Monday, 13 February 2012

Pushkar


For anybody who's wondering how much travelling costs, it's been 8 days now, and I just run out of $200 that I took out in the airport in Delhi.
On my way to the train to go to Pushkar, I bought some bananas and they were hanging in a plastic bag. I had my suitcase, day pack, a walking bag and bananas, so when the monkey decided that it wants some too, I didn't have too many options to defend myself. It started making sounds and following me with small jumps to get closer. Thank god there were some Indian boys around and they chased it away. Lesson learned: Do not carry bananas in plain view without an opportunity to run away!
India is getting cleaner and cleaner. Until now, I've seen nothing but garbage, especially around train stations. But during the ride to Pushkar (which is in a desert), there suddenly started to appear green, organized fields, with sprinkles, divided into neat squares. Must be somebody from another country who lives there and organized the whole system :)
When I arrived to Pushkar, still with a headache from Jaipur, I settled for the most expensive room in the guest house, with big bathroom, nice double bed, fan and an LCD TV with English channels, all that for $7/night. I didn't have any energy to bargain, ask for cheaper rooms or look anywhere else. I just went into it, crashed for 4 hours, and in total after 16 hours of sleep, I think my headache was gone. I noticed that in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur I couldn't breathe at all. I breathed very shallowly, and if I took a deep breath, I felt my lungs hurting. There are no autorickshaws allowed in Pushkar, so I started to breath normally ... finally.
Pushkar is a nice small town of 15,000 people. It's purely vegetarian, even eggs are not allowed, neither is the alcohol.(Lonely Planet) "It's a prominent HIndu pilgrimage town and devout Hindus should visit at least once in their lifetime. The town curls around a holy lake, said to have appeared when Brahma dropped a lotus flower. With 52 bathing ghats (baths) and 400 milky blue temples, the town literally hums with regular prayers generating an episodic soundtrack of chanting, drums and gongs, and devotional songs." Except the main bazaar street where everybody tries to sell you everything, the town does have a very relaxing and religious spirit to it. Around the lake, you see while/blue houses/temples with huge yellow signs that say "strictly no photography, no smoking, no shoes, no speaking loud". Everywhere you look there are people taking baths during sunset, there are various rituals performed with candles flowing around in circles accompanied by chanting. People on the street try to give you flowers as a present. Of course you should never accept anything that's free, because if you do, they'll convince you to drop the flower into the holy water which would then turn into some sort of ritual and soon enough you're asked for donations to the temples to upkeep this holy place.
While I was sitting on the stairs of the lake, I was approached by kids who start with usual questions, "where are you from? What's your name? Can I have some money?", these ones went even further. "Do you have parents? We don't have our parents, our mother died, we're all alone. Can you buy us some shoes? (they had mismatching blue and black shoes) How about some food?". Of course it's hard not to help them out. But it's a rule of thumb; do not give anything to begging children. They should be in school. If you give them money, it would encourage them not to go to school, but to hassle tourists, giving us less peace, and compromising their education. So in short you don't do anybody any favours.
In the guesthouse met a few people, including 2 hippies from Australia. They were so funny, they looked, talked and had the same body language, with tunnel vision and a memory of a gold fish it was a fun experience, but only for an hour. After that I got another headache, this time not from pollution :) I made friend with Kraiana from Germany and next morning we hiked up to a temple, not to see the temple but mainly for the exercise, which I feel I'm missing. That's the problem with travelling, there is no routine at all. You never know when you're gonna eat/sleep let alone have time for exercise, which is a very risky option, since there might not be any hot water to shower with :) This town was also very popular with cutting off electricity at unpredictable times of day, so eating yet again became a problem.
After the hike, went to a very holy temple. Everybody is so religious, bringing various offerings of food and money, just to see some a figure of a god. They made different signs with their hands, and their eyes showed an emotion as if they have never seen anything more sacred in their life. It all ended when they gave the money, and the holy men shooed them away to make space for new donations.
Lonely planet recommended baba restaurant, and everywhere you go, there is one more baba restaurant. We had to look for a while until we found the original restaurant which was actually recommended :)
In the guesthouse, there was this young kid who was 15 years old, who was doing everything, cleaning the rooms, cooking, doing laundry, up keeping the premises, washing dishes, doing shopping, everything, everything. I talked to him for a bit, he said that he makes $60/month, working from 7am-10:30pm every day. All the money he gives to his family, and only keeps the tips for himself. And he only gets 24 hour vacation every 3 months !!!
There was a funny commercial of hair gel on the TV. It shows a guy all dressed in black, with sleek hair, saying "get the mafia look, very sexy!" :))
I read a book about relationships. One of the chapters was what men don't like about women. Some of the things were: she talks too much; emotionally blackmails men; doesn't have a sense of direction. After reading it, I'm still wondering ... am I a typical woman???

2 comments:

  1. It seems that Pushkar is very different from other cities that you saw- more peaceful and spiritual. Have you practiced their yoga yet? very excited to hear about that. I am taking ashtanga yoga now and the instructor prays in the begining of the class.. the language is so funny, but it reminds me about you travelling in india.. Cheers and keep writing! Tanya

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    1. Yes, it is very nice and spiritual. I haven't done yoga yet, I want to do 1 month intensive, but have to find a place that I really really like :)

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