Up early and on the bus and on the way to Jaipur!
Davinder had our driver pull over at this sign so we could get a good look. It's keeping count of India's birth rate, which according to the sign is about 31 babies per minute, or a little over half a baby per second.
I tried to get a video of the sign in motion, but the bus in motion cut things short. But what's really interesting about this video clip, for Bill anyway, is that it's the first real glimpse of what we were going to experience driving on the highways of India. You know, I don't remember anybody ever actually screaming in terror, but I'll bet a few thought about it once or twice.
We stopped to take some foggy pictures of the UNESCO World Heritage Qutab Minar, the world's tallest brick minaret. See it over there in the mist?
Does the telephoto lens help? I'll bet it looks really impressive when you can see it.
While we were driving to Jaipur, Davinder explained the intracies of online dating in India. Here's a Flash video of the discussion.
Did you know that India has long been noted as a source of some of the world's finest, strongest marble? I didn't know that.
But there are plenty of marble dealers on the road from Delhi to Jaipur. The quarries are nearby.
That concrete thing is a toll booth. Really. Our driver's assistant, by coincidence also named Davinder, had to drop off some money before we could continue.
India has plenty of rules and regulations regarding tolls. Looks like it's advantageous around here to get yourself elected to public office or win a gallantry award.
Waiting to pay another toll. This became a theme in our journey.
At least this tool booth looks like a toll booth.
Davinder told us that all the yellow flowers we'd see were fields of mustard. The way he said it made me think he didn't really want to be asked again about all the yellow flowers.
Here's a Flash video that illustrates what it's like to ride in a big bus along the Indian version of an Interstate highway. We're on the wrong side of the road, of course, but you can blame that on the British,. What you can't blame on them is the Indian tendency to ignore the white lines. This clip ends at nice roadside pit stop.
Ahh...a nice rest stop.
With a gift shop! I wonder if we'll see any more gift shops like this on the trip? Should we spend all our rupees on trinkets now? Maybe?
Mmmmm, lunch. But Bill wasn't hungry, so he wandered outside.
Seems that almost everywhere you look in India, something is under construction. And every construction site uses these rickety sticks to hold things up, much like we'd use pine two by fours.
Davinder says they're teak wood.
But what is this rest stop called? Ah, see that map over there on the wall? Let's have a look.
Now we know where we are! The New Gandpati Resort, halfway between Delhi and Jaipur!
Back on the road.
Bill was like a kid -- every time he saw an exotic animal on the road he tried to get a picture.
See? There's an animal over there somewhere.
And another. I think that's a water buffalo shopping for a new colorful outfit.
That water buffalo is more interested in the food carts.
India is a land of merchants.
And mustard fields.
Hey Davinder! What are those yellow flowers again?
More road. See? Even you aren't terrified anymore. It just looks like we're going to squash those motorcycles and other little vehicles, but we never do.
It's hard to believe our driver can thread his way through all this. Bill learned right away that part of our driver's secret for success is his creative ability to blow the bus's horn. In fact, it soon became obvious that horn-blowing in India is an art form. When the culture of the road has you constantly weaving in and out of traffic, other drivers actually welcome the sound of your horn so the know to get out of the way. Nobody gets mad when you blow your horn. I'm not kidding!
See? Horn blowing is actually encouraged around here.
Uh, oh ... even more traffic. Looks like we're arriving in Jaipur.
There's a big park up ahead. Those aren't dead bodies; that's just homeless people napping in the warm sun.
And this is a massive cricket field. Actually a collection of fields, as there are cricket matches going on everywhere. It's the national game of India.
Look! A statue of a man on a horse!
And up ahead is Jaipur's very impressive Albert Hall Museum, designed by Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob and opened as public museum in 1887.
Jaipur, we have arrived!