Lakes, Sunsets, and Drunks

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Asia » India » Rajasthan » Udaipur
February 5th 2016
Published: February 12th 2016
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The seven hour bus ride went through some exquisite hilly scenery. I was sitting up front and got to take in all the views, as well as the general chaos that one might find on a public bus in India. The ride went well and there were two other foreigners on this bus, yet another couple of Montreal in fact. Once we arrived at the Udaipur bus station, I ended up splitting a rickshaw into the city center. The rickshaw dropped me off down the lane from my hostel. I approached and walked into Bunkyard hostel which seemed to be staffed with some pretty cool people. I dumped my stuff off into the room and then was shown to the rooftop, several floors high. It was pretty awesome and it was my first glimpse of the lakeside of Udaipur. This was arguably some of the most incredible scenery I've seen so far in India. Large palaces and intricate architecture could be found floating along the water, with many boats darting between. I instantly met a bunch of travelers and got some food. Some of these particular traveler's were planning on crashing an Indian wedding. Since this was wedding season in the city, this probably wouldn't be too difficult to arrange. I walked over with them for fun but we soon all got separated and I ended up walking back to the hostel with Ricky, an Australian guy who had motorbiked throughout south-east Asia and was now going through India on his Royal Enfield bike. I was fascinated by this because it was obvious that seeing this country by bike would be one of the most incredible ways to do it, but also because the driving in India was so intense that being amongst the traffic would be would make it an even crazier experience. He talked to me about his trip over some beers back at the hostel. I also ran into several people that I had run into while in Delhi. It kind of reminded me about the backpacker circuit in southeast Asia where you'd see many of the same backpackers in the bigger towns or hotspots.

The next day I awoke early and went to the rooftop. I traveler named Dia who had spent some time in Rishikesh studying Yoga was going to be giving a class. I hadn't done yoga for a while but figured that being in India, it could be great to take up again. The session lasted about an hour and a half and I felt way more open and relaxed. Then I ordered some food while still on the roof. Bunky, the hostel dog, jumped on the table and ate one of my eggs and toast with precision and speed. Although he ate half my late breakfast, it was incredible to see. Soon after, a few of the travelers were going out to eat some lunch. Considering what had happened at breakfast, I decided to tag along and we went to a local restaurant nearby the hostel. What made this experience special was that we'd choose an item on the menu and then they would help us cook it! I don't know much about cooking, especially this style of Indian cooking, but it sounded like some fun. There was a group of at least seven of us, so we ended up choosing a few items and then went at it. I made a dish called Piki Masala and was pretty amazed at the amount of spices and seasoning that went into this dish. In fact all the dishes had incredible spices going on. I also got to make Chapati's from scratch, and although my first attempts turned out to be oblong, I eventually got good at making them circular. The food turned out pretty good, and then everyone lazily lounged around for a bit. I had a feeling that the rest of the day was going to be pretty lazy and my hunch turned out to be right. When I got back to the hostel, I went up to the rooftop to enjoy the lake view and a few traveler's gathered and we played cards. It seems like many backpackers come to Udaipur and stay much longer than they intend. Maybe this would be happening to me? It wouldn't be the first time I get "stuck" somewhere. The hostel rooftop overlooked the lake and I had my camera out for some incredible sunset shots. The night progressed and Ricky got a hold of a firework and launched it from the roof. We decided we'd have to buy more fireworks soon.

The following morning I then met a few Irish guys (Owen, Bryan, Matt, Jack) were staying in my room and then went to the roof as Dia was giving another yoga class on the roof, opening me up for the day. Jack and Matt went to the roof as well and began having and we went around with them to eat lunch at a nearby place called Millets of Mewar. We talked about possibly renting some motorbikes so that we could go out and explore, so after we finished eating, we walked around for a bit trying to find some good rental places in the old city. We didn't find too much that was impressive, and so headed back to the hostel empty handed. Sitting on the roof, we decided to redouble are efforts, and this time Ricky decided he would come along to help us out. Me and him would go on his Royal Enfield into the busier part of town to find another shop we had heard about. It would be my first time on an Enfield and Ricky owned the 350cc bullet model that he purchased off another traveler in Delhi. Despite the fact that I was a passenger, it was a really cool experience zipping between traffic and being in the thick of it. We ended up heading back to the old city and went to see another rental place, but this one didn't have much either. So we went down towards a hill called Seduthalai. It had a cable car to the top but we just did a short hike up and got to see another incredible sunset. On our way back to Ricky's bike, we ended up running into these locals who had a stand promoting a Samsung phone. They practically begged us to stand in and help them with a promotional video. They gave us lines to rehearse and then asked us to repeat some Hindi phrases (who knows what they were actually making us say). Hilarity ensued. We ended up going back to the hostel and met another traveler, Ed, who had a guitar so we were swapping it around and having a blast. One of the Irish guys, Jack, who fortunately or unfortunately was living up to an Irish stereotype. He had been drinking since nine in the morning and was pissed. He was stumbling around and sluring his words and asking for more and more beer than was probably possible. I ended up going back to Millets with some Irish guys, Jack included, as well as an Indian friend of theirs. Jack was sprawled across the bench floor, and asking the waiter for a beer. I wondered if he would get kicked out. We spent some time here and then walked back to the hostel. Later that night I sat around with more travelers and we exchanged tales. Jack came upstairs wearing only a towel around his waist and then roared out "here me now!". The towel then fell off exposing his junk to everyone in the restaurant area. I sat with Ricky and we discussed some pretty deep topics like religion and philosophy, as well as taking turns with the guitar. Jack came back naked and had to be put back into the room by his buddies. I didn't actually have a bed to sleep in on this night because the hostel had been booked up, so they told me that I could just sleep on one of the empty beds outside. I was still keeping all my crap in the dorm room I was in originally but when I went back to the room I saw that Jack wasn't around so I said screw it and got into his bed. Jack, of course did come in some time later yelling out "here me now!" in a slurred manner and asking Owen if he had a condom. Once given that, he walked back out of the room, and the rest of us, eventually, were able to fall asleep. It turned out that Jack had actually managed to get laid during the night, no idea how that was even possible in the state he was in but I've decided that I will have to write his autobiography, cuz I'm sure it would be a great read! I'll I knew was that Jack was now the drunkest guy in India.

