Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 7 -- Pushkar camel festival

Today it was off to see the camels. The festival had reached its climax the night before, so activities were in full swing. We went to the stadium for some tug-of-war and jug-carrying contests as painted camels passed by. One rather ornate camel sat inside the stadium, keeping an eye on the festivities. After that, we wandered down to Puskar lake where locals were bathing in the spiritual waters. Jon and I kept a respected distance and watched from a rooftop restaurant.

After lunch while walking in the huge crowds, my wallet was stolen. I knew it had happened immediately, but by the time I turned around, I'm sure the thief was long gone. Luckily, I only lost a few things: about $30 in rupees, my debit card, my Visa, driver's license, and insurance card. After wandering around town seeking the only Internet cafe, I was able to cancel the cards in short order and get some replacements sent to our home (Luckily, this Internet cafe had Skype on its computers, making calling the US easy). The lady at the computer next to me was from San Francisco, and she was canceling her credit cards as well, since her wallet had been stolen. As I always do when traveling internationally, most of my Indian money, all my US money, an emergency credit card, and my passport were tucked safely in my money belt worn under my shirt. Thank goodness!

One person told us about a lost and found area where I might be able to recover my lost wallet, but a police officer who was new on the job and not familiar with the area led us on a wild goose chase before finding the right office. It was difficult to keep up with him and make our way through the crowds, but we did manage to see quite a bit of the festival!

Back at the hotel, we managed to catch the latest episode of The Amazing Race on AXN quite by accident (the same way and on the same network we found it in Thailand), which was a nice surprise. It was followed by an episode of TAR Asia complete with its own counterfeit Phil!

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