I was so afraid that I had sent my deposit to a website and would not have anyone show up when I arrived. Not so. My driver met us with a sign as we exited baggage claim in Delhi. He had bottled water for us and knew instinctively that after a quick lunch we really needed to sleep. His English was imperfect but he made up for it by having the most charming soul one would ever want to spend two weeks in a car with. His driving was very scary the first day, but soon I realized he was driving like everyone else in India. To the uninitiated it seems scarey to pass on a blind curve, but everyone in India does it and expects it. No one drives at a speed where they can't stop if they meet another car on the curve, and it's no big deal if both cars have to slow down and negotiate who gets to go. Ramesh picked out terrific hotels for us to stay at and I found that the price he paid plus his commission was still less than I would have paid had I booked on the internet. None of the hotels were swanky (except for the one "heritage" hotel we requested and paid extra for (recommend you do this at least once!) but they were fun hotels where you could go to the roof with a beer and meet other travelers from all over the world-perhaps to team up and find a good dinner spot (or the driver would be happy to find you one if you are not that adventurous). The guides were also well chosen. One took us to a little tea room just to see the view. We suggested having tea while we were there and for a buck the three of us sat for tea and light snacks in this great spot I never would have found without a guide (wonder if the guide got a twenty cent kickback?) Another guide got me a twenty cent chunk of opium to help my back which was quite sore that day. Wherever we went our driver would explain the significance of all the minor curiosities we saw. We stopped for tea and he explained why a motorcycle in a glass case was covered in flowers. (If you must know, take the tour with Bagwhan and he will tell you) Or why the women in certain villages dress the way they do or how Bagwhan starts his day by feeding fresh bread to the local cows. We got to pray at the temples with our driver, feed the fish in the lakes with our driver and eat at little roadside spots with our driver (He preferred to take us to tourist lunches and they were quite good, so a mix is probably the way to go)
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