When we arrived back from Ranthambore fort, we had cheese omelettes for breakfast, a decision that would cost us dearly.
By midnight, we had both been sick several times and were suffering from diarrhoea. It was the worst I had felt since the last time I had been in India! The next day we were supposed to be taking a bus to Bundi, but there was no way we would have been physically capable of it. I had to call ahead and let the haveli where we were due to stay, know that we wouldn’t be there.
We spent the whole day in bed and managed some toast and honey at around 4.00 pm. Just to top things off, our air conditioning wasn’t working, and we didn’t even have the strength to complain about it.
We left the next morning, and somehow made it to Bundi, an ancient Rajasthani city with a palace and fort. The local bus stopped everywhere and was hot, dirty and crowded. The haveli was beautiful, and there were spectacular view of the city and palace from the rooftop restaurant. I thought that I was feeling better and went up to the restaurant to do some work on my laptop, but then waves of nausea came over me again.
The following day, we walked to the palace, which was just a few minutes away. I had to keep sitting down every few steps as I felt so weak. The energy-sapping heat didn’t help. After that little expedition, I had a relapse and spent the next couple of days in bed, just emerging to order honey with toast and drinks every now and again. Even making it up the stairs to the restaurant was a huge effort.
Our intention was to head to Pushkar, but we had to postpone for another day as we still didn’t feel well enough to make the journey. We finally made it to the holy lakeside town via a tuk-tuk, two buses and another tuk-tuk. It was a tough journey and I was looking forward to having an ice-cold coke.
The view from our room looked out across the ghats and the lake. We went straight up to the roof top restaurant and ordered some tomatoes on toast and drinks. I felt guilty when I complained about the coke being warm, but I was so thirsty and had been dreaming about my ice-cold coke for hours. The attitude of the staff hadn’t helped – the guy who showed us to our room had barely grunted, and it had been the same in the restaurant. Although we stayed in budget accommodation, the hospitability elsewhere had been exceptional, so we were a little taken aback.
Pushkar was fascinating. Every morning and evening, aarti (fire) ceremonies were held by the lake, offering prayers to the deities. A drummer would play outside our window nightly, as the sun went down. Cows wandered through the narrow streets and sadhus collected alms. There was a good choice of cafes and restaurants and a very hippie vibe.
On the negative side, Pushkar felt very dirty. There was trash and cow-shit everywhere and the unpleasant smells didn’t help when we still weren’t feeling well. We had noticed a bad odour in our room and discovered that there was a dead pigeon on our balcony. I told the hotel staff and they eventually took it away. It took a while to get rid of the stench, but opening the windows to let the breeze blow through and lighting some incense helped.
Not feeling up to the challenge of a ten-hour bus journey back to Delhi, we decided to treat ourselves to a taxi - it was worth every rupee!
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