Pushkar cultural show and fire breathers

Wow, talk about a goofy looking photo!  9 months working with interpreters 14 hours a day with no days off tends to wear on you.  Add in two weeks in India and questionable visits to the toilet and you get run down quickly.  Needless to say, India is not easy travel.  If you decide to come, fatten up a bit before you leave home!

Cliff and Tamala invited me to a “cultural show.”  It sounded really good so I agreed to come along.  I mentioned it to my Aussie friends and they said that they would come later.

There was a nice mix of locals and expats and everyone was enjoying some nice drinks and some hot chai tea as the show began.

Some magicians came out and did some tricks and amazed the crowd.  I only brought my little tiny camera and shot a few shots as best as I could.

Later, Rajasthan dancers came out and put on a variety of dances to different music and it was quite entertaining.  I thought that the clothing was bright and colorful and quite beautiful.  After Cliff and Tamala left, I found Claire, Bradley, & Jennifer and joined them for the rest of the evening.  They let Bradley go on stage and juggle his kerosine-drenched (flaming) juggling balls and I took a gazillion photos with Jennifer’s Nikon.  I’ll have to email her for some of those pics; Jen, if you read this, email me some of your SLR pics – LOL.

The grand finale was what everyone was waiting for; the fire breathers.  And they did not disappoint.  These guys launched flame-thrower sized dragon breath flames out of their mouths.  I was genuinely afraid that one of them would catch himself on fire.  The crowd oohed and aahed with each flame as it lit up the otherwise dark courtyard.  I had seen some fire-breathing before, but these were the largest flames I had ever seen.

I visited in Pushkar for a few more days and then worked my way back to Delhi by way of Jaipur.  But, I decided to compress the photos in these last few posts.  I could write a few more entries, but I think it would start to become a bit redundant.  And, I have 12 more years of travel-blogs to write…  so, with this, I close out India until my next visit.

And so I wrap up my short visit to India.  I vow to return next time when I have more time.  I will (next time) remember to bring, my Cipro, Pepto, SLR camera, & mosquito net.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time here – as hectic as it was.  The people were warm and friendly.  The culture was diverse and interesting and the landscape was stunning in its variation and beauty.  I can see now the popularity and allure of India and vow to return again in the future.


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around Pushkar

I don’t think you could throw a rock in Pushkar and not hit a temple.  The seem to be everywhere.  I saw the domes of this temple (above) and worked my way through the city streets occasionally looking through the temples, hotels and apartments to the beautiful lake.

During and after my visit with the monkeys and my walk around Lake Pushkar, I did some exploring around town.  There are pilgrims from all over India who come to Pushkar as well as travellers from all over the world.  I met Americans, Brits, Australians (of course), Israelis, Spaniards, Germans, and even some Dutch.  The large population of western expats and Indian travellers gave the place a groovy international feel.  Of course, being a Hindu meditation and relaxation point, the mood of the place was very sanguine.  For the first time since I arrived in India, I didn’t feel “crowded.”  Most of the Indians seemed to be busy bathing in the lake, shopping, or eating.  The expats seemed to be doing a mix of touring, eating, smoking hashish, drinking, and just all around relaxing.  There were few beggars and most of the people just left you alone.  What Indians there were who interacted with the western travellers, most were selling something providing a service.  Aside from the initial assault of hotel hawks upon arrival, I found Pushkar to be a very relaxing and tranquil place.

I took the photo above at one of the many vendor stands that I encountered through town.  I am always taken aback when I see a swastika but then I remember that it’s a holy sign here, not a Nazi sign.  Below, some Indian women are buying fruit; I tried to shoot the photo on the sly so that they would look natural – it looks like the husband (far right of the photo) caught on to my photography.

The was a wonderful variety and assortment of food in Pushkar - so long as you could eat vegetarian.  There was no meat, no meat at all, sold in the town.  I found that I did ok, until I came home and realized that I had dropped 10 pounds in two weeks…

Pushkar is full of hotels, hostels, and guest houses.  I met many “budget” travellers that were touring India surviving on 5 quid a day (about $10 US).  This included their transportation, room, food, and  hashish.  It seemed that the low-cost of pot in Pushkar and other parts of India made drinking (beer or whisky) uneconomical.  I was glad that I had a stronger budged and could bypass the pot smoking altogether – LOL.

I caught this pious Hindu departing his hotel heading down to a bathing Ghat where he could revitalize his health in the “healing waters” of the lake.

It’s a dog’s life in Pushkar… cows aren’t the only 4 legged critters in town…

Where to begin with this guy?  We have here a “dole” pensioner from the UK.  This guy, I’m sure had psychophrenia.  Yeah, he was nuts.  I guess his government check goes a lot farther in India so he immigrated here and has become a world class pain in the ass.  He was well known in town, always hollering at the locals.  The Indian children harassed him and occasionally he would take his lazy rear end off of his “throne” cart and chase the kids with a stick.  The man in red is his “personal valet.”  I was really embarrassed for western society that we sent this fool as our “ambassador.”

Many vendors were selling water color paints.  I was half tempted to buy a small kit of the colors & a paint brush and try some post cards, but hey, I can’t even draw a stick figure.  I was content to taking photos of the beautiful colors.

A few more of the temples.  I passed so many in India that, just like the Cathedrals in Europe, they all start to blend together and I stopped even taking notes of their names…

This one though, did remind me of a temple in Singapore.  I’ll have to post photos of that one later…

Towards the end of the day, I started heading to my favorite restaurant for dinner.  I wanted to eat before the sunset circus that I knew would happen again.  Just as I came around the corner, I ran into this taxi service.  You just never know what you’ll run into in India…


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Pushkar monkeys

As I began my first full day exploring Pushkar I came (quickly) to the realization that the cows, pigs, and dogs are not the only animal inhabitants here; Pushkar is loaded end to end with monkeys.  Walking round the lake I came across a large group of them as they were picking fruit from a tree.

There were quite a few babies and they never strayed far from their mommies.

There is an almost human look when you watch a monkey.  They look just like people, maybe not as smart, but they always look perplexed, like they are trying to figure everything out.

This guy appeared to be one of the leaders of the pack and he watched out over all of the other monkeys.  After my experience at the Taj Mahal, I made sure to keep a safe distance from these interesting creatures.

Oh my, look at that, another cow…  even the monkeys seem to have taken notice…


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