Thursday 11 October 2007
To congratulate ourselves for our oustanding travelling throughout the Indian subcontinent, we spoiled ourselves with a "breakfast of champions", as the Lonely Planet guide book reports, at the Sunrise Restaurant in Udaipur.
The Sunrise is a lovely restaurant hovering on top of the middle of Udaipur old town. It dominates the hill leading up to the Jagdish Temple. To sit down in the confortable (if a bit too sticky) chairs, you need to climb up a series of narrow steep stairs, until you reach the top terrace. Failure to ascend to the top spells embarassement, as it may mean that you end up walking into someone's host, like we did.
The restaurant, being located on a terrace at the top of the building, affords a wide view of the town and the streets down below. It's a great strategic position for a spot of people (and cow) watching. We took our time to marvel at the sea of people walking and driving up and down the road. It reminded me of the flow of water in a river. A cow decided to walk down the road and stop right in the middle of it. The people and the traffic then started flowing around it, naturally, