I've just arrived in Pushkar this morning at 3:00 am after a lovely busride from Jaisalmer. I spent my last day in Jaisalmer checking out the Jain temples inside the fort and wandering around. I met up with Penny at the hotel who was reluctantly thinking about leaving to Pushkar. I was thinking about her all day while out on my own and decided that she needs to stay in Jaisalmer for a few extra days and explore this new ray of light in the form of Asharaf. I told her this and her face lit up. I still planned on going to Pushkar amd felt totally comfortable going on my own. I'll meet her in Jaipur as she is doing her Level 1 Reiki course (and my amazing father has secured us 4 nights at the Taj HOTEL!! EEE!!!) on the 28th. She helped me bring my bags up to SOCH and Ishaak soon followed. I was dyingof hunger so Ishaak piled me and Penny on his bike and we went to the Chowk to a little restaurant where I ate a delicious masala dosa (ahh memories of Benares). Ishaak disappeared for a bit, and came back with a beautiful gift of a carnelian beaded necklace I had spotted the night before at a shop in the market. It was a very generous gift, and I was utterly speechless. Ishaak is a very sweet, wise soul and I look forward to keeping in touch with him. He has given me some Bollywood contacts in Bombay and Jaipur that I am going to contact. The boys all swear that I am goingto become a famous Bollywood star, so I should at least try!! I made it back to SOCH and the boys ordered me a rickshaw so me, Ishaak, and this Italian man I met all piled in and met Penny and Asharaf at the bus stop. Because Penny and I had a booking together we had a double bed in the sleeper. Asharaf made sure that only I would be in the sleeper- sometimes the busdriver tries to sell offthe spot and I may have been snuggling with an unknown person! Yikes. BUt we were assured that only I would be in the sleeper so I piled my bags in the compartment and we wentoff to have a last minute chai. 4:30pm came quickly and I was ushered on the bus with hugs and warm wishes. Asharaf was dancing around and telling me to stay in touch, especially when I became a huge star. Ishaak slipped something in my hand, and Penny made sure I was set up safely on the bus. I was sent out of Jaisalmer with warm memories, new friends, a beautiful Carnelian necklace, a love letter, a teach yourself Hindi book (from Asharaf who said I need tolearn for Bollywood), and love and light from Penny's smile.
I started talking to a man across from me in a single bunker who was from Edmonton and had been travelling for 1 year now. He was really nice and we enjoyed a few hours of conversation. The bus made a stop about 2 hours in and then a mob of people got on the bus. Single seats below turned into a a triple seat, and people mashed together everywhere. Single bunkers fit 4 people, and a man opened my window to have a peek in (which Ifirmly shut with a "NO!"). I felt really indulgent as my double bunker could have easily fit 3 people Western style but 8 or 9 Indian style. The aisle way was crammed full of people and I heard people climbing on the roof! I have never seen so many people packed into such a small area. Justin made a comment that if the bus did one mistake then we would all be dead and I started to fret! There was at least 30 people packed into the aisle way. I shut my windows and watchedthe desert landscape roll by. The bus ride was 10 hours, and it was one ofthe smoothest journeys I have taken here in India. I was nestled in a dark coccoon with loads of room for me to stretch out, and the windows blocked out most of the noise. I didn't really sleep but was in and out of conciousness. Loud temple music would break my rest and the occasional twist of the bus would send my heart pounding but it was a really enjoyable ride.
We arrived at 3 am and I sleepily pulled all my bags off the bus into warm evening air. Immediately I was being hasstled by hotel touts, and I joined the Italian Jean-Claude in a serach for a hotel. We walked through Pushkar in the dead ofnight surrounded by sleeping cows and barking dogs, and made our way to a hotel at the edge of town. I got a lovely room that is surrounded by temple music and fell asleep listening to harmonium and tabla. Pushkar is known for its sacred lake and for being the site of the only Brahma temple in India. I'm off to explore the holy lake, have some lunch, and visit the Brahma temple. Namaskar!!