Thursday, April 10, 2014

Henna, retail therapy and a pool!

Our stay in Udaipur was one of the most atmospheric to date. Our hotel overlooked the lake and the rooftop swimming pool also with a lake view was brilliant.

We did a vegetable market walk with the bloke who was to conduct our cooking class the next day. He swaggered around the market ordering this and that,taking samples for us to try at will and had his assistant, a tiny man who must have been all of 5 foot in his shoes racing about after him.  Our cook had a little book. It was a child's cardboard picture book with photos of vegetables in it with their names in English.  But it was his little Igor- like assistant who caught our imagination. Whatever the cook paid this little man it probably wasn't enough. One can only hope that one day the little man will have a kitchen of his own to work in.

When you travel you do tend to get a bit jaundiced and cynical about things with labels like "cultural show" so despite Ravi's assurances that this was very good, there weren't really  any high hopes for this night's offering but it was truly spectacular.

Women in brightly coloured outfits with swirling skirts danced and spun about creating a wonderful feast for the eyes. There was a little puppet show with a great deal of humour that needed no language, but the star of the night was a rather stout matronly woman who did a stunning line in balancing pots on her head. Just when you thought she couldn't add more pots she did.  If you ever visit Udaipur don't pass up the opportunity to see this cultural show it is worth every rupee of the inexpensive admission cost.

Next day was a visit to the City Palace. As spectacular as these are, after a while they do all tend to blend into one another.  This one contained silverware and antiques.
Then it was tine for our cooking class. Unlike the other classes, this time we had to participate.  Despite trying to break a cup Bernadette acquitted herself pretty well as did the rest of us.

Lunch consumed, there were decisions to be made. Bern decided she wanted to do a trip to the monsoon palace. She was the only one who did, so it was with some trepidation that we awaited the promised taxi that the guy who accosted us in the street had ordered. We were on the verge of giving up on its appearance when it turned up.   With horror stories about rip offs and dire happenings to lone female travellers in that part of the world we stuck around and made a note if the number plate. We were slightly reassured by the tourist sticker on the door though as we had seen those before.

Bern thus despatched to parts unknown it was time for some retail therapy.  The purchase of a couple of pairs of loose cotton trousers for the princely sum of about $8 each proved a wise one. I've practically lived in the beige ones ever since. They are light, comfy and easy to wash and dry quickly. Why can't we get clothing like this at home instead of tight clingy stuff that showcases every bit of fat a woman has?

The afternoon was rounded off with a henna tattoo.  Alas now long since washed off. Heading back to our hotel who should we see but Bern, returned safe and sound in one piece.

The evening brought a boat ride on the lake followed by dinner in a rooftop restaurant.  The best way to dine it has to be said.

We all enjoyed Udaipur so much that we were reluctant to say goodbye.

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