Palaces and poo problems

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December 18th 2008
Published: January 4th 2009
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Ye old carriage pulled by elephantsYe old carriage pulled by elephantsYe old carriage pulled by elephants

or so the sign said...not sure what the top speed would be on this baby!
A strange title but very suitable as you will see when you reach the end of the blog. The train from Jaipur to Udaipur ran almost like clockwork (if you discount an hour’s delay) and took 8 hours on a 2AC sleeper carriage - the second poshest class on the train...we know how to travel in style! It wasn’t that posh really, we had the bottom berths and an elderly Indian couple had the top berths and we offered to swap with them so they wouldn’t kill themselves climbing up and down the ladders.

The rickshaw drivers outside Udaipur station put Donna in a bad mood very quickly, the personal space was invaded a lot here by the drivers trying to offer over inflated prices as the pre-paid rickshaw booth was supposedly closed. This was a lie of course and a nearby policeman gave them all a telling off and although we couldn’t speak Hindu the tone of it sounded something like ‘I’m watching you so don’t try and take the p*ss with these whiteys’. 40 rupees got us a ride to a good hotel with a room for 600 rupees with fan and hot water. Like many of the
Lake palace Lake palace Lake palace

You may recognise this from the James Bond film Octopussy. Notice the children cleaning their clothes in the not so clean lake water.
hotels it had a rooftop restaurant which had an impressive view of the City and Lake palaces, you may recognise some of the photos of these palaces because they were used as locations for the James Bond film Octopussy. You are reminded of this fact everywhere you go in town as all the restaurants have nightly showings of Octopussy and various tat gifts for the James Bond lover to buy. Considering they show this bloody film every night they could get a better quality copy than the green-tinged VCD we sat through, we even think some places had a projector screen set up to show the film. Roger Moore would turn in his grave to know this...oh, he’s not dead yet is he?

The City Palace was quite impressive with it’s various ‘authentic’ corridors and rooms which the Maharaja had occupied with his various associated people. The Lake Palace looked good from a distance but you can’t go into it as it has been converted into a posh hotel, but it is strange to see this big white building in the middle of this artificially expanded lake. It does like kinda romantic but the water quality of the lake
City palace City palace City palace

It was tall
is very questionable and it’s stagnation could get a little bit stinky at times. You wouldn’t want to wash your clothes in it like some of the locals seemed to be doing.

On a positive note the Bagore-Ki-Haveli was very interesting and very good value...probably for the wrong reasons. It had lots of examples of Indian dress wear and art and religious belief information, but to be honest we liked it for mainly 3 things, these were: the world’s biggest turban; some weird pictures of dance moves and a very random polystyrene sculpture museum. Don’t ask why, we didn’t!

We can make a couple of observations of India now we are quite a way into our Indian adventure. In Rajasthan at least, and Delhi, we noticed that most of the locals you find walking, driving or working are men and whilst the men will actively talk with the foreigners the women shy away from any contact and that’s if you can find any women to talk with. Sometimes we could walk for almost an hour in the parts of Rajasthan we visited without seeing any women at all. We really found this really strange and we won’t comment any further on this so early into our Indian experience. Our second observation is that we found that cows are really given the run of the land and are allowed to wander anywhere in the city streets, even if this means holding up a huge line of would think they were sacred or something! This brings us nicely onto the poo issues.

First of all trying to avoid the cow pats, beggars and crazy rickshaws of Udaipur, Donna was lucky enough to have a bird poo all over her shoulder...yes we know this is meant to be lucky, but things just got worse from here on in. Then Donna started with really bad diahorrea and sickness on the day we were preparing to leave for a 16 hour bus journey to Mumbai. Impeccable timing Donna...see our Inca Trail blog entry . Furthermore, there seems to be a bit of a toilet paper scam going on in parts of India so that the hotels give you barely enough paper for one wipe of your arse and then the shop keepers try and charge you between 50p-£1 for one roll of toilet paper, arrrggghhh very annoying! We started to think maybe the restaurants here
Our funniest picture of the visitOur funniest picture of the visitOur funniest picture of the visit

..some Indian dance think?
give you the shits and are in on the toilet roll profiteering which you have to buy to clean up the mess. Then Donna’s Indian cookery course was cancelled, a power cut stopped Neil getting his pizza for lunch and our mobile phone company here in India - IDEA decided to steal 1000 rupees from our sim card for no reason (more on this later). To top it all off we got to the bus station only to find our Volvo AC bus had broken down and we would have to take another bus to Mumbai.

We enjoyed Udaipur for the 3 days we spent there, despite our series of unfortunate events but another one of those journeys from hell (the type which happens, for Donna at least, once every 6 months or so) was about begin.

Additional photos below
Photos: 34, Displayed: 25


Prepare your Taches gentlemenPrepare your Taches gentlemen
Prepare your Taches gentlemen

for today...we go to WAR!
Old Indian woman searching for who knows what?Old Indian woman searching for who knows what?
Old Indian woman searching for who knows what?

see what we mean about not wanting to wash your clothes in the lake?
A horse made to look like an elephant?A horse made to look like an elephant?
A horse made to look like an elephant?

your guess is as good as ours
The World Largest Turban at the Bagore-Ki-HaveliThe World Largest Turban at the Bagore-Ki-Haveli
The World Largest Turban at the Bagore-Ki-Haveli

...weird and from each direction you viewed it represented a different indian state depending on how it was wrapped.
Room in city palaceRoom in city palace
Room in city palace sign of Roger Moore anywhere!
Two indian dolls?Two indian dolls?
Two indian dolls?

we dont think the dolls were to scale
Three turban examplesThree turban examples
Three turban examples

Each turban can indicate the profession or origin of the person wearing it. We remember that the oneon the far right was for a barber.

4th January 2009

Always sleep on the top
I learned after my first indian train ride that it's best to sleep on the top bunk. Not only are you not accidently trod on by people climbing up and down or knocked by folks walking down the narrow walkway but you're also far away from the animals that call the train home. Hope you're feeling better Donna. And Happy New Year to both of you.

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