After an afternoons kip and a play on the internet, we all got together and drove towards the Wagah border ceremony. This is where the Indian and Pakistan border guards put on a show for the gathering tourists. They march up and down either side of the border in a coordinated show of who is the tallest, can get their legs highest and shout the longest. Its a bit like the funny walking from Monty Python, but all done as a friendly contest between the sides. On the Indian side where we were, there must have been3000-4000 people, mostly Indians, but with a large gathering of tourists like us, who were all let into the VIP section. Before the show the crowd is led in cheering and dancing, all directed towards winding up the crowd in the Pakistani side – but the Pakistanis weren’t even there yet! People were picked from the crowd and give Indian flags – they then ran, to a loud hail of cheers, right up to the gates of the border so the Pakistanis could see. Then loud Pop music was played and everyone gathered onto the road and danced along.
The ceremony it self takes about 40 minutes and starts with one guard shouting as long and as loud as possible the first command – Then the guards start their marching and gesturing towards the guards over the border. All the guards are as tall as possible and wear large headdress with a fan atop, to make them as intimidating as possible – Then they march to the gates and stare down their opponents whilst gesturing disdain towards them. Its all done for show though and looks like it takes a lot of practice. Eventually the flags are lowered and everyone goes home like they have left a football match after a 6-6 draw!
We got back onto the bus but as the traffic was so busy I decided to get myself a drink and some crisps from a stall, after sharing the crisps with Laura, we headed back towards the Hotel.
It was about 8pm by the time we got back, so after a quick turn around, me, Laura, Becky and Frankie headed to the golden temple with Allen and Matt. After my 4th Tuk tuk ride in just over a day we arrived near the Temple and walked inside. I was the only one who had been there before, so it was nice to see the reactions of the others, who like me this morning, thought it was awesome.
After the temple it was Tuk tuk 5 and a walk down to the Hotel where we ate last night for dinner. When we got there however the boys, changed their minds, so I went in for a beer whilst everyone else went for scoff. A few minutes later though Becky came in to join me in the bar. We had a nice chat and were joined by the others after they had eaten.
It was getting late so after a couple of beers we all headed back to the hotel. The boys decided with the girls that they wanted to build a fort in their room and sleep in it, however as I am 40 and not 4, plus I am still getting over my journey from Turkey I played the boring old tosser card and went to bed, leaving the kids to enjoy their sleepover. I did get a few minutes on the internet before though and a head massage from Liv, which helped me to get a really good nights kip.
I woke up just after 6 and after packing I really couldn’t be bothered doing much socialising this morning, so I got onto the bus and chatted with Laura whilst waiting for everyone else to get aboard. Then we headed off for our first day on the bus in India. Becky is very happy that she finally made it to the back of the bus – she thought she would be travel sick, but is coping fine with the roads and the seats!!. The roads here are damn awful and just sitting comfortably is hard, never mind sleeping or typing on the bus, like I am doing now! I had a banana from Laura for breakfast and it was really tasty!Then, I gave the girls the papers and gossip magazines that I bought for them in Fethiye and they spent a good hour chatting about celebrities, their marriages and pother gossip from home. Then we did the easiest crossword ever in OK magazine, before deciding to settle in for the journey.
At the moment we are swapping between seats – one of us is sleeping across the back seat, using my emirates blanket, two sit in front reading or staring out of the window, the 4th person sits beside the sleeper. Between us we have a blanket, two pillows and a cardigan -This is used by the person in the cold seat – the one under the air-con, which we cannot turn off! Its 35 degrees outside and like a fridge in the wrong seat!
We also managed to pull open the old windows of the bus, so that the warm air mixes with the cold, to make it a little warmer inside. There were a few stops this morning – two for toilet breaks and one when there was a massive traffic jam. We sat there a while and watched as traffic was passing so far on the wrong side of the road ,the people walking alongside the road had to get out of the way. One local dude came up to the windows that me and Laura were hanging out of and chatted for a short while with us, then it was clear and we headed on. We spotted wild parrots at one rest stop as well as a camel that passed by pulling a trailer – Barry was heard to exclaim ' Bastard', as he saw it -turns out he got thrown off on once~!
Its now 12noon and its Frankie s turn under the blanket, Becky is listening to tunes on her Ipod, whilst Laura is kipping next to Frankie. I am struggling to type – still!! haahaa.
After finishing that last part of the blog. We just vegged out and chatted for the afternoon, we even got to the point of discussing what would we do for £1million. There is nothing that I could possibly repeat on this blog!
