We had tickets for the 10.10am train to Ajmer so got up early and took a pain-free bus the one hour drive to the train station at Abu Road. At the train station we sat down to wait and a lady sat next to me and chuckled at how i'd tied my sari, which I thought was right! I stood up and she dressed me- it felt much better when it was pulled tight and tucked in properly! We got onto the train and in our compartment were two old people chopping stinky onions for lunch and farting and three younger men who kept burping and trying to read my diary as I wrote it! I got tired of the people so shuffled up into my bed (the top bunk which was difficult with a long skirt on) and slept for over 2 hours. We arrived in Ajmer and were looking for the bus to Pushkar. We walked straight through the onslaught of rickshaw drivers, out of the car park and round the corner. We decided to take a cycle rickshaw as they have less money. the thin little man cycled/pushed us all the way to the bus station and eve took us in and showed us where to buy a ticket. We got straight onto the bus and the man in front of us chatted to us all the way there. He owned a guesthouse and we agreed to have a look at his place first as he would drive us there. He showed us to his car which was an old beetle-style one and put our bags into the boot. We drove through the mayhem of cows and motorbikes through spaces that I didn't think were big enough for the car. We got stuck behind motorbikes several times and I was worried about the safety of our bags but after 10 minutes we were outside the guest house which seemed nice, if a little dilapidated. He took us inside and gestured that all of the rooms were full downstairs (despite the doors all being ajar during the day) so took us to the top floor and into a drab looking room with wires dangling everywhere. We stayed whilst he showed us all of the 'features' including the "air-cooler" which was a box outside the window with a giant fan inside. He plugged it in and turned it on and out came a giant cloud of dust. He came back in and promised that in 5 minutes the room would be cold (if you didn't die of dust inhalation or become deaf from the noise!) He then proceeded to plug in the TV which involved balancing on the balcony on a chair to pull down a cable from the wall, passing it through the pre-cut (giant) hole in the mosquito net, plugging it in without being shocked by the sparks eminating from the plug socket and wiggling it around until the little red light came on. With the noise from the TV on nice and loud to prevent thinking, he returned outside and banged the air-cooler to release a second plume of dust. We'd already decided that we didn't want to stay here so said that we were going to check out another couple of places first. He then wanted to show us his 'rooftop restaurant' which was on the rooftop but consisted of 2 very dirty tables- it just compounded our decision. We opted for a slightly more expensive, and nicer, hotel and took the more expensive room at rs350 but at least it wasn't one of the tin sheds on the roof! We had dinner, rented a DVD to watch in our room and watched Jonny English and Rat Race before bed.
I had set my alarm for 6.30 so left Sam sleeping peacefully, donned my sari and headed towards the lake to see the pilgrims bathing in the ghats. There were a lot of people milling about so I followed a group of pilgrims down to the brama temple, bought a drink and headed back down the road as i'd passed all of the ghats. I stopped at an alley with a green 'donations' bow and decided that it would be a good place to go and see the lake. I left my shoes in the rack, pulled my sari up over my head, and walked down the marble steps which were already warm in the morning sun. I sat on a wall about 20 m from the concrete, rectangular ghat and watched a few women at first washing their feet and then a couple got into the water and sat down fully clothed- crazy people! I wasn't sat there for long before a lady sat next to me and shooed away the cow that was stood behind me (which I hadn't noticed) and it turned around and stood on my sari, scraping it's leg down my back, it then proceeded to wee right next to me so I got up and left. I put my shoes on and wandered back along the main road to another smaller alley where I again left my shoes and went to the waterside. There was a tree with a ledge around it so I sat down in the shade next to the half-full ghat devoid of people with the exception of a holy man performing some sort of ceremony whilst keeping glancing over at me, maybe wondering why someone was bothering to watch him and not actually go into the water. We was drinking little amounts of the water in 3 small sips and putting powders into the water, flicking it onto his face and over his shoulders. It was serene to sit and watch. I thought that maybe it was new water (it looked really clean) and he was blessing it? A few people turned up and began to bathe then 2 children arrived, stripped down to their boxers and bomb-dived in creating an almighty splash right next to the holy man but he didn't seem bothered.
