6 Nov 2013
Today starts with a bit more drama than expected: Sebastian has developed a fever overnight and is very distressed. There are no doctors nearby so there is no option but to get him into the jeep and to a small hospital 20 minutes away where the doctor is working today. The support team kicks into action and loads him in. At the hospital the doctor wants to give him an injection – his first question is ‘how much will it cost?’ but he needn’t have worried because all up it costs $5 for injection, painkillers, antibiotics and fever meds – and the doctor. And well worth the money as within 15mins Sebastian is weak but almost back to normal again making smart remarks.
We then have 3 hours drive through to Udaipur. At first the roads are extremely empty but then we run into a seemingly endless convoy of trucks that our driver tries to overtake with one kamikaze move after another. His phone rings almost constantly – we eventually consider he has arranged liaisons with a 1000 concubines and had a bit of a row with his wife. We are wanting to seize the phone and throw it out the window, particularly when he is texting, honking the horn and changing gear – no hands on the wheel. Naveen appears to blissfully sleep through everything but later explains that it is best to close your eyes while sitting in the front seat (or anywhere that you can see the road ahead I decide!).
Although Diwali has finished, there is an important temple in Udaipur that people from the neighbouring state of Ghujarat come to in a sort of pilgrimage, so the city is fully booked. The centre of town is cordoned off, so we are rather unceremoniously transferred to tuk-tuks along with all our gear in what appears to be a local rubbish dump – we were somewhat surprised to find that rubbish bins and rubbish trucks actually existed.
The city was total pandemonium, made worse because they weren’t going to let even the tuk-tuks through to anywhere near the hotel. Naveen sweet-talked the policemen and got permission for 2 tuk-tuks to go through. He then had to commandeer a motor bike to make sure that we had got to the hotel and then go back and bribe the policemen to let the rest through.
The hotel is very central, and we are welcomed again with juice and flower garlands. My room is adequate (quite a come-down from last night). Brian and Eke have a large light airy room looking right into the restaurant across the narrow road. Brian wonders if they could pass him a Kingfisher beer!
We set off for lunch at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the lake – absolutely stunning views. No wonder we are hungry – it is 3.00pm. I have spring rolls Indian style (curry vege in a chapati). Then Naveen takes us for an orientation walk – only 10 mins as everything is very compact. Udaipur is much more of a tourist town and lots of languages are spoken. I quite surprised when someone asked where I was from; I said NZ and they responded ‘Haere mai’. Some continue walking around but I am very hot and did not want to develop a fever so I lie down until our next outing.
We have a sunset cruise on the lake and see all the beautiful palaces in and around the lake. These are all owned by the Maharajah but many are now leased out as 5 star hotels. We see the temple that all the people from Ghujarat have come to see and another palace far away on the hilltop.
On the way back we stop at a palace museum to see a culture show – although we have seen some of the dances before, this performance is special. It has been developed and performed by a family, with dances passed down from mother to daughter. Three generations dance for us (and do a puppet show) and the final dance is a fairly old lady who balances 11 pots on her head and does all sorts of amazing balancing acts as well. The saris and veils are very colourful and the movement of their hands is exquisite.
Then we walk for dinner at another rooftop restaurant with a magnificent view of the lake and city lights (and fireworks). All the Diwali lights make a great sight. I have Malai Kofta and try some of Eke’s sizzling fish dish. We leave Naveen to have his dinner later and head back to the hotel.
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
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