Udaipur was sadly disappointing. Its long been a tourist centre since Octopussy was filmed in parts of the city (James Bond Movie), so although most of the buildings are beautifully cared for, prices reflect the tourist magnet aspect.
We wanted to go on a boat ride on the lake, but it was going to be 300 rps ($10) each, plus 25 rps to get into the area where the boats leave from, plus there would be about 20 other tourists on the boat too. This might sound ungrateful until you realise that 600 rps is how much you pay for a hotel room, and we paid 100 rps for a guy to row us up and down the Ganges in Varanasi.
The tourist area is pretty confined to one small part of the city (along with the palace etc) and there isnt much to see after that. We decided to leave a day earlier than planned and go straight to Jodhpur via a chicken bus.
Chicken bus? You know when you see the stereotype Indian buses on TV, with 5 people crammed on a seat and chickens and goats in the aisle....
Thats pretty much it. As we took the 'deluxe' bus livestock was not allowed but there were up to 6 people crammed into one space. I've never seen so many people on a bus.
We went through a police check point, and they came on board to make sure the bus wasnt over crowded (information courtesy of a little 'auntie' beind us who spoke perfect English); as soon as it was passed the bus stopped to cram even more people on!
2 hours later when another checkpoint loomed, the driver decided to bus-bash (i.e. leave the main road) and look for a way around! He drove down these tiny tracks, and finally met up with the main road, replete with extra passengers.
When we got to Jodhpur the auto (tuk-tuk) guys jump on the bus and herd you off before you know whats happening. What they didnt count on was Auntie-Ji! The little auntie from behind us organised an auto for us ("40 rps?!?! They are paying 30 rps and not a rupee more!'') and made sure we knew what was going on. She was awesome. I wish I could have at least got her name....
The hotel we had booked was next to a park, which the day before had been sprayed with 'plant medicine' (hotel guy) or pesticides (the smell). Our room reeked of it. We managed to get another a room on the next floor up, but wanted to change it the next day. Glad we did cos we got a room in a haveli! The building was lovely (right at the base of the fort) and the staff super helpful. They also had traditional dancing and singing everynight. One down side was the cochroach Fin found in his vegetarian pizza - we sent it back asking for no animals next time please hehehe....ewww...
Jodhpur is really polluted and hazy, but i kinda liked it all the same. Then we caught the overnight train to Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer is really picturesque - everything looks to be made of sandstone and the fort is smack bang in the middle of the city. The air is a lot clearer out here and its easy to see the stars at night. Inside the fort is a warren of twisty-turny lanes, and delicately carved temples. I wish i could upload some pictures! There is so much to see here, and Fin says he likes here most of all. We have a really cute place to stay with a great manager (if we ever came back I would stay there again). There's only one problem.
Farts. Jaisalmer smells like horribled eggy-cabbage farts. Every now and then a slight breeze blows and you get overwhelmed by the smell of fart. I think it might be because of the cabbage they put in everything: Sweet corn soup, ingedients: corn, lentils, cabbage. Vegies au Gratin, ingredients: cabbage, cauliflower, pineapple (WTF i know). Ministrone, ingredients:cabbage, noodles and some kind of tomato soup base.
My theory is that everything has cabbage = the farty smell here. hehehehe....
Well, better hop off the net. Off to Bikaner tomorrow, home in 10 days.... cya!