Wednesday 10 October 2007
A well deserved sleep in meant that we didn't stick our heads out of our room until well after midday. The day was beautiful and the sun was schorching a sapphire blue sky. We thought that we could have dinner in the hotel restaurant, which was right outside our room.
At lake level, our table was gently graced by a refreshing breeze coming from the lake. This breeze and the shade provided all the refreshing needed to withstand the heat and the spice of the Paneer Saakwala I had with some nice oven fresh Chatpati.
We lingered at our table long after our meal was over, as gazing away from the beautiful views before us proved very hard. The Lake Palace, in its white splendour, was floating on lake Pichola right in front of us, while a dozen people were tending to their daily chores and doing their laundry on the steps leading into the water.
The palaces and buildings on the far side of the lake reflected the light beemed out by the sun into the lake and back at us. Realizing how relaxing and fulfilling this idillic panorama was convinced us that the choice to come to Udaipur last, before returning to Delhi for ourflight, was well thought through.
We chanced our luck in the Internet cafe' nearest to our hotel to sort out the last and final hotel booking. What a relief, I thought, this is the last hotel I'll have to call and the last room I'll have to book. As everything else in India, the most trivial of tasks can prove to be very hardous.
Once again, this was the case. I made lots of calls to a number of different hotels, and after hearing a series of overinflated prices or unreachable dialled number message, I settled on a new and very central hotel, located in the dreaded Connaught Place. The only downside was that they requested me to send email before they could confirm the booking.Â I decided to pursue this avenue and sent the hotel an email (praying that the email address that had been spelled out to me was correct). Thankfully, this worked out and I received a confirmation email. No more hotel booking for me!
The internet and phone calls bill turned out to be unexpectedly low, considering the dozen calls I made and the time we spent online (it was the second time since our arrival in India that we were able to access the internet). This internet cafe' won our trust, so we also bought a bottle of water and decided to return to check for any replies to our emails.
We set out to explore Udaipur and its sights. Our first task was to get our bearings arouond town. We walked from our haveli to the heart of town, gladly realizing that everything really was just a walk away, hence there was no need to get rickshaw and negotiate ride prices anymore.
We spotted a magnificent Hindi temple and ventured inside. After taking our shoes off, we entered the inner chambre where the sacred shrine was located. A man there explained how Vishnu sat in the middle, sided by Khrisna and Rama and then asked for a donation.
We took a few photoes of the elaborate exterior of the temple, adorned with countless effiges of elephants and men performing various actions.
We then began the hunt for the famous Bagore-Ki-Haveli, where a world class performance dance act is on show every night at seven. We found it earlier then expected, and opted to while some time away in a conformt cafe' which served chocolate cakes and coffee.
The dance performance was very entertaining and well worth it. The fact that we were sitting on the ground, sharing cushions with many other indian families, was a spectacle in itself. A lot of kids and babies played the stage before the professional dancers began their performance.
The show consisted of a number of different styles of dances, from very sensual hand dancing, to puppettering, from balancing ten pots on their heads, to clinging bells against bells tied to their clothing. All action was accompanied by embossing live indian music.
Dinner didn't happen in the Savage Garden, as we had planned. We made it to the place, which was recommended by Lonely Planet, but after sitting at a table and taking a look at the menu, we determine that their limited offering of continental main courses was not what we were looking for.
We wanted traditinal indian staples, which we found in the Ambrai restaurant back at our hotel. We also were blessed with an enchanting atmosphere, created by the stunning lake views and the live music performers. Some chilled indian beer and wine (ridicuously expensive compared to indian prices) also helped create an evocative mood.
Continuing the ...wala tradition, I tried the Mutton Dhaliwala dish, which mesmerized my taste buds. Wala could not finish her Paneer Pasanda, so I kindly offered to wipe her plate clean by wolfing her food down. Ahhh!