I’m starting to get used to getting up before five am, that’s not to say I enjoy it, or even tolerate it, but my body is now wide awake at 6:30, making early departures (such as 4:45am) at least a bit less awful. It was good to leave early though, our train ride to Pushkar took us 6 hours. To pass the time I they’d movies preloaded onto my iPad, which as always makes me nostalgic for home, this time I craved cucumber sorbet on a hot southern california night from Carmela in Pasadena. It’s the first real homesickness I’ve felt, and I blame it directly on the movie. As long as I’m not reminded of home it’s much easier to miss it less.
I’m probably a bit nostalgic anyway since my trip is coming to an end. This is our last stop in Rajasthan, before we all part ways. In my case, to Kerala in the south for just over a week of doing nothing in particular. Though northern India wasn’t nearly as hectic as I had anticipated it being, it s still draining and I’m ready to move on to somewhere a bit more laid back.
My final thoughts on the use of a tour agency? First, intrepid is extremely well liked, as I can see why, while I would say I will certainly consider them in the future, I’m still very wary of tour groups in general. But, as I’ve said before this trip more than exceeded my expectations. It didn’t hurt the people in my group were absolutely fantastic (regardless of my food quip). There is no sure answer still for me, it depends on your location, time frame, cash flow, need for independence, ability to travel with others, and more. So I wouldn’t say independent is better than a tour group, even though I generally prefer it, it is just another method to see a country, and in the future, I won’t hesitate to consider them again.
But before signing off on Northern India all together we spent two days in Pushkar, a small town of around 25,000 where millions gather annually for the camel fair. I had been on an overly aggressive camel in Egypt and had developed a healthy concern of them. But this ride was a lot better, if slightly uncomfortable. Though we were afforded a beautiful sunset over the dessert as we headed back home.
On to Southern India!