here, there, everywhere

Rats, Camels, and a Bus Driver From Hell

In India on May 24, 2009 at 11:55 am

Got to Bikaner yesterday after the hottest bus ride ever.  Imagine sitting in a small box with 20 hairdryers continuously aimed at you, mostly on a low setting but on occasion cranking up to high, for 7 hours straight.  What a relief to finally get off the bus, driven by unhappy mad man who must have been a terrible driver judging by the other females on the bus hitting them with their shoes, and the motorcyclist and autorickshaw drivers pulling up to his window to yell at him after he tried squishing them to get more room.  I guess I don’t blame him, it is a crap job with crap pay, but still, killing people isn’t the way to go either.

View of the driver, maybe the driver’s view explains his driving. Jaipur to Bikaner

Checked into a clean hotel, showered up and spent the evening wandering around booking onward bus tickets and getting goosed by 7 year old boys who got THIS CLOSE to having their ears boxed.  Got up early this morning to go to the rat temple, Karni Mata.  I’ll say this, it wasn’t as big a deal as I thought, 2000-4000 rats in one place at one time.  And when they run across your feet, because that is what they do, they don’t stop and they move pretty quickly so you barely even notice it.  It was a temple however, which meant removing shoes, which also meant stepping on rat shit, bird shit,  broken chunks of coconut shells, and who knows what else in bare feet.

Click here for a movie of my feet in the temple.

The rest of Bikaner was a nice surprise considering I was only checking in for the rats.  Spent the rest of the day at a beautiful fort around the corner from the hotel, and then headed off to Asia’s only camel breeding farm where I saw 150 camels coming in from the fields for feeding time.

I AM the English speaking tour group, the fort. Bikaner

One of those optical illusions that makes your eyes bug out if you look at it took long, the fort. Bikaner

Arched hallway, the fort. Bikaner

The night club at the fort. Bikaner

I’m going to try to replicate this in my apartment when I get home, the fort. Bikaner

I can’t think of a better way to wake up than to open my eyes to a glittering ceiling, the fort. Bikaner

Why not sniff the basil? That’s my favourite thing to do at the grocery store, the fort. Bikaner

A very lovely modern toilet at the fortress. Bikaner

It’s not mating season right now but my guide showed me a video of two camels getting down.  While my neighbours upstairs are loud, these camels beat them hands down, although I suppose if the apartment folk weighed 750 kg each they might be that loud as well.  Not attractive but highly entertaining.

Camel transport. Bikaner

Camel dinner time, Camel Breeding Centre. Bikaner

I’ll catch the 9pm bus to Delhi tonight, the last of my long-haul journeys before two long flights back to Canada starting Tuesday night.  It’s been a great trip and surprisingly I have not been annoyed by any of it.  Well, that’s not entirely true. Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’ spoiled the 6 hours I tried reading it before I finally gave up in misery.  What a grind, like everything needs a symbol, and then repeat that symbol OVER and OVER and OVER.  This is the written tradition, Mr. Rushdie, not the oral, we don’t need things retold TEN TIMES to get the point.

  1. thank you…its been great following along on your journey, a truly amazing trip i’d say….

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