28. November 99 - Long live the simple original VW Camper Van
We spent last week in Pushkar at the camel Festival and for the first time since the beaches of Turkey we came into contact with tourists "en masse". The camel festival (the biggest in India) is not only famous for it's size but also for the tribal men and women from all over India, all wandering about the streets in their beautiful bright traditional costumes. Most of the tourists taken with the whole India idea, have been conned into parting with too much money for a piece of colourful cloth. This isn't such a bad thing except for example when you see a 196cm man towering above the generally small indians, his green camel print trousers clashing with the orange mirrored shirt and to top of the whole image, a multi coloured turban perched on his head. You can see the indian men saying in hindi "spot the tourist". But the women are equal in the fashion mistakes, many wearing a see through indian silk shawl over a tight fitting vest top (bra straps showing of course) and in doing so they're turning the average indian male into a breast grabbing monster. It's all become too much and we're ready to move on again, back to the traveling life where we also meet landsmen and fellow Europeans but they deserve a story all to themselves.....

Many have laughed at us and many more will probably laugh too, for in our VW van, already filled with three people, we have more junk than anyone else - surfboards, snowboards, bicycles, a boat and a broken mobile phone. We hope any fellow travelers reading this can also see the funny side and don't knife or tyres the next time they see us. We've met lots of people on the road so far, all with different goals, some like us heading for New Zealand, others to India and back and one couple around the world on their motorcycles:
Some of the travelers are traveling in style with huge re-built ex-army trucks others aren't enjoying such luxury for example two Dutch travelers we met who hitched to Russia and bought themselves a Russian motorbike with sidecar there...for 28 dollars! Needless to say the motorbike doesn't look like it could make it to the end of the road but they're in india now and are planning to go further.

Another couple, Fabio and Patricia, who we've met five times, are touring the world in their Renault 5 van with roof tent, proving that size doesn't matter. When you see them parked next to the huge converted lorries complete with solar panels, a fitted kitchen and a motorbike on the back you wonder if they're going to the same place, or indeed have come from the same place. One couple who are travelling in a converted lorry have a sattelite telephone, a lap top and wait for it, a welding machine (Schweissgerät) with them. And we thought we were high-tec with our broken mobile phone!

But the bravest traveler we've met so far is a man traveling on his own in his 22 year old mercedes mobile home. He's driving to India after already having driven through North and Central America, he walks with a stick and is 78 years old!

We've also met one fellow VW camper man, but only one, it's a bit outdated it seems. Much more in trend is a huge set of wheels with as many high-tec gadgets and machines as possible. Today though we were stunned into silence as a "neighbour" produced a bread oven complete with generator from the depths of his lorry, (did no-one tell him Indians have bread too?) Anyway we were then told they also have 220 volts inside the van so that they could take with them various kitchen appliances, an electric rasor and most importantly their electric toothbrushes!!

Long live the simple original VW Camper Van.


travellers on the road

travellers on the road

the busy streets of Pushkar