Friday, 30 March 2012

Amazing Udiapur

Arriving in Udiapur was a relief after the 8 hour game of chicken on the roads of Rajasthan. I lobbed in to town in the middle of a festival. It had lots of meaning but basically it was 'find yourself a husband' night. The street were full of colorful sari clad females all trying to snare a bloke. Now this is all well and good but meant our vehicles were stopped and we were dumped on the street quite a way from our destination.

Not to worry, we loaded up and headed through the streets of the wonderful town of Udiapur. I checked in to a family run guesthouse (think Indian B&B with loads of charm and your own bathrooms) and we headed a fancy hotel for dinner.

I sat in an amazing rooftop restaurant and watched the festival, fireworks and all.

The next day began with the obligatory town tour. I fell in love with the windy hilly streets and smiling locals. But there was no time for lingering, it was off to Indian cooking school for me. Yes, you heard it, I willingly chose to cook!

Our chef for the occasion had a wicked sense of humour, kept our spices on track and veggies chopped. What a lunch!

The town of Udiapur is dominated by an enormous castle on the hill and a few others scattered around the lake - I called them the east and west wings. These buildings will be familiar to James Bond fans as Octopussy was filmed here.

Our leader Yaddu is very proud of his home town of Udiapur, so after a rather lengthy tour of the castle we headed to his place for dinner. Once again sitting on the roof, this time with views of the castle, we were joined by a few dozen members of his family and a couple of dozen friends. The rum came out and the fun began. Thank god we headed home around 11 as the rum just kept on aflowing until the wee hours. Yaddu wasn't seen much the next day.

Brekkie the next morning was with the fab girls from the UK in a little (once again) rooftop restaurant overlooking the lake - with a coffee machine! OMG that coffee was good.

I needed to stopped sipping expresso and make some plans for the next few weeks. So where else to head but the 'one stop shop' up the street. It is kinda like a mini-mart with travel thrown in. I booked all my flights - Calcutta to Mumbai (3 nights), Mumbai to Goa (7 nights), Goa to Cochin (5 nights) then Cochin to Sri Lanka. Pleased that is done. The Indians may be efficient but all in their own good time.

Then I rounded up a few of my new friends, piled into auto rickshaws and headed to the local spice and veg markets to check out where the locals stock up. The smells and colours were amazing - just a shame all the smells weren't good.

The day was finished off with a boat ride on one of the 7 lakes.

Dinner was held at my fab guest house - you guessed it, on the roof. While chomping on curry and naan we watched Octopussy, with each location either in front, behind or up the hill from us. All was going well til I realized I was on the 6am train the next morning. I guess a 5am start meant we weren't traveling in the heat!

After 5 or so hours on the local train, including a chai stop we arrived at some station over the mountain from Pushka. Onto the bus and off to the hotel - another family run place that is divine and also comes with requisite rooftop restaurant, but at first I thought we were in the middle of nowhere!

An evening walk through the second holiest city in India was interesting but for the first time I came across scamming kids and begging grannies. But I'm kinda Indian street smart now so managed to totally avoid eye contact or a sideways glance.

Dinner was with a local family, on the roof! For 200IR or $4 we dined like royalty.

Given I had spied a pool from the rooftop and the fact that Pushka isn't my fav spot, today was live like royalty day! Sleep in, lounging around on rooftop cushions leisurely enjoying my porridge then off to the pool for a day of splashing in very cold water in 39 degree heat. Even the monkeys joined in. Quite a few hours later Nat and I were pampered by a massage. It was quite relaxing - until she poured oil on my head. What the hell, I was on my bed and didn't want to sleep in an oil slick.

I'm now sitting on the roof watching a Bollywood blockbuster (no Kathryn not the one starring Brett Lee) and look like an oil slick. It's veggie curry then a shower for me.

- Posted from somewhere round the world...

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to be very disappointed if you don't watch the Brett Lee Bollywood before you leave.