We got onto our last flight from Delhi to Amritsar and were given a cool lime drink which was a mix between swimming pool water and the sea! I downed mine whilst Lisa and Awal left theirs – it was minging.
After an uneventful flight we landed in Amritsar and after getting our bags we were happy to see a local dude holding our names on a sign – We loaded our bags and then were driven into town to the hotel. This being our first ever drive in India, we couldn’t help but laugh out loud as the driver beeped his horn every 3 seconds and the chaos around us as motorbikes, cars and tuk tuks were all over the place, seemingly doing whatever they liked. Strangely thought it all worked out fine and we made it to the hotel OK. The hotel is OK -Its got the most dangerous electrics I have ever seen, but the TV has loads of channels and the air-con works. It even has a fridge in the room, but I’m not going to drink the water that was left in their, as the bottles weren’t sealed.
We decided on walking into town, but didn’t know where we were going so wandered down the road towards what we thought was the town centre. For a few minutes it was just bedlam and madness, with tuk tuks everywhere, locals staring at us, some smiling, others just staring and just chaos everywhere. But quickly we got used to it. However our first attempt at crossing the road was just bloody scary!! We didn’t know when to go or when to stop and whilst pushing each other or stopping each other from running, we managed to cause a little chaos of our own!
We saw a tourist info centre and were beckoned in wit smiles from the staff. After a few questions they gave us a map if India (Useful!!) and directed us towards a chopping centre that was 2.5km away. We didn’t want to walk, so had our first ride in a tuk tuk – haahaaa!! Fooking hell, it was great!! We couldn’t stop smiling as we weaved through traffic and made it to the shops without a scrape., There’s no describing it, its just mad!
The shopping centre turned out to be OK – a couple of internet cafés and one large modern store, whilst the rest were local stores, with normal types of goods, from chemists to computer stores, but like everything here, it was hot, sweaty, dirty and chaos. Its just weird seeing all the western types of signs and adverts surrounded by the Indian way of life. Dirty is the wrong way to describe it, but as its 2am I cant think of another way. Ill try again later.
After picking up water and deodorant we wandered back down the streets, now used to just doing our own thing and not worrying about anyone else – and the method works! Everyone just looks after themselves and now we were part of it all.
We saw a big hotel advertising 2 drinks for 1 and went inside to see if they also did food – After the security guard saluted us, we were directed towards the bar and were surprised to find a modern 'James Bond#, themed hotel bar, doing food too!! After a kingfisher beer we ordered some chicken and veg Chinese meals (It was al they really had). It was bloody lovely- Hot, spicy but lovely. We were all surprised how spicy it was though – perhaps a sign of things to come in the next few weeks. Awal needed more beer to cool his mouth!
After dinner we wandered back to the hotel and were now quite at home crossing the road, not bothering to worry about the madness. We picked up some beers to cool down for the rest of the bussers as they are due to arrive later that night.
Then we got home and had a few hours kip before getting up at about 1am. We were expecting the group any minute, so sat on the roof awaiting their arrival. Lisa described our feelings perfectly – it was waiting for a second date!! haahaa! Its now 2.25am and we have watched three episodes of The Inbetweeners and still no sign of the bus. We met our driver earlier and saw the new bus, which looks cool. Sometime soon, the group will be all back together again.
Finally, after a long wait we saw the headlights of the bus pull into the hotel just about 3am.
I ran upstairs for the beer and made it back to reception in time to meet everyone. It was like long lost family arriving after years away. Everybody – and I do mean everybody, hugged and kissed us as they came into the hotel. It was great and made me feel part of the group again immediately. It was so good to hear everyones stories from Iran and tell them our tales of the boat and our travels..It was so lovely to see my family again, Becky, Frankie and Laura were great and even though they were knackered we had a really good catch up. Becky's hair looked fabulous and I asked if she had had it done, but it was because it had been covered in Oran for the last week. It looked like she had had a professional hair do!! It was so, good to see them all again!! We stood, sat and drank the beers that we had bought until people drifted off to bed and it was just me and Lana left downstairs. I said I was off to bed myself, but Lana told me there was a few people up on the roof, where we had waited for the bus, so I went up there and continued chatting and drinking till nearly 5am.
Olivia, had been told to visit the 'Golden Temple', for sunrise and asked who else wanted to go. It turned out that 6 people didn’t need sleep., so me, Olivia, Michele, Kenneth, Isabelle and Lana decided to go straight away. Sometimes in life you regret your decisions – this was NOT one of those times. After travelling in a Tuk-tuk to the temple and taking off shoes and flip-flops, we put on head scarves and entered the temple. I’m not going to go on about it, there is no need. This is just an amazing place. Michele was the person who described it best – 'There are just no words'. Is what he said. He is right – The combination of the building, the people, the atmosphere and the time of day, combined this to rate as one of those rare times of your life that you will never ever forget. It was just amazing. The beautiful golden temple, in the middle of a square lake of water, surrounded by the stunning white buildings. People quietly walking around, praying, smiling and immersing themselves in the warm waters, doing the traditional water ceremony to give their all to their god. It made us all kind of jealous and slightly embarrassed, that we were there as tourists while these people had come from far and wide to visit this place. But what made it even better was their attitude to us. They loved us – they shook our hands and took photos of us as they passed, we offered to talk pictures of them, but they insisted that we were in the pictures with them It was like us, the white strangers, were celebrities. Even mums and dads brought their children to see us and touch us, shake our hands and say hello. We really loved this place. It wasn’t even the old people it was everyone. A group of lads aged about 20, who in the UK, you would avoid, sat near us taking photos and laughing and smiling at us as we had photos taken with everyone else. They really made us feel part of something and I will never forget the feeling. As Michele said – 'There are just no words'.
Eventually we left and headed back to the Hotel in another Tuk-tuk. It was then off to bed and a deserved rest, with possibly the biggest smile and the most content feeling I have ever had in my entire life. Dont take the piss - you havent been here. :-))))))