Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Udaipur - March 24th
Arrived at about 6 a.m. Bus trip was way too bumpy and swervy to sleep. I had constant thoughts of the bus tipping over. When I relayed these thoughts to Andrew (he escorted me to his friend's hotel), he told me that he actually knew someone who died on a night bus that tipped over about ten years ago. And in fact, the other girl traveling with us had received some sort of grant from the foundation the girl's parents set up in her name -- part of the provision was that she was to stay away from night buses. Well, she had tried to take the train and she had to get back to work -- what else to do? Take a camel?


The hotel Andrew led me to was very nice. It even had a pool! We went up to the roofttop deck, waiting for A's friend to arrive (who would give me a steep discount) and I had more luscious nutella/banana pancakes and gazed out over Udaipur. There's a lake in the center with a hotel that you aren't allowed to visit unless you pay for a very expensive lunch or dinner.
Also it seemed that every restaurant in town shows Octopussy at 7 or 7:30 p.m. due to it being set in Udaipur (or maybe just a big chase sequence? I don't know, I haven't seen it).

At last Yogi appeared and showed me to my room and then drove Andrew to work. I got an amazing HUGE room, soft bed and TRA LA LA cable tv! It was gorgeous.


I unpacked and headed out. I really liked Udaipur immediately. The narrow streets, the hills, the lake (despite being low on water).


I headed for the palace first. I wasn't terribly interested in it. Mostly it just showed lots of paintings of their former royalty going to battle, hacking enemies in half with their swords. Pretty graphic. I put on my iPod and hit shuffle to see if anything interesting would pop up. The opening to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade started. Seemed like good prowling around dimly lit narrow stairways and pretending I had to get past guards without them seeing me. Oh! And see that German couple over there? totally spies. I will stay away from them!

I was a bit bored.

From the palace I wandered a little around the city, always attracting the attention of shop keepers and little boys. The boys LOVE trying out their English on me. Standard phrases:
How are you?
What is your good name?
From what country are you?
America, very nice country.

[side note: I'm in Kathmandu at the moment and while I write this there is some serious jamming going on at the restaurant roof across the street - Bob Seger right now I think. I'm heading over there after this. Okay, I gave up on this post, went to the bar but it was too loud and smokey so I didn't stay. I went to the Yak Restaurant instead, and considering where this particular post is headed, that seemed appropriate.]
Eventually I realized I was pretty exhausted so I headed back for a nap. Had dinner in my room, watched a movie, tried to watch a second movie which got an hour in and then the cable went out. Ah well.
Next day, got up and checked out. Breakfast on the rooftop again. Today I decided on a photo trip to the local market, a boat trip around the lake, some interneting and then a sunset trip to the Monsoon Palace before my 9 p.m. night bus to Jodhpur. The marketplace was amazing. The food looked marvelous despite the copious amounts of flies.
Some kids let me hold a kid (goat). Pretty cute, except it tried to eat my hat.
The boat trip was all right... I started to feel a little weird, like I had no energy. The boat dumped us at an island cafe type place for about half an hour until the next boat came. I sat listless at a table, feeling a little lonely, missing Andy, and also concerned with the nauseousness I was feeling. Or maybe that was the thought of missing Andy (I kid. I know he's reading this. heh). Back on land, I dragged myself to an internet cafe and after about a half hour I started really sweating. And feeling dizzy. I was luckily only steps from my hotel so I held my breath and hurried back as fast as I could. Once there, I collapsed in a chair in the lobby. I felt green. An American guy sitting across from me said, "You don't look so good."
"I feel like crud," I moaned.
"Overdo it today?"
I didn't respond, I was racing to the restroom. And we'll leave the rest of the next three days to that. Let's just say I didn't make it to my Monsoon Palace trip, or the nightbus or anything really for a couple of days. It was horrible. I'm a baby when I'm sick by myself in New York. By myself, thousands of miles away? Ugh. But the hotel staff was great. They offered a doctor if I got much sicker. I mostly just hydrated and ate toast.
Finally I felt well enough to catch a bus. I decided on a day bus -- and hated the driver every mile of the way. He was going entirely too fast on swervy mountain roads with a top heavy bus and at one point we were airborne when he hit a bump. The entire bus screamed and he slowed down after that. I looked out the window at a rock wall along the road and we'd pass groups of monkeys sitting and watching the traffic going by. Just relaxing and watching. You could practically see their expressions, "Crazy humans."

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