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Unplanned fun

Two mistakes—that’s all it took for me to realise that unplanned trips might speak of a spirit of adventure...

Written by Maya Pillai | Published: February 1, 2009 1:43 am

Impulsive travelling is fun,if you ignore pitfalls

Two mistakes—that’s all it took for me to realise that unplanned trips might speak of a spirit of adventure,but there is a level of fatheadedness involved which takes one’s breath away. Think about it—Rajasthan at the peak of the tourist season,and my friends and I decided to take a chance and not book a room in advance. Mistake No.1.

We were rattling along in a crowded Rajasthan state transport bus on the first day of the New Year. We had woken up at 4 am to catch the first bus from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer. It was our fourth day in the state,and we hadn’t yet seen the desert. The golden dunes,we had assumed,were common sight there. But as it turned out,that was just one of our smaller misconceptions.When the bus stopped,a random villager jumped in and took the seat in front of us. As if by ESP he sensed our lack of accommodation and swooped down on us. “I have a place. Beautiful. You can stay in one room for Rs 150. Call this number when you reach there,” he said and jumped off the bus just as quickly as he had gotten in. For the next 20 seconds we all sat looking at each other. Then we burst out laughing in unison. That was Mistake No.2—thinking that we could so lightly shake off the tourist-trappers of Rajasthan.

The realisation of that mistake dawned on us as soon as we arrived in Jaisalmer. The reception was grand—just what we needed after the bumpy bus ride. Outside the bus station,we were hounded by at least 10 Rabid Rickshawallahs — all of them eerily well informed about our lack of accommodation. Each one of them was offering to take us to a place where we would definitely get a room. The only way we could escape them was to yell at them. Or so we thought. One of the smarter ones followed us in his auto and continued promotion. More yelling followed.

By now we were a little shaken,but still confident of finding a place. Mistakenly confident,as it turned out. We tried out at least seven hotels,only to hear “No rooms available”. Finally,tired and desperate for a shower,I called up a friend,who asked me to try the one place which should have occurred to us — a RTDC

hotel. There we finally found a little hut at the most decent amount,which made all the trouble worth it. Still,I will now think twice before I pack my bags on an impulse.

(mayapillai88@gmail.com)

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