We arrived in Udaipur just before 9pm. We didn't get nearly as much hassle as we expected from the tuktuk drivers, who quickly reduced there price from 350 Rupees (crazy price) to 120. However, upon arriving at our guesthouse we found out that there is a tuktuk mafia in Udaipur, who demand money from the hostels and hotels they take tourist too. So although we'd booked ahead, and the tuktuk driver had simply taken us where we requested, he'd got 120 from us and 100 from the guesthouse. We were told a local would only pay about 40 for the same journey.
Anyway, we arrived safe and sound, and Ricky who runs the guesthouse was so funny and friendly, which was a relief! For some crazy reason they seem to love Kris over here. They seem to think he's really muscley and macho!! Crazy I know!!! On our last trip we found out that Kris' name meant an ancient Malay warrior. This time, in India, Kris is a film/cartoon super hero which they find funny! After a pretty funny chat with Ricky and his friend we headed to a rooftop restaurant they recommended, which did an amazing tomato and aubergine curry!
The next morning Kris woke up with...let's say an upset stomach. I guess the Delhi belly finally caught up with him!!!! We headed to the city palace anyway and then the Jagdish Temple and Ghats, which are pretty much steps down to the stagnant lake. This is where you see women washing there clothes and themselves. We were pretty surprised to see a women topless washing in the lake, as it's so important that women cover up here!
Our first impressions of Udaipur were really good. It seems a lot more relaxed, and we're getting even less hassle. There are a lot more tourists here as well. Everywhere else we seem to have been the only white face! A lot of the tourists are hippies though, so I think we still stand out because we haven't got braided hair or tie die clothing! (Sorry to those reading who have braided hair and tie die clothing who aren't hippies)
In the evening we went to a bar and watched James Bond Octopussy shown from a rooftop projector. Most of the movie was filmed in Udaipur. The Lake Palace Hotel that appears to be floating in the middle of the lake was the island of women in the film (where Octopussy lived). They also used the monsoon palace up on the hill and streets by our guesthouse.
Kris decided not have curry but I soldiered on for my 9th curry in 9 days!
The next day we went to a nearby 'bathing' ghatt to catch a boat ride around the lake. It was pretty nice, especially as the middle of the lake didn't didn't have rubbish! Got a good view of the palaces, the Lake Palace hotel and the boat used in James Bond film Octopussy. The cheapest price for a room in the lake palace hotel was £200. With Kris belly still delicate we found a sandwich shop. It wasn't a mirage, so we had egg and tomato on brown seeded loaf. It was a welcome change! Although I would still prefer curry to the daily ham & cheese work sandwiches!
We later caught a cable car to a good viewpoint so that's where we got the city pictures. That evening we went to Sunset Terrace. They remembered I was ill from the day before so recommended I had a lassi (yoghurt drink) and a plain Biriyani - lets hope it worked!
On the way back we walked into what looked like a carnival but we think it was a weekly prayer march. Some men were holding a palanquin (carry on shoulder). We thought there was a boy inside but it turned out to be 3 heads painted on footballs and really reminded us of Tom Hanks football friend from the film Castaway. We think they were singing Hare Krishna but not 100%.
The religion here and the rest of India seems to be a real mix and can be quite confusing. It's not clear what people believe.
We booked to stay 1 extra night as a couple more things to do and we reshuffled our plans again.
Udaipur is a beautiful place and the people take more care of their city. However there is still rubbish in the lake, the rubbish in the street, the pollution, the cow mess, the dog mess, that's India for you!
On our last day we did a cooking course. We couldn't get into the one we really wanted, so the lady recommended her friend. It was just us and Ursula in her little kitchen, but she was very sweet. She taught us to make real Chai, Chana Masala, Chapatis, Pakora and also the importance of wearing a sari!! The bit slung over her shoulder came in very handy for wiping her nose as she had a bit of a cold. We all sat cross legged on the floor peeling garlic and chopping onions. We also learnt that the best thing about chopping things on the floor is that you never have to worry about dropping anything on the floor...you're already down there. So any slippery little potato that got away from Ursula was soon found and returned to the bowl!!! Yum yum! It all adds to the flavour! She did tell us though that it was important to wash our bowls for hygiene reasons, food on floor fine, dirty bowls not!!
Kris hand-made the dough for the various Chapatis, and rolled them out. We then cooked about 5 different types, all delicious!
The food was really tasty (yes we ate it after all that). Ursula was so sweet and.keen to please she kept topping up my bowl and supplying us with all the different types of Chapati we'd made. We finished off with a Chai upstairs as Ursula wanted us to meet her grandson. They were a very sweet family so we're pleased we took the course.
Ricky woke up espiecially to help us find a tuk tuk at 5.25am which we did quickly and then off to catch our 6.15am train to Pushkar.