I was informed, by way of a phone call by the travel agent, that a taxi would collect me outside the Taj Hotel at 7pm. It would, all going well, drive me into Ajmer from where I’d catch my bus to Udaipur at 9.30pm. At 8.30pm I was still sitting on the kerb outside the Taj Hotel; no sign of a taxi. Numerous phone calls to the travel agent provided a little reassurance (‘No problem Madam, India time yar? Taxi is coming’) but no solid confirmation I’d make it to Ajmer on time.
A phone call from Tom briefly distracted me from the situation. Apparently he was in Varanassi ‘sitting on a cloud drinking angel’s milk’. Whatever he was on I wanted some! He sounded blissfully happy and it made for a lovely, if very peculiar phone call.
Anyway, at around 9pm a rickshaw arrived to collect me. It was filled with three French men so I dumped my backpack under the driver’s seat and climbed onto the exhaust pipe. Clinging on for dear life, we were driven, not to Ajmer but to the far side of Pushkar. There, we were dragged up onto the roof of an already packed minivan and driven into Ajmer.
In Ajmer we made our bus with a maximum of three seconds to spare. I climbed into my berth/cage/coffin and was rocked to sleep by a very bumpy road. Bollywood movies blaring full blast provided my lullaby.
At around 4am I was rudely awoken by another grumpy Indian grabbing at my feet whilst roaring orders to disembark. We had arrived in Udaipur more than three hours early. I shared a taxi to Hanuman Ghat with one of the French men from the previous night’s rickshaw ride. We were greeted by heavily bolted doors; our persistent ringing of hotel doorbells was simply ignored. Wearied from our journey we lay down on the street and slept there until the sun rose. On awakening we discovered we’d been joined in our slumber by two dogs and what looked like a toothless tramp. Not my proudest moment!