Michael Eierle - Germany to India, Pakistan and Iran, Germany to Turkey - India - from Gopalganj to Udaipur
March 14, 2001 - India part 2, from Gopalganj to Udaipur
We forgot to change money at the border. The next possibility to change is in Patna or Gorakhpur. In Motihani we got a rectifier for 2.5 $US. The Enfield ran nicely today, even the 4th gear. We spent the night in a typical Indian road hotel. Cheap and shabby. Next day we reached Gorakhpur. Then the bumpy Highway goes down to Varanasi. The last 70 km to Varanasi, a smaller, shorter road, was much better.
We pitched our tent in the garden of the Surya Hotel for 1.3 $US p/p. They are doing a lot of renovation work there and I guess you can no longer pitch a tent, when it's completed. The garden was nice, but the waiters were always around and listened. We met Ken and Carol again, also cave men, sorry campers. Ken needed some welding work to do on his bike and the spring of the shock absorber had to be replaced. Was a drama for him finding the correct size.
Then Rosi went sick with bad coughing and weakness. One doctor certificated an oil and curry allergy. So we cooked our own stuff and the hotel personnel loved us even more, but no change in Rosis health. Curry allergy in India, that's worse than a women allergy in Thailand.
We did the interesting boat trip along the ghats on the Ganges river, visited the crowd on the Golden Temple and the only Hindu temple, where you can enter the most holy section. The famous burning place was nearly empty. The reason maybe was, that burning with wood is around 90 $US and with electricity it's 3 $US only. Seems that only poor people died this time.
One recommendation: if you don't like cow shit pouring between your toes, walk with closed shoes in the little shits, sorry streets, of Varanasi.
Ken and Carol left some days later for Agra. We spent 3 more days and also left for Agra.
Slowly we reached Allahabad (4th of Enfield did not work one more time again) and the biggest crowd of Hindus, the Kumbh Mela. We stuck in a huge traffic jam on a long bridge for 3 hours. No way out. But a fantastic view over the Khumb Mela camp side. Tents, as far as you can see. And very clean and organised. Amazing for India.
Finally we had to spend the night in Allahabad. All hotels full, already dark, Rosi still weak and in a 5 star backpacker they asked for, believe it or not, 30 $US only, for a shitty single dorm bed. At 10 p.m. we found a private room for 40$US only, not worth the price. Gangsters.
Two days later we arrived in Agra and stood in the nice and cheap (4.30 $US) Sheela Guest House. It has nice garden, safe parking and is directly beside the Taj Mahal. The biggest gangsters sit in the Government of Uttar Pradesh. 500 IRs plus 10$US, that's more than 20$US entrance fee for foreigners. 20 IRs (50 Cents) for Indians. Friday is no longer free. A guy told us, the only reason for the clean shape of the Taj now, was the visit of big Bill (Clinton). Normally they get the money, but don't clean. Only Rosi went in, because it was one of her big dreams.
Uttar Pradesh was the worst state in India for us. Too crowded and always being cheated. That sucks.
Rosi's health developed back to normal although she ate curry and other oily stuff (have a look in a street kitchen pot's, nothing else than oil in it). What kind of a doctor was that?
We drove on a good (and good polluted) highway in 4 hours to Delhi again. This day nearly no problem with the Enfield. We stood in the Gandhi Guest House, close to Ringo's for 5.40$ the double. It's basic but friendly people there and it's very close to Connaught place.
Next day we cancelled Rosi's ticket and went to the Pakistan embassy for a new visa. (We decided before to drive all the way back on two bikes.) Painless act, 1 month visa for 10$US in 30 minutes. Delivery: next day.
Then we went to the Enfield dealer. Via email I told him before, that Internet is a very interesting thing and the world also would be interested in how it is buying a bike in his shop, how it is having problems with it and how he treats his customers after sales.
The atmosphere was friendly, we got all our money back, and Rosi will get a bike some weeks for free, when she will ever return to Delhi. What a success.
Next day we picked up the visas, sent a pain, sorry a packet, but it's the same. I had to teach some more time Indians, about keeping distance and staying in line. It will never change, I guess, before I will behave like an Indian; and I'm heavier than most of them (what a fun).
Four days later we left for Jaipur, the pink city. The road is very good, less traffic and the country side looks more desert like. We made the 260 km in 4 hours. In the Jaipur Inn we met Ken and Carol again. 2.20 $US for dorm bed and dinner was a good offer. It's a nice place to stay and not in the city center.
Mike, Guzzi and elephant, Jaipur, India
And it's in the street for marriages. With big noise (music), sitting on a horse or elephant (depending on the wallet), surrounded by dancing, friends, members of the family and lamp carriers, the bridegroom is so irritated, that he does not realize, where they bring him. Later its too late. In some cases they keep him quiet with betel nuts too. We saw 7 of these sad cases in one night.
Next day we visited the Amber fort, the Chaigarh fort and the Tiger fort. The Amber is the most beautiful and worth to see. We spent a couple of good days with our friends. Also the dorm gang was great fun. Ken also received his bearings for the shaft drive and we fixed it.
When you are sick about Indian food, there is a Pizza hut and a McDonalds in town. A big change is that camels and dromedaries (hope that's correct) are pulling the utility carts now.
We left Jaipur together with Ken and Carol. After 150 km on a good, curvy road trough nice hillside we arrived in Pushkar. A chill out village for travelers and holy too. Found a cheap (4.40 $US, double), clean place with bright, big rooms and pool ca. 600 m outside of Pushkar in the New Park Hotel. The village lies around an even more holy lake. Beer, Dope and Schweinebraten is not available here, officially. Best food in town is the Om Shiva (there are two, the one on the rooftop), with excellent vegetarian buffet for 1$. You can eat till you look like Ken and Carol, the natural born chocolate balls killer, Ha Ha. It was great! A good place to relax.
Mike, Ken and Carol Duval in India
Three days later we head to Udaipur, the 'Venice of the east.' It's great scenery. The Lake Palace Hotel seems to swim in the lake. We stood in the Lalghat Hotel. It's a nice place, an old building directly on the lake with rooms for 5,40$, double. There is little space to park the bikes. In the first floor we had a balcony with lake view. In the night the Lake Palace is illuminated, what a view!
Of course, we saw the movie James Bond: Octopussy on a roof top restaurant. Parts of the movie were produced in Udaipur and since then they show it every night. It's great fun, to see the scenes and check out immediately where it could be. It's also great fun to realize, that the Rikshaws and people showed in this 25 years old movie, look like the ones today. Everything needs a little more time in India.
We made a boat trip around the lake and visited the Royal Palace. Both are worth the money. And it was the first time foreigners and Indians pay the same entrance fees.
Altogether Udaipur is a beautiful place and I recommend it. Next day Ken and Carol said good bye, hopefully we will meet them once again. Thanks for the great time guys.
One day later we left for Mumbai, to pick up Rosi's Honda. But this is another story.
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