Monday, February 21, 2011

Udaipur - days 8 & 9

The lake city and romantic city. Well as lake city it lives up to it's name immediately as when you arrive in the centre you will immediately realise the city circles a vast lake with ghats and monuments and palaces all around. Our hotel was just out of the centre (hill lake hotel) only ten minutes away but it was neatly tucked in the local houses. One thing to be said was the great view of the lake from the hotel room and from the roof!

The first evening we ventured in the centre which is very touristy with lots of people asking you to buy pashmina, tops, Tshirts etc and the occasional tuk tuk driver offering "want small joint?" - we kept on walking around until a made to measure tailor shop owner (just next to Edelvise cafe) managed to lure us in his shop. Daphne was intrigued to order a nice coat and (although I was sceptic that the owner's promise to have it done by the next day at 6pm) measures were taken and appointment was done for fitting.

The eve was dinner at whistling teal restaurant at the Raj Palace hotel. Service and food was great and the old waiter was superbly exquisite with his old British style manners and sparkling smile. On the way back to the hotel we encountered two dangers which are common in India - dogs and cows! Well in total darkness I nearly stepped on a dog which from the sound of his consent growl seemed either being rabid or else extremely pissed off. Just two seconds later we turn a corner and find a cow charging straight towards us, I escaped but a sudden change in direction of the cow hit Daphne and although not injured wasn't happy as she was quite scared with the experience.

The next day after breakfast we noticed a monkey on a nearby roof - the neighbour came out and left some chapati on her roof and in seconds monkeys started springing out from everywhere. Was actually cool to watch as they explored the roofs and obviously mess somebody's laundry.

We then went out and decided to avoid the obvious tourist places and ventured in the tiny roads of the city - great we found the locals' market!! This was a relief no tourists and no one bugging you to buy stuff, only locals smiling at us and willing to help when we ask about some strange thing we saw in a shop or one of the stalls. We met a young guy at a spice shop who was so eager to teach us about spices and we spent an hour learning all about the 6 varieties of Masala.

From there we lingered on going round the market, eating some yummy street food, drinking chai and avoiding cow dung and touts until time came for our tailor appointment. Just as I thought when we arrived at 6pm he told us to go back in 45min as they had to finalise the piece, then when we went back again a whole story that they had no electricity etc etc was invented - conclusion the coat wasn't ready! Saying no to the offer of having the coat sent to the next hotel at least made the guy change attitude and he gave us our deposit back.

That evening we enjoyed dinner at a lakeside restaurant and I must say the view of the water palace and main palace lit up at nite is spectacular.

Udaipur was a nice city to visit but would suggest to avoid the touristy bits and enjoy more the locals!

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