We finished our bananas on our eight hour bus ride from Jodhpur to Udaipur. Mark walks up to the front of the bus to ask the attendant for the garbage can. The attendant looks at the banana peels in Mark’s hand, looks out his window, looks at Mark oddly, reaches over to his window, slides it open, grabs the peels and throws them out the window!
And there you have it, the Indian way? Garbage is throughout India. Garbage like these Canadians have never seen before. At least my garbage was biodegradable I thought. But from a country that is neck and neck with China for world’s fastest growing economy, it would be nice to see something more done with rubbish. Perhaps in time?
The bus ride was entertaining to say the least. A double lane highway shared with everything was the source of entertainment. As our driver had one hand on the horn, his other hand managed the steering wheel to deek and swerve around cows, sheep, locals on pilgrimage, cars, motorcycles, and trucks loaded with millions of dollars worth of gorgeous marble. We even saw an elephant walking down the highway!
Destination Udaipur, referred to as the most romantic city in India or Venice of the East (both a stretch). Also, film location for Bond’s Octopussy and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Nestled up against Lake Pichola, Udaipur is a combination of palaces, temples, really old crumbling buildings and narrow (crazy narrow) roads. A tourist trap no doubt, hundreds of hotels compete for domestic and international tourist dollars, their rooftop patios looking abandoned with employees seemingly looking desperate for some business. All attractions are way overpriced and if you think India is a cheap place to travel as we did, you would be wrong. Add 12% (18% in other cities) tax to everything as well. We are certainly surprised and wonder what this place will be like in ten years from now (prices are more or less 50% higher than our most recently published Lonely Planet book).
The charm of Udaipur comes alive while looking at the storybook perfect setting of the lake. Many restaurants offer a rooftop setting with view. Night time was the favorite, but sadly mosquitoes have been brutal and interrupt any itsy bitsy piece of romance one may be feeling. It is monsoon season after all.
We learn a new rickshaw will set you back 80,000 Indian rupee (INR). Mark pays 1300 INR for a 70 minute enjoyable and interesting Ayurvedic massage and he still can’t get the avocado oil out of his navel. A night at the Taj Lake Palace Hotel situated in the middle of the lake could set us back 21,000 INR/night ($414 CDN). Instead we stay at our non air-conditioned four storey walk up homestay complete with dirt ingrained sheets and towels. In the local theatre, there are no Hollywood movies, just three Indian productions. One called “Lipstick under my Burkha” and no, it is not a porn. Mark had to look it up.
With our alarm set for 4:15 am to catch the next eight hour train ride, we said goodbye and goodnight early to Udaipur.
…Christine and Mark
($1 Canadian (CDN) equals approximately 50 Indian Rupees (INR))
- New rickshaw – 80,000 INR, $1586 CDN
- 70 minute Ayurvedic massage – 1300 INR including tip, $25.80 CDN
- Thali plate – 200 INR, $3.13 CDN
- Rickshaw ride for 2km – 80 INR, $2.00 CDN
- Small (very, like a ‘is anything in my cup’ tease) cup of Masala chai tea – 30 INR, $0.60 CDN
- 1L bottled water – 20 INR, $0.39 CDN
- Regular can pop, diet costs more (300ml) – 30 INR, $0.60 CDN
Too rich for our blood we pass on the following…
- Admission to City Palace – 300 INR plus 100 INR for camera plus 100 INR for guide, $7.84 CDN
- Boat ride, 45 minutes – 350 INR, $6.93 CDN
- Cooking class – 600 INR, $11.89 CDN