Pushkar, India

Following a walking tour of the Tordi Sagar “willage” (where a few of the G Adventures crew got to re-enact that scene from Ghost; you know, the one with the sexy pottery?), we hopped back into our Shakira wagon (minus Shakira-on-a-loop this time, thank god) and embarked on a four hour jeep drive – only broken up by one Thumbs Up stop – to Pushkar.

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We arrived, dumped our backpacks and set out into the town for a spot of lunch. Despite being told that Pushkar is a religious place and instructed to don sensible attire (cover up, etc), there were masses of people with their boobs / legs / arses out – it felt like stepping into a hot, sandier and weirder version of Romford. We were also told to stay well clear of alcohol (for 2 whole days, dear god) because getting caught sipping a beer could result in one’s arrest. That being said, hippies in their droves appeared to be completely off their heads… so even though alcohol might be a no-go, those partial to a magic mushroom lassi will be in their element. In short, Pushkar is a town full of semi-naked schroom-heads and multi-coloured cows. (In case you think I’m tripping – the cows got Holied).

Strange place.

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(This cow had managed to avoid the paint)

We found a rooftop café for lunch and, after spending what felt like hours looking at the never-ending menu, were eventually told they only had dal and rice. So we had dal and rice. Later that day, we had dinner overlooking the lake and there was one poor waiter serving 19 of us… needless to say, that order took an ice age to arrive and, when it did show up, it was wrong. Pushkar’s not the best for dining experiences.

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The town is pretty small so we didn’t really need a [dis]orientation walk but we went on one anyway, and nearly melted on route. This place is great for shopping – you can pick up tops, skirts and dresses for £2 a pop, and gifts for as little as 50p. Oh and I picked up some Valium for a fiver.

Those who could be arsed to beat the sunrise set their alarm at an ungodly hour the next day and hiked up a mountain. I stayed in bed. And eventually moved to a sun lounger. After lazing by the pool, some of us hopped on a camel and headed out into the sandy wilderness.

Being Arabian (ish) myself (well, I grew up in a desert), I felt rather at home. I spent most of the bumpy hour soaking up the sun and sights, thinking how lucky I am and pondering just about everything in my life. Healthy pondering though. I’m in a good place – mentally and spiritually. I think the hippies are rubbing off on me. (That wasn’t supposed to sound dirty).

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(Camel selfie)

We had dinner, dressed in traditional outfits, in the middle of the desert.

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Once night had fallen, we watched a magician regurgitate metal balls and “make” birds (real ones) appear from nowhere. Then we were entertained by dancers to music that sounded like Indian-meets-Scottish-bagpipes. We got to show off our moves too (or lack of) – the entertainers had us up dancing and running around in circles. Finally, we watched a man playing, eating and licking fire while a few women danced around with flaming pots of fire on their heads. Standard night out.

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It’s an insane place. Not in the good way. I got stressed out with the motorbikes (they don’t bother braking for people – only cows). I got stressed out with the cash machines (they don’t work). I got stressed out with the hippies (all of them are too fried to have any notion of personal space). I got stressed out with the air con (accidentally turned it onto heater mode). I got stressed out generally.

It’s been great (and bracing) but it’s definitely time to leave. Next stop: Udaipur.

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