I decided that it was time to get Sam up so bought some cold water and returned to the hotel. When I arrived I decided that I was tired again so got into bed and went back to sleep. We woke at 10am, had breakfast (I tried museli which was salted rice-crispies with coconut, cashew nuts and hot milk- never again!) and we retired to our room to plan our day. I did our clothes washing under a tap as there was no bucket and Sam got the bad news from his parents that there is an ash cloud over the UK from a volcano in Iceland so there is a high chance that they won't be able to come on holiday and see us We went to see the ghats at 1pm in the midday sun and the marble floor was excrutiatingly hot! We left our shoes in the rack and ran down the steps, our feet felt burnt when we reached the shade under the tree where I had been this morning. A group of Indian pilgrims arrived just after us and each unloaded a bag of clothes and proceeded to wash them in the holy water. They had brought a priest with them and he came over to us, did a little chant, tied some red and yellow string around our wrists and asked for a donation- he seemed unhappy with our rs10 but to be fair a) we're not religious so giving money to god is a bit silly and b) we didn't ask him to do the 'blessing'! We ran back to our shoes and headed to the Brama temple. It was closed until 3pm and it was now 2.45 so we wandered around the tourist-tat stalls which, in this area, were mostly swords and plastic toys. At 3pm we approached the temple but, as there was no-where safe to leave the camera we went in one by one- Sam first. I sat on a bench behind the shoe minders and mainly kept my eyes fixed on the ground because I don't like the looks that I get from Indian men when i'm by myself- they're sleezy. When Sam returned 10 minutes later he said that it was definately worth it so I left the bag and my shoes with Sam and sped past the slow-moving old people on the steps, through the 'security' check where the lady asked me what country i'm from before beeping through the scanner and walking in. The marble stones on the walls and floor were inscribed with Hindi as tombstones and the shrine in the centre was bustling with colour, bell-ringing and prayer. A man introduced himself before showing me the metal deity shrine in the basement and telling me about the temple in his town which is, according to him, the number 1 temple! I rang the bell here once he'd left, the first time i've rung one then had a look at the main shrine upstairs once i'f fought my way in. The tombstones, some inlaid with rupee coins were my favourite part of the temple. I went outside to find Sam making friends with the locals so he said goodbye and we went in search of chai. It wasn't long before we found a seller in the street and we each recieved our little plastic cup of sugary yummy chai. Sam took a photo of the guy straining the tea (with his permission of course!) We were wandering along the main street and saw a shop selling what looked like pestel and mortar bowls. We were having a look when the owner asked if we'd like a demonstration. Yes please, so we sat in the back of his shop whilst he explained that they were used for healing, made Sam lie on his back, placed the bowls on his and rubbed them with the stick to make them reverberated. Once we'd seen them in action and decided that we didn't want to buy one, the man tried to get Sam to give him money for the 'healing'! We had walked a little further down the road when an old man told us to go down that alley way to the ghats, I thought that maybe we'd missed something so I headed in that direction. He followed us down to the lake with the other man from his stall, the older man pretended to not speak any English so the younger man took over. He told us to take a photo of the ghat (which you're not supposed to do) then to put our hand together, we soon let go though as we didn't feel it appropriate. He took us down to the edge of the water made us sit down, cup our hands together and do a little 'repeat after me' ritual. It was quite nice but I was wary of the camera in the outside pocket of the bag on my back and wondering when the "now give me money" was going to come. It came soon enough. He started talking about 'poor people eating' and 'donating' then showed us a photo album of people having a fest then said we could donate 20, 30 or 50 US$ to his 'charity'! I don't think so! I started to walk away and Sam tried to reason with him but to no avail and left with the man saying "this is bad luck" boo hoo, he obviously doesn't realise that scamming people is a 'bad luck bringing' kind of job! I bought a couple of little elephant painting from a lovely old man who turned his shop upside down to find all of his small paintings and also a string of cotton elephants from a different stall. In the evening we went to the sunset cafe and chatted to an American man about what it's like to be British in India. A busker came over as we'd just finished eating and crouched down to play his Serangi (stringed instrument from Nepal). Sam asked if he could have a go and the man demonstrated a scale for him and handed it over. Sam figured out all of the basics straight away but it was difficult to get it to sound good! He had a CD of him playing and his wife singing so we bought one for rs 156 and took it back to the room to listen to it before bed.