Easily the most obvious sign to us once we left the airport that we were in India were the road laws/ lack of any.
Today we had our most crazed driver yet. We were on our way to the station to catch a train for Kota (where we got a car to Bundi)
We were taking a tuktuk which is a sort of camped up colourful go cart mixed with a golf cart but more rattly and with correlated metal forming a wall around you. Firstly our driver refused to say a word merely gesturing for us to get on and nodding when we suggested a price for our journey. As soon as we started moving he started cackling, loudly, to himself and making crazy signs with his hands and muttering. This progressed to shouting at the people we passed, most of whom we nearly crashed into and culminated in a high speed crossing where we narrowly avoided smashing into a bus we were under cutting and then witnessed a motor bike crash which the driver gleefully screamed and pointed at. I have never been so relieved for a journey to be over!
The day before we experienced another odd Jaipurian (made up spelling) – the grumpiest tuktuk man EVER. We met his brother the day before at the pre paid taxi booth at the station when we arrived. His name was Ali, he spoke English and showed us a book of testimonials of people he had taken round the city in everything from Polish to Korean. We were impressed and agreed to meet him the next day for a reasonably priced half day tour of Jaipur. Shockingly Charlie was ill the next morning (I 100% thought I would be sickly first) so we had to cancel on happy Ali and said we would take his brother later in the day instead.
His brother was nothing like him and I doubt related – he was genuinely a very angry man and huffed and puffed the entire journey. Normally people are over friendly and helpful as they have a tip in mind, but this guy grunted his way through our day. Then asked for more money. Then bullied us into taking him the next day too for a ridiculous price. We later called him to say we were ill and would not be needing him. We booked a tuktuk through the hotel instead and had to stick our heads round the corner in case grumpy had in fact turned up anyways having refused to accept a phone cancellation. Luckily he seemed to have got the message and a nice friendly normal driver took us to the Amber Fort (which was awesome)
Now that we are in a much more rural area, the roads are far calmer but have a new obstacle – cows every few meters, often just lying down in the middle of the road whilst lorrys inch carefully around them. It’s the funniest and cutest thing. The cows are small and have dark eyes and long lashes and are all clean and adorable looking h like the giant ones which always seem to be covered in flies in England. There is so much open grassland around yet they persist in hanging around in the roads. I think maybe they like the breeze of cars going past them?! Maybe they are conducting their own silent west side sorry?! They are everywhere will try take pictures on our way back to the station and just so chilled. By road I don’t mean country lane I mean India’s version of an A road.
Our driver from Kota to Bundi was in a big four wheeled drive which had .. Suspension..! A welcome change. He was good natured and pointed things out to us and laughed when he saw us looking at the cows. Crucially he did not try get more money for this extra friendliness – which is very rare!
We are now staying in the cutest Haveli and have had a free room upgrade. So happy to be out of the big cities! I look forward to more cow spotting tomorrow..