I woke up and went to the roof to relax and enjoy the view. Jack came upstairs and looked like he had a hell of a hangover. "Yeah I'll have one beer please" he said to the staff person and explained that the best cure to a hangover was more beer. I joined Dia for some more Yoga and I felt like I was becoming more flexible. We then went to Millets again for lunch with a bunch of folk from the hostel. We hung out for quite a while there and then I headed back to the hostel and wondered what I would be doing for the rest of the day. Udaipur was beautiful but there wasn't particularly much to do unless you count eating and this city is known for it's tasty food. On the way back Ricky gave me a lesson on his Enfield bike. Considering I don't have any experience on motorbikes, it was a nice little intro. I only tried riding down the alley way outside the hostel (probably not the best place as it was cramped as hell) but I didn't realize how heavy the model of bike really is. After that lesson, I went off on my own to another lake just north of the one I was staying off and tried to take some sunset shots from there. I got back after dark and went into the dorm room and Jack was laying in his bed. He had some purple die all over his face and hair. "Hear me now!". He was completely incoherent and drunk as fuck. I had wanted to just take a few moments to rest in the room, but now I found myself babysitting an Irish drunk, no easy task! Jack became restless and tried wandering out to join everyone who was hanging out at the restaurant and on the roof. His Irish friends kept trying to put him back to bed so he could sleep it off but he wouldn't have it. Dylan, another aussie who I had met in the dorm, tried giving him some Valium but I advised against it, since it probably wouldn't be such a great idea mixing that with alcohol. Matt was trying to get him to smoke some hashish so that he could calm down but that didn't work. Finally, we ended up locking him into the dorm from the outside. I went upstairs and hung out with the Irish guys, Ricky and some of the cool hostel staff. I hadn't been drinking too much beer here in India, the locals don't seem to have much of a beer culture, and it is more expensive than I would have imagined. Still, I seem to be drinking more here than anywhere else I've been in India so far. This hostel definitely has the drinking culture engrained! I went back down to the dorm room to get something and opened the door to see Jack, glazed eyes staring at me. He kind of looked like a zombie at that very moment. "Hear me now!" and then he stumbled his way out and upstairs to join everyone. I heard the collective groan of everyone up there as he arrived. My bad! The rest of the Irish guys were definitely annoyed at their friends behaviour and lamented how the Irish stereotype was getting a real boost thanks to this. I suggested he should become the drunken baba of India.

The next morning I was up early but sadly there was no yoga as Dia had moved on towards Mumbai. I just hung out on the roof contemplating my next move and then a few of the guys joined me. Jack, incredibly, was awake and was on the roof as well. He said that he felt fine, although he didn't look it. He asked one of the staff for another beer but he was cut off it seemed. I went with some of the guys to Millets for lunch (we were now regulars) and then the Irish guys (Bryan and Owen) decided they would rent motorbikes for the day. I wanted to join, but considering my extremely limited motorbike skills and the insanity of the roads in Indian cities, I figured maybe a scooter would be the safer option for me. I went down with the boys to rent one, but sadly there was none left. It seemed like there weren't many options to rent much in this area to be honest. I was disappointed but then Dylan and Oli, two Aussies who had rented bullets back in Jaipur and were riding through Rajasthan decided to join the Irish guys. Dylan said I could just ride on the back of his and then we ended up riding out of the town and to a place called Eklinji, which had a lake and some ancient ruined walls. The ride was awesome and the Irish boys had a mildly terrifying time getting out of the city. We stopped for a chai break and then went back into the old section of Udaipur. We then went to a veggie burger stand that made incredible food. After that we had heard that there was a fitness gym right around there and we could train for 100 rupees. I went with Dylan and Owen. This place was a pure dungeon and my kind of training ground. Everyone wanted to chat with us, and one of the bodybuilders there showed me photos of his competitions and then wanted me to pose for pictures with him. I usually hate when people interrupt me while I train, but I guess this was an exception. We destroyed it and it felt nice to be back in a gym once again. Later on I joined Dylan, Owen and some other Aussie as we found a cheap place to get a thali. Back in the hostel that night I relaxed on the roof and of course Jack was hitting the whiskey. Him and Ed, the guy that had the guitar but that was now broken because he had drunkenly fallen down the stairs with it, had found some street codeine and and had popped that as well. They looked extremely fucked up. I felt like I had really become a little too comfortable here in Udaipur, and although I had a blast and met some great people, I didn't come traveling to remain in my comfort zone. It was time to move on and continue to experience Indian culture. I headed off to bed as Jack yelled out "Hear me now!" and then fell forward.

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