather. The clouds were coming and going as the day went by. It feels so weird to have so much difference in one country, I'm not used to that at all, in my island nothing really different from one side to the other. 
Here in the mountains people are not as excited as they are in hot places.... Noah always says that the cold keep people calm, like in the airport or in the airplane when they try to freeze us.
The hotel we stayed at made me feel like I was in Europe, the smell of the pine wood, the flowers...
A catholic church sits in the middle of the town and the market is built around. 
In the crowd sherpas are walking slowly up the hill with big bags of vegetables... most of them are old man.... it is a hard work but no car are aloud in the market area.

Before I came to India, people told me, either you hate it or love it.... Noah definitively don't like it... I don't hate it, I just think that I need time more time for India... I saw the tip of her beauty in some people faces, eyes, an extreme beauty.... India needs time to share her secret with us... 

Take care


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