Today, after taking the train back to Delhi (speaking of which, I am totally in love with the trains in India!) I stopped in at the Indian Information and Reservation Center right after getting off the metro because I was already lost trying to find a place to stay for the night (I'd apparently come out the back entrance to the metro station and it turned me around) and because I figured this is the place I can discuss plans and figure out what the hell do to next.
Boy was I right! The guys here helped me in so many ways. First off they had me just sit down and rest for a moment. Two American girls were there and god it was nice hearing English spoken in a way I fully understood! One saw how frustrated I was and offered me a hug and chocolate.
Then Micky (who works there) sat down with me at the desk and we began with what had gone wrong for me so far, what I have hopes of doing next, what plans I already have in place, and what I need help with.
An hour later we've figured out a great itinerary for me for the entire rest of my trip. I'm seeing a lot, not going to feel rushed, have tickets for everything booked, and have hotels booked and a couple of tours/activities booked as well. This ate up nearly everything I have. I have enough left for a month in Goa, and for staying in Udaipur for Diwali and the Pushkar Camel Fair. But nothing left over for extras (so if you want me to try buying a camel - or any other lovely things - I am accepting donations to my cause! I am not too proud to accept help.) But seriously, I can live without buying pretty things. It's just do fucking nice to not WORRY all the time about how I'm going to make all this happen.
Turns out that foreigners cannot, in fact, book train tickets over the Internet. They used to but it's been changed. So no wonder I was having so many difficulties! And I can attest to this right now, doing things last minute here is near impossible. There are over a billion people in this country. And mass amounts of tourists. Trains, busses, hotels... They fill up weeks if not months in advance. I should have started booking trains back in July or August, around when I booked the hostel I'll be staying in during the camel fair.
So here is the official final itinerary. Things (trains, hotels, and tours) are booked. Most everything is paid for.
Tonight - hotel in Delhi
Tomorrow - fly to Mumbai
I just found out that my poor brother-in-law's family is dealing with a health crisis right now so I'm not going to go impose on them and possibly make things worse. So I've got a couple of pings out for more couch surfing options there. If not I'll bite the bullet and check into as cheap a hotel there I can find because I'm not heading out to Goa until Sunday.
Sunday - Train to Goa
September 16 - October 11 - GOA
I'm going to just kick back down there for a month! I am seriously looking forward to this. I know I'll be visiting Arambol in the north, then Panjim further down, and Palolem at the very south. All will have different feels to them, all will be wicked inexpensive, and I'll really find my zen again.
Before I had heard of how sick Nilesh's family was I booked travel up to Mumbai in mid-October for a few days. If I do end up couch surfing there tomorrow night and it turns out well I'll talk to them about me coming back up. Otherwise I'll skip Mumbai and change my ticket from Goa and stay those extra few days.
Goa is part of what is not paid for. I don't have a lot of money left, so I deliberately arranged to spend the bulk of this time in a place where I won't be spending a lot of money.
October 18 - overnight train to Varanasi
October 19-23 VARANASI
This is including a boat ride on the Ganges.
October 23 KHAJARAHO
Dude, this is where the Kama Sutra came from! But aside from that, I expect there to be a lot of really awesome things to see here.
October 23-26 JAIPUR
Much traveling in store for me.
Going from Khajaraho to Jaipur by way of Agra. Since I'm actually saving Agra for the end of my trip this is just a very quick stop to change trains.
Jaipur is mostly just a hey what's here so sort of stop. I do really want to see some of the sights, though. But won't be going in. It's the architecture and the markets to experience I'm looking forward to here.
October 29-November 3 JAISALMER
The first day involves the quick train from Jaipur. And then I'm booked on an overnight camel safari on November 1. Heeee! :)
November 3-6 JODHPUR
They have a zip line set up over the city! It lets you zoom over and see four of the forts. Since I'm not broken this time around and will be taking pains to keep me that way I am super excited about this.
November 6-18 UDAIPUR
I wanted another place to zen out after all that traveling and moving from place to place. Udaipur is supposed to be beautiful and relaxing. Also figured it's as good a place as any to spend Diwali. Hotel here booked, but not paid for.
November 19-28 PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR
Wheeeeee! This is the thing I'm most excited about. I have absolutely no idea what to expect, but I'm stoked about it anyway! Camel races! Camel decorating contests! Ferris wheels! Music and dancing and a whole lot of people having a great time.
November 28-December 3 DELHI
Back to Delhi. Finish sight seeing here. Take a day and visit Agra and the Taj Mahal. My friend Leon will be making it to India at the end here. If our trips overlap by enough days I wonder if he'd want to go to the Taj with me. I would love to go with a friend.
If I get enough donations I really seriously hope to afford a sari made to commemorate my trip. A nice one. I'm not asking anyone to help me out with the rest of my trip because I really can do it with what money I have left. But help would still be very much appreciated. Then the sari would just be icing on the cake.
PayPal is our friend! :) email@example.com
Anyway. I'm in a hotel for the night. I have a driver picking me up in the morning to go to the airport, free of charge. So tonight I'm going to kick back and lay in my comfortable bed and get a good night's sleep!