Started out on a dirty road

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March 17th 2010
Published: March 17th 2010
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India is not an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay”
~~~ Shashi Tharoor in his ‘The Great Indian Novel’

We left the smog of the city and ventured once again by bus and jeep to the country town of Namaj . Still in the state of Rajastahna that was once made up of lands controlled by warrior clans led by maharajas.
Our welcome was in song by the ladies of the house which had once been an orchard. Here we had a pool and treatments were available such as massages and henna. It was a luxurious feeling hotel, that had the look of a guest house. We were led around on a walking tour in town that made us feel like rock stars. We visited the palace of the feudal lord and were serenaded by a flute player. Not only the music but the language here is so melodic. The people are so friendly and all ran out of there homes and businesses to ask “what’s your country?” And “what is your name?” One guy from our group even received a handmade card from one of the local girls. Here we are the tourist attraction !
Our new friends are an international group , representing Australia, New Zealand the US and England. Since they asked for an honorable mention in my blog I will tell you a little bit about them. There is Chris from Australia with a incognito movie star look who is traveling with his mom Fiona, originally from New Zealand who is dazzled by the sights, Janet who has traveled to India before and can speak a little Hindi , Jo and Mark from the UK who are fond of the local dress and have a bag full of it , Kerri , from Noosa a coastal town in Australia with quick wit and a contagious laugh , Leslie; shopper extraordinaire, Sara our fellow American from Arizona , Stewart the tourisim exec and Vanessa a Ozzy solicitor with a passion for photography. There was also Elkie, Bec and Nicole from Broom whom we said good bye to a few days ago when they ended their itinerary in Jaipur.
None of us looked forward to the next morning when the plan was for a 6 hour jeep ride to Udaipur, but the old British army jeeps provided a great view of the stunning landscapes. It was a mountainous, rocky region and the twists and curves in the road made the for the perfect landscape photos. Udaipur has been my favorite Northern city, not too in-your-face with dust and traffic, one lane streets perfect for wandering and a palace so ornate , there wasn’t a color we didn’t see. We toured the palace rooms that are open to the public because the royal family still lives there. There is an old elephant parking that has been converted to a car park but the iron loops for tying up are still there. We also visited the temple with the black marble deity. We celebrated our last night of Northern India at an outdoor restaurant on the river with views of the palace by night. We dined on curries to the tune of Indian music and said goodbye to our guide and this portion of our trip.

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17th March 2010

How cool was that, that Frank is shaking hands with the monkey. I love it. Looks like a wonderful trip Astrid and sounds like you are having a great time.

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