After an all-night train journey the first hint of Bundi was the shadowy profile of a distant range of hills that swept the full-length of the horizon. Bundi station is about 6k from the town itself, so I found myself along with six others, all crammed into a little rickshaw, like we were trying to break some kinda record or something. The town is a joy, far from the tourist trails with a great goblin-built fort clinging to the steep slopes of the hill that overlooks it. It has been beautiful at sunset, stood on the Jump-London rooves with the monkeys, simply staring at its beauty. I am staying with a very friendly family who have thrown open their house to the outsiders – including the very noisy kids. My hosts even threw in a free motorbike, which I immediately sped off on toward this waterfall I had heard about. Unfortunately, I kinda soon crashed into another bike, carrying four big pots of water. After a bit of hammering down at some garage I got the bike back into shape, apart from one of the brakes didn’t work. The falls themselves were gorgeous, & I had my first chance in weeks to fully immerse my whole body in the emerald waters. Revitalised, I returned to Bundi, stopping in a village halfway to dress the small wound I had received in the crash. It was a right Wild West moment, slowly cruising down the main street, all eyes upon me. After parking I was soon surrounded by a crowd of children, each staring blankly at me in confused wonder. I felt like a total alien, & it is here, away from the rickshaws, touts, tourists & internet shops of the tourist trail, that I found the real India.
One day I went to buy a train ticket & somehow ended up on the back of a guy’s bike, who drove me 35k to Kota. En route, I actually got out my notebook & tossed off four lines – surprisingly legible considering the bumpy roads – something that Byron, Dante & Shakespeare never achieved in the poetic spheres. Kota itself was yet another big noisy city, & I soon scarper’d to the refreshing relief of returning to my little oasis. The market in Bundi is busy, but the ginger-dyed shopkeepers begrudge you the right price – thinking it is a Westerner’s duty to pay more. They may be right, for it takes a week in India to spend what I would in one day in England – & it takes a week for an Indian to earn what I would spend in one day in India. Also, I have just recently recovered from a bit of flu. After checking the symptoms for the Dengue (which is claiming lives in Delhi right now) & Malaria, I went to the local ayervedic clinic for some free, what I can only call ‘powders.’ I have been ingesting them with honey & they seem to have done the trick, giving me the energy to continue with my tour.
In fine spirits now after ringing my father up at 6am this morning (1am in England) & finding out Burnley won the Lancashire derby against Preston in the last minute! Come on you Clarets!