My preferred mode of travel is most definitely the sleeper coach. Not only does it get you where you want, when you want, in comfort but unlike the railway — which I’d much prefer — I can actually get a seat!
So I arrived in Udaipur just after 5am and as the hostel was only 30mins walk away I jostled the backpack in place and got walking. 10mins away from the hustle and bustle of long distance buses coming and going the streets fell silent — new for me in India — the walk was calm and peaceful.
I arrived near the hostel and after 10mins of searching I found a rather knackered old sign that belonged to them. Another 30mins later I finally found the door as the sign was nowhere near and only gave a hint that I was near it’s rabbit warren of small side streets. It was here I found Pierre (a new version) sat outside waiting to enter as soon as he deemed it ok to knock, and me being me, knocked immediately and tried the enormous gates as I always let the hostels know I’ll be early and check with them.
So here I was in Udaipur, the city of lakes and what a relaxing place it turned out to be with well… lakes, palaces and an almost Venice’esque feel with it’s extravagant bridges.
Bar the obvious peak times on main side streets, I found Udaipur a lovely place to hang out and watch the world go by! I paid a visit to the palace — as you do — along with Pierre but I gave my interior ticket away once I realised how huge the cues were inside!
Unfortunately it was what I assumed to be an Indian holiday of sorts as the cues were enormous, stretching into two floors. At least o got to see some of the palace and the views of the lake below.
Hey, see what I did there! 😀 Or maybe not…
Food was amazing in Udaipur if you know where to look, especially as I’m a Gluten Free weirdo! 😀 The Jasmine restaurant was my early morning breakfast/brunch place sat right next to the water and the owner a genuinely interested guy who’d gladly chat about the local traffic jam across the water, ask about comparisons to back in England or just have a laugh about one thing or another — a lovely guy!
My favourite place to eat was a rooftop restaurant with superb views of the palace and lake, called Yummy Yoga. This was a family run establishment with a sincere and lovely vibe, a fun juvenile cat and superb pumpkin curry and GF japati! There was no doubt that I would frequent both this and Jasmine every day.
Ok I just couldn’t help myself! Along the Main Street through where I was, there were a large amount of art shops selling similar wares of all kinds. A particular style of piece that caught my attention were local art that entailed some high detail brushwork usually entailing gold paint in some form. One particular store had exceptional work of a standard that even left me — the super-picky perfectionist — impressed, and so I thought I’d give the art, the art of haggle…
This was the first time I’d seriously haggled but I also went in with a ‘if I don’t get the price I’m happy with, then f*ck it!’ attitude, and any of you who know me when I’m in stern mode, you’ll understand! 😉 The sad thing is the shop owner, part of the family of artists who’s work was for sale was such a nice bloke but I wasn’t having it … I wanted what I wanted and eventually after some sweating and slight protest from his side of the counter I purchased 3 items for less than the price of 2 — he was even shaking his head slightly when I left although the following day I did pop in and share a good ‘hey’ when he was working on another piece.
ABOVE: 1. One of many temples along the streets. 2. That is actually a dead lizard! 3. Dheeraj at his family store after my winning haggle. 4. The boys nervously waiting for the banger to go off beneath them.
As Diwali was at its tale end, there were the odd firework still going off, mainly due to the children and one particular time I was witness to 3 boys setting off the loudest bangers I’ve ever heard, (bar the Indian Bomb from a previous post). Not only were they setting them off normally but they were also trying to find places that would amplify the explosion and it was fun to watch them set one off under a stone seat that they then jumped on top of nervously waiting for the bang.
A cut above.
After a few weeks away I noticed that the old mop was looking a little straggled so to maintain my most handsome of image I thought I’d give the local barber a try. Overall it was a good experience with only the sharp scissor nose hair trim being a tad unnerving and the unexpected head and face massage getting the blood flow in full effect. I must also add that the beard trim with only scissors was a top-notch job!
Just check out the good looking guy in the photo. 😉
Below are some general pictures I shot among my wanderings:
The louder I am, the better I am… (yawn).
I liked Udaipur, it’s a pity my hostel was crap! One of the owners was a musician… I left that hanging there because if you know me you’ll also know that I’ve worked with many over the years both professionally and personally. You might also know that I find muso’s who assume that everyone must experience their god-like prowess on the guitar or whatever at uncomfortably loud volume quite abhorrent.
As much as he was talented, playing his guitar and over-riding all other guest players with his own volume — typical of egomaniac muso’s — just pissed me off but his performances also took over the main social area. Place all of this at 80—90dB in the most reverberated room on earth and you audio techs out there will understand that I’d like to still be able to hear in 5 years time, no matter how good he ‘thinks’ he is.
I also had my watch stolen! It was my fault as I left it in the shower and only realised when I went to check the time during breakfast and was reminded of my tan. Another of the guests whom I met said they’d seen it where I’d left it — it’s ok she’s a girl and it was far too big for her wrists, although I never did check to see if she had a fella back home she might have to need for a travel gift! 😄
But anyway, it was never returned and I’m on the hunt for a new one. The annoying part is that due to my failing eyes, my close vision is crap and I’d purposefully bought a large character LCD, but such is the world and all that!