India Continued

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As my time in Jaipur comes to an end, I see this city as most developed Indian city that I have visited so far. It also has a lot of visiting tourists that I can talk to. But next... New Dehli!
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There is always space on the trains in India, albeit not necessarily inside the train. New Dehli was a 6 hour ride away and I couldn't bring myself to take that journey sat on the roof. Instead I will take an 8 hour bus journey. I like the bus as you get to travel through small towns and villages getting a brief glimpse into the life of the locals.

The bus was really cramped. It was a long 8 hours. None of the roads seem like main roads, so things take time. I sat next to a guy who was going to the airport. He was flying to Seattle where his expert IT skills have allowed him to start a whole new life. He was interesting and educated. He let me know that the modern roads and cities lay in southern India, the north is more behind the times. He warns me about the traffic and noise of Dehli!

Before leaving Jaipur, I spent some time visiting the amazing castles, mosques and temples befitting the city's status of provincial capital of Rajasthan. The advert says 'Land of Kings'. However they are worse than the Italians at preserving arts and historical treasures. I have been to Venice and at the same time loved and hated the city. I fell in love with the wonderful place but hated the way it was maintained. At least the Italians illuminate everything at night to add a little bit of charm. Garbage and filth has no charm though and with labour being so cheap here, you think that the cities could do something about it. My IT friend says that the authorities want to drive the change, but educating 1.2 billion people is a big job!

The buses here don't tend to drive all the way into the city to drop you off. We arrive at a stop 20km outside of the city in no man's land. I jump in a Tuk Tuk as I know what to expect. On the way into the city we drive through a district full of embassy houses. The area looks like London. I can't see many of the Tuk Tuk drivers having to drop delegates off here. If it rains, the passenger gets very wet from all of the water kicked up from the roads.

We will stay in a budget hotel tonight. As I enter my room I see that the sheets are dirtier than some of the factory floors that I visited in Mekonomen. I regret sending my sleeping bag back to Norway! Eating here is certainly out of the question - but that shouldn't be a problem as I have eaten a biscuit and some chocolate since breakfast. Tomorrow cannot come soon enough! But Dehli looks good. I cannot wait to start exploring...

I have only seen a very small part of what India has to offer. My experiences are written as they happened, with no judgement (I hope) on my behalf. Dehli, especially New Dehli - a city built by the British in the early 1900's - is very different from everywhere else I have been in India. There is less garbage, sewage pipes, lanes for traffic to drive in, traffic lights and modern looking shopping malls.

What can I draw from my time in India? With the exception of New Dehli, poverty is extreme.There is a lot of aggression in India. People want your money. My white arms and camera give me away as a tourist. The kids that line the streets gesture forcefully and say, 'money'. Some pose for pictures and then demand their cut. Poverty sits side by side with opulence. Conditions in the country are so bad that many decide to leave the country. This of course is a viscous  cycle. Those who leave are the educated. The brightest home grown products of this nation never ply their trade in their come country.

67 years after gaining independence from the United Kingdom, India is a developing nation trying to get on the right path.

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Do you have tips and advice for the Stig? Maybe you know places he should visit, restaurants he should eat at or experiences to try along the way. If so, you can send us an email to kha@abax.no or sal@abax.no

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/Chris Miller

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