We had a glorious lie in after the best night’s sleep we had had since we reached India. Amy and Charlotte practically dragged us to a pancake house for breakfast ( incredibly Western I know but by this point we were desperately craving variety). The food was amazing, we had banana pancakes with honey and freshly squeezed fruit juice which was glorious. However yet again customer service in India (or lack there of!)struck again and none of our meals came out at the same time and it took the staff several attempts to bring the order right despite having wrote it down and there only being 2 other tables aside from us to serve. What was particularly amusing was when they began to insist the order they had decided to bring out was ours, and tutted furiously at us when we refused to make their lives easy for them, and just accept whatever random dish they’d brought to our table. We were seeing the funny side of this much more, having been in India for over three weeks by this point, we were starting to chill out and let the chips fall where the Indians wanted them to! This was probably a self-protection mechanism as I fear we’d have gone mad otherwise.
After breakfast we wandered through the market stalls and did a lot more shopping. Amy was fabulous at bartering by using all the sellers own techniques against them. This was incredibly entertaining to watch, in particular when she started talking in Hindi-English “For me, your friend, you give best price, yes?” We all sounded utterly ridiculous but after several weeks of talking in simpleton English with wild hand gestures so the Indians could understand, you do begin to inadvertently talk like that everyday, even to fellow Englishmen! We went down to the Holy lake (something to do with one of the gods dropping lotus flowers which turned into lakes) which was beautiful but the view kept being disturbed by irritating Brahmans who try to give you “free” flowers and blessings but then curse you if you refuse to pay, I can’t say I really believe in curses and all that jazz but I could do without any bad luck if I could avoid it! We then went to a Sikh temple in the city which was a beautiful white building set several stories up from the rest of the city and had fantastic views of the mountains.
The drive home was long and I have to say quite stressful, we was tired after our long couple of days but couldn’t bring ourselves to fall asleep in the back of the taxi with no seatbelts, while our taxi driver was weaving in and out of giant American style lorries. What made me even more on edge was he, despite making these manoeuvres seemed as unsure as we were about what he was doing and regularly had to slam the breaks on and pull back in after trying his luck at squeezing between two lorries, nearly pancaking us. Despite the dubious driving ( which we learnt did not require a test in India, just enough money to pay for a licence) we did make it home in one piece. I rolled in to bed and for the first time in India, had to put more substantial clothes on as I was cold, which was definitely a first which I was not quite prepared for!