What a long day! We left the hotel in Varanasi this morning at 7am and arrived in Khajuraho at 7pm. The closure of Jet Airlines meant we had to drive, and its a fair distance, the travel made worse by the state of the road.
India is building its infrastructure and upgrading its road network along many of its existing highways. In 10 years time the roads will be wonderful, but at the moment there is a lot of disruption and our bus had to pick it's way through endless roadworks and diversions.
In the words of our guide, there are only three requirements for driving in India. Good brakes, a good horn, and good luck. We must have been in possession of all three because we made it through safely, although my driving style has probably been irretrievably changed by the experience.
Freight trucks made up the majority of traffic - brightly decorated - and not particularly speedy. Our bus regularly overtook them - across solid yellow lines, around blind corners, you name it. The technique is to pull out and ignore oncoming traffic unless it's the size of a truck or bus. Bikes and motorcycles can be disregarded and pushed to the outskirts. In the event of an oncoming truck, then the two vehicles will slow down sufficiently to pass 5 cms apart before carrying on. If this results in a temporary 3 lanes of traffic, that's fine.
Improbably it all seems to work and everyone is courteous.
The countryside is richly fertile. Stock don't graze the fields which are reserved strictly for crops, instead the cattle graze the side of the road, and live their lives alongside humanity. Most appeared to be fed with chaff and hay as well, but some unfortunately were eating plastic and other rubbish that littered the border of the roads.
Rather concerningly, since my camera and equipment was passed back and forth through the x-ray machine at Delhi airport, my card reader no longer works and I can't download photos. The card itself appears undamaged as I can see the photos on the camera itself. Either the card reader, or the drive on my laptop was damaged, so I'm now using my phone as a camera so I still can take and access photos and I'll worry about those on the camera when I get back home.
We attended a folk performance this evening, which was all very colourful - but we were glad to get to our beds.
Waiting 20 minutes at a railway crossing
Passengers disembarking from the train
Fertile farming land