Anyway, we finally reached the destination for the day – Sriganagar. As we drove through the town itself, we kept an eye out for good fruit and veg stalls, in case breakfast the next day wasn’t up to much, but we were disappointed when we continued through and out of the town. We kept going for another couple of miles, but were very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at our hotel – The Pagoda Resorts. It looks quite a new resort (I just looked in the visitor book and it was opened in April 2009). It is modern and the rooms are lovely – air-con, flat screen TV, wet room/toilet, fridge and large comfortable beds. We all spotted a nice looking swimming pool as we drove down the entrance road, so decided we would al be there as soon as we dropped off our kit. Lana decided to spoil our fun however, by asking for payment for the upcoming trip options first. So, as usual, I got a plan into my head, went to my room, which I’m sharing with Kenneth, chucked in my kit and went straight downstairs. It was perfect timing as Lana had just finished dealing with the admin of the hotel and I was the first down to pay my dues. It was then back upstairs and a quick change before I jumped into the warm pool. It was a good 15minutes before anyone else managed to get down there, so I had it all to myself for a while. Everyone started top make their way in and we played around with a water-polo ball for a good half hour, before the sun started to drop behind the trees. I saw David start to go for a run, decided it was a good idea and went to get changed. I then spent a good 25minutes beasting myself up and down the road leading to the hotel. It was really hot still and was the hardest I have trained so far on the trip, but after I had finished I was invited by Awal, Hicky and Michele for a game of football on the grass. We played for a good 40 minutes and I showed them the rules and how to play '3 and your in'. It would have been a good way to cool down after my run, but turned out to be a lot harder than normal and we were al dripping in sweet not long after we started. The game finished not long after we kicked the ball over the wall into the field next door
After the football, I headed for a shower and then we all met outside where the staff had set up tables for dinner and a puppet show for entertainment. The puppet show wasn’t up to much – a traditional show with 4 or 5 puppets dancing along to the Indian drums. I didn’t understand what was going on, but it was really nice of the staff to do it for us. Some people took the piss a little, but most of us appreciated it and watched for a few minutes before sitting down for dinner. Dinner 'alfresco', was very good – I had chicken sizzler – which did actually sizzle and was lovely, while most other people had curries of varying hotness – everyone enjoyed it though and all the food went down well. Becky and and Laura agreed it was the best meal that they have had in India so far and possible the best meal of the trip so far. After dinner me Becky and Laura sat and chatted a bit more about Laura and her acting and about films, TV and lots of other stuff. Frankie and the dudes played a bit of table tennis and also learned some Indian game which was a mix between shove ha-penny and pool. It was a really nice night but was over too quickly when the staff started to turn off the spotlights and started clearing up the tables. We took their hint and headed off to bed. Up in the room, Kenneth and Lana were sat watching Transformers 2 and having a quiet drink, so I joined in with them until the film finished. As usual, it ended up in a play-fight, but I took things a little far by twisting Lana’s arm behind her back – I didn’t know she had a bad shoulder and she squealed out in pain! Bugar – I’ve injured the tour leader!! I decided to make up for it by giving her shoulder a nice massage , which I hope she appreciated. It was then off to bed.
This morning we al got up and ordered our breakfast, which took an age to arrive. But eventually we were all ready. We got onto the bus after loading our bags. The gang managed to grab most of the back seat again, so we can do what we did yesterday – swapping around so one of us can lie down on the back seat under the Emirates blanket and get some decent bus sleep. We are now waiting to leave as some people are still having breakfast. The bus has its air-con on, which we cant turn off, so we are all freezing cold – but it will warm up later on we hope!! Today we head towards Bikaner.
The journey today was OK – except for the deteriorating roads and the driver deciding to overtake around blind bends and blind hills – there was traffic everywhere as we passed by camels, cows and even a dead cow by the roadside. A few of the roads were particularly bad and we all took the breaks when they came. Outside it was getting really hot, which made the first toilet stop quite bad as the smell from the small room, where someone had quite obviously not been taught how to correctly clean up after themselves was really bad. I decided to use the field and wall next to the stop instead, but the girls had to suffer.
The next stop at about 12.30 was much better – nice clean modern style toilets and a kiddies playground that Lana, Lisa, me and Liv took full advantage of – trying out the slide, swings and the roundabout. We didn’t have a lunch stop today – firstly because we were not far from our destination and secondly because there was no food to buy!! Its also Mahatmam Ghandis birthday today, so we are expecting a lot of shops to be closed and may have problems getting alcohol – luckily I’m good friends with Lana - she has Rum!! I’m sure to be able to get some coke to mix it with – I hope!!
Well, its two hours later and we have arrived in Bikaner. There is a trip out from here later to see a temple, but I don’t think it can compare with the Golden Temple, or the Taj Mahal and some of the other places we are going – Plus it is to hot outside to wander about, plus I have found live coverage of The Ryder Cup on telly in our hotel. We also have tennis and cricket, I'm hoping for football later too – Me and Becky (Both sport nuts) are really happy to watch a bit of it live!! So I’m going to have an admin afternoon – doing very little but resting and watching telly. The hotel is really nice – comfortable beds, air-con, TV and a fridge. There isn’t a pool this time though, but it does promise internet so hopefully I will be able to get online later – If you are reading this post and it is still today or even tomorrow in UK (Saturday and Sunday) then I got online. If you aren’t reading this, then I didn’t get online and you wont even know about it!!