We started our long 8! hour drive to Pushkar and, again, the scenery steadily changed. We past so many peacocks and wild camels and I asked Sukhvinder to stop (on many occasions!) for a photograph. I have realised, however, that some photos will never show the true picture of what we have seen.
We are now down to one M&S mint which I am saving to give to Sukhvinder when we say goodbye at the airport. We munched instead on a fabulous box of biscuits we bought in Jaisalmer and the mood in the car became quite reflective as our journey together comes to an end.
Sukhvinder has really become a very dear friend and I shall miss him terribly. He has made this adventure such a delight for us both and has protected and guided us for the entire time. As soon as the car stops he literally jumps out to open the door and is always waiting in the right spot when we have finished visiting somewhere. He advises us on the (most frustrating) tip situation and what to avoid. The three of us have laughed together so much! He has shared photos and stories of his wife and two small children and is a great family man. His father died sadly in 1997 and he lives in a house with his mother living on the bottom floor. Sukhvinder and his wife and children live on the left hand side of the top floor and his brother and his family live on the right. He is a great family man and very caring. He has explained many things to us, pointed out all the interesting things to look at along the way and handled the checkpoint guards with patience and respect. I think he finds it amusing that I sit in the back and wave like Lady Di at everyone I see. He laughs at my road rage and my desire to ensure the whole world just smiles! We have stopped at many roadside places and it is endearing and telling that he won’t sit at the same table as us and eat. We talk across the tables and quite often Hannah and I sit outside to give him privacy (and probably some peace and quite from my constant chatter!). One of the important things in life is the people you meet along the way!
I didn’t really know what to expect two weeks ago when John and Mum dropped us off at Heathrow but I know it seems a long time away and that is because in these past (almost) two weeks I have learnt a lot about myself through different experiences and they way I have handled things. I know I can be precious and I think it will be a long time before I turn up to work with unwashed hair, chipped nails and smelling as though I have slept with a camel, but I have learnt not to care or mind as much. It is what I am inside that matters. I do, and always have, loved people – just adore them! I like happiness and love and want everyone to feel the same. It doesn’t matter what we have or don’t have; it doesn’t matter if we don’t agree with the same thing; it doesn’t matter how we look – if we all just smiled and were graceful to each other this world would be a happier one. Just talk nicely to each other; don’t criticise give praise where and when praise is due. Show interest in each other. My promise to myself is that I am only going to surround myself with positive people and if they can’t be positive then try and help them. Step aside Mother Teresa – Mother SA is returning to the U.K. Bottom line; I am going to try and achieve to be more chilled (oh I can hear the shouts of joy and bewilderment from you all – yeah, yeah we will believe it when we see it!).
Confidence and self belief also and caring too much about what people think. I have always wanted to write a blog (during different occasions of my life) and always thought “what if no one reads it”, “what if people laugh at me”, “what if I make a fool of myself”. So what ?!? Who cares?’ DO IT FOR YOU!! The encouragement I had to write it from my family and friends made me decide to bite the bullet and start this blog and I have enjoyed it so much and will miss talking to you all; you have all been fabulous and wonderful and I truly love you and am grateful for your comments.
We arrived in Pushkar at night and checked in to a countryside resort. Sounds nice, I can hear you say! It has a pool! It is GRIM! There were four guys sat at a table in the garden having their own little rock session smoking something dodgy. Sukhvinder left us and went to check into his small hotel down the road. We had a quick shower (the water stinks!) and noticed no hairdryer!! Do I care (my inner self wanted to sob but the new SA couldn’t care less – impressed ? Gosh I hope this lasts).
I put together a fantastic playlist on my phone with the help of John and Mr Music himself, Dave and Hannah has been impressed with my varied collection! We have danced to Dancing Queen and Whitney Houston and sat in our thoughts and sang along to The Cranberries singing “linger”. Keith Urban “the fighter” is one of my favourites but our best, best song which sums up our adventure is “crazy world” by Aslan – fabulous and we sing at the top of our voices; Hannah even admits how impressed she is with my moves – shake it baby!!!!!
We are stuck in the middle of nowhere and started to make our way down the unmade track to the town. I realised we needed Grandad’s torch so headed back to the hotel to find Sukhvinder walking towards us! He said he was concerned about us heading to the town in the dark so waited to drop us off – what a kind man! Hannah and I walked through the town and it quickly became apparent we had hit Backpackers Paradise! Pushkar is absolutely alcohol feee (you can do this, SA, keep focused you can do this) and they don’t (according to Sukhvinder) allow eggs nor meat into the town. I think many people make up for the lack of alcohol in other ways. I remarked to Hannah how everyone looked so happy and she just raised her eyebrows at me; innocence is a great thing sometimes methinks! The local people were a lot more gentle and there was no aggression when looking at the small stalls. I was waiting for Hannah at one point whilst she looked at something and something came up behind me and pushed me out the way – I turned round face to face with a cow and screamed! A group of backpackers roared with laughter whilst I smiled and gently tried to push the cow with my foot out of the way without anyone noticing. We ate in a super restaurant which also had rooms and wish we had stayed there. I drank mint and lemon tea which was the most disgusting looking colour but, as always during this trip, I smiled and just closed my eyes and slurped!
The John Lewis silver espadrilles took a turn for the worse when I stood in a fresh cow pat – I have survived monkey temples, mountain terrain, camels and dogs and manage, on almost the last day, to stand in a fresh cow pat! Whether I was high on the various smells accumulating in the air or whether it was the cow pat gently oozing onto my foot; Hannah suffered my second meltdown of the trip (she has been impressed there has only been two). We quickly found a tuk tuk (where was Sukhvinder when we needed him?!) and showed him the card of where we were staying. We took off in the slowest tuk tuk ever and couldn’t even put our heads out of the window to escape the stench of my foot. WE GOT LOST!!!! I am going to give my Papa the hugest hug in return for his torch as I lent it to the tuk tuk driver to find the way home. We went over rubble, dodged the cows and all in the dark. We eventually arrived with tears rolling down our cheeks; not sure whether from laughter or the pure stench of the cow pat which was now forming a crust on my foot. I did not cry but my word it was hard not to.
A dash to the shower where I scrubbed and scrubbed both my foot and espadrille in my lavender body wash (the Liz Earle had to stay at home as too bulky!) and then to bed where I sprayed the lavender pillow spray which I sleep with under my pillow each night. I did admit to being precious earlier in this blog.
Many thoughts running through my head and we are both now homesick. We are exhausted but so wonderfully happy. Another long drive tomorrow to Delhi but Sukhvinder assures us the roads are better and the journey should be a good one. Attached are some photos I have taken of the roadsides as we pass.
Today’s worry? I will somehow forget some of the images I have seen – I want to cling to them forever!
Love and reflection