If anyone is considering doing similar, DO NOT hesitate for a second, mortgages will still get paid, friends & family will still be there (you will just cherish them more) and I guarantee you will grow as a person.
So, finally, in the words of Ferris Bueller - Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Went straight to Jaipur from Delhi - the big pink city. Palace below....
Jo looking through one of the peep-holes in the palace. In the olden days the royal women were not allowed out in public so they viewed the public through these
A procession in Jaipur, to mark the end of winter and the start of spring......they had lots of classic Indian things....like Bob the Builder - RANDOM or what ?!?
More of the procession, Elaphants dressed up, now that's more like it
Amber Fort, just outside Jaipur. very big and impressive
We decided to experience a cinema in Jaipur and went to see ONE-TWO-THREE, it was all in Hindi so we left after half way through....and it was rubbish anyway. The most amusing part was to see western people as extras in the background (as we were asked to be extras in a Bollywood film in Mumbai). They were all clearly travellers, one had dreadlocks and another girl was in a bikini looking really awkward and with tan lines...
Last overnight train - hurrah! An epic 14 hours from Jaipur to Jaislemer near Pakistan. We were lucky enough to be inside the train as many people travelled on the roof, gutted.
Next stop was Jaisalmer in the west. A big fort in the middle of the desert, looked very impressive, but was hot hot hot..
Having a lovely romantic dinner on the roof-top of a restaurant overlooking the fort.
The highlight of Jaislamer was our 2 day camel safari, here is Kadu....
Jo and her camel getting aquainted
The two intrepid explorers venture out into the 40+ degrees, in orange
A cool dune where we slept the night
We were joined by Tom and his mum on the safari. Most amusing was the fact that Tom had bought some space cookies with him (called Bhang cookies in India) so we ate a few on the journey. It certainly made traipsing through the desert on a camel a little more surreal
Giving a helping hand to a kid who couldn't drink for himselfOur bed for the night, amaaaaazing stars
Jodhpur - the blue city and home of my favourite riding trousers (Jo's turn....)
Took a zero fun 7 hour bus across the desert from Jaislemer to Jodphur. I needed the loo and was gutted when the bus stopped in the middle of the desert for me and G to pee behind a small shrub! Every pair of eyes on the bus was staring at us when we got back on - as the only westerners on the bus we attract enough attention as it is, their eyes were popping out of their heads!
The desert of Rajasthan is a depressing sight. 80 percent of people depend on well water and you see women walking miles to wells. Women get a tough time here - the rubbish jobs are reserved for women in Rajasthan so you see them working on dusty building sights carrying stones on their head whilst still looking glamerous in their brightly coloured saaris.
Spent a couple of days in Jodphur - we loved it. The blue city (it used to be a caste thing but now they paint houses blue to keep mosquitos away). It was a hetic dusty market town but really untouristy compared to Jaislemer and we treated ourselves to a nice hotel and a pool - we feel that can justify it now that we only have 2 weeks left, so its more of a holiday than proper travelling.
Another 16th century fort and oppulant palace! (Rajasthan is palace-tastic) This one was cool though with really good audio tour with the Maharaja speaking about how it used to be.
G, the museum geek, below listening intently to his headset....
Udaipur - home of Octopussy (they are VERY proud of this fact!)
Sunset drinkies at on one of the palace terraces. Yup, totally opted out of backpacking. There was an aaaaaaaaamazing views of the two lake palaces.
And then we suprised ourselves by coming back to Goa! G was missing swimming in the sea and Rajasthan was toooooooooooooo hot and dusty (40 degrees, argh!) so we came south to the sea. Just one more epic bus journey to the state of Gujarat (wealthy state and so different to Rajasthan, home of the Patel's - Indias biggest emigrant population as we all know!).
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Sun, sea and fresh fruit and seafood (lentil curries in Rajasthan were becoming a bit repetitive). It feels like a totally different country here. Must less poverty and lush and green countryside compared to the dusty desert of Rajasthan. Huge Christian population with massive Portugese churches. And much much less hassle and unwanted stares.
Ok, well someone else did this, but we thought we'd pinch it.....
Oops, burnt ourselves yesterday - classic Brits!!
We've landed back in the middle of the backpacker scene in the biggest way possible! We have come to North Goa to a beach called Arambol - the original Goan hippies have come here to get away from the package holiday-tastic beaches of central Goa. Plenty of aging hippies to laugh at and massively budget accommodation. On our first night we arrived late and took the first room we saw. It was only 2 pounds with a balcony and seaview - the only catch was rats scurrying above us on the wooden beams and rat shit on the bed, not condusive for the best nights ! The next morning we spent ages searching for a nicer place to stay but it is really quiet here with a few totally basic huts and houses for max 2 pounds. We saw a series of minging rooms - the pinacle of which was a mad Aussie woman surrounded by cats who rents out patches of floor space on her roof terrace...! There were lots of dreadlocked people passed out on the floor. In the end we found the best of a bad lot - but still only managing to pay 3 pounds a night. It is cool though and we feel like we have the penthouse suite on the beach though - our balcony is the top blue one in the piccie and our room to the left, it is mahhosive and wicked views across the beach.
Our room is to the top right of G's head...View from le balcony....
And thats us! Gonna spend the next 3 days here in Goa and then back to India for two days and to meet up with Irma (a pal from Sri Lanka who is back in Delhi with her family).
Graham again..... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW AND FRANNY. Its my nephews birthdays coming up shortly and they will both be.... err one year older. So here you go Andrew and Fran. Jo and I wrote a little message for you in the sand on the beach in GOA. It took us absolutely ages and some Indians even took a photo of it !! See you both soon.
Love Uncle G and Auntie Jo xx
Jo again...... since on the subject of birthdays - Happy Happy (nearly) (big) birthday Auntie Pam!! And Happy birthday Sunday to KBeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Soooooooooo, we're coming home next weekend!!! It feels bizarre as the time has flown. We are excited about lots of stuff - we're excited to see everyone again, to no longer have to carry all of our belongings around and to be based in one place (we have stayed in more than 70 different places over the last 5 months) and excited not to have to barter for EVERYTHING. We also can't wait to see the back of curries and to have some good old English grub (never ever going to an Indian restaurant again!). And it will be good not to worry about getting ill all the time - I have been pretty much constantly "ill" for the last 3 weeks and G had a bad bout which resulted in an accident in an internet cafe, poor G!!! But we will also hugely miss this lifestyle and seeing so much stuff - once the novelty has worn off we both know that returning to real life is gonna be hard - and we'll miss having so much free time, but at least its the summer so plenty to look forward too!
So thats us. Thank you so much for reading this, we hope it wasn't too borning - there is nothing worse than smug travellers, but if it makes you feel better we won't be too smug when we go back to work for the first time!
Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee from India. See you soon! Love Jo and G xxx