Sunday, May 10, 2009

Train Ride to Jaipur....

On our Way to Jaipur, Rajasthan...
We arrived in New Delhi without a hitch after having to pay 1140 INR for extra baggage and another 48 USD each to extend our Nepali visa by six days. We had to pay a 30 USD extension fee and then 3 USD a day per person to extend it for six more days. So far, we ended up paying 78 USD each for our 36 day visa to Nepal. Which is really quite expensive considering a 6 month multi entery visa to India is only 40USD.

Our train ride to Jaipur was a breeze once we got on the train. A couple of guys at the train station tried to scam us into giving them money for tickets that were prepaid with assigned seat numbers. The scam goes as follows:

A very friendly guy at the train station tells you the way to your track. Then he tells you that you have to have your tickets stamped by the tourist office upstairs before you board the train. At 5.30 am, the Tourist office is closed but his two friends are standing by without ID or uniform to tell you that the acronym 'WS' means that you have two reserved seats and one "waiting seat" and that they would be happy to help you sort it out once you pay them 20 USD a piece for Governement tax and give them your passport numbers. Turns out that the first class tickets only cost about 15 USD a piece so it seemed ridiculous that the goverment forgot to charge this 20 USD tax at the time of the sale. We got our tickets back from them and headed to the train and found our names as confirmed passengers on the list posted on the first class rail car. The train ride was great otherwise. We were served snacks and tea every half hour to 40 minutes. The scenery was very enjoyable as the terrain starts to become more like a desert the closer we got to Rajasthan. Unfortunately, this also included a glimpse into the daiy life of the shanty town dwellers along the train tracks.

At the trains station in Jaipur we were greeted by our host for the week, Meera Ranawat. Meera is the mother of Vadim's good friend Navdeep Ranawat (Andy), who lost his life in a motorcycle accident in 2000. Meera was kind enough to take us to her home and have us stay at her cousin's guesthouse which is part of their residence for the next 4 nights. Here we were treated like royalty with every need of ours being met without having to ask. I felt so very spoiled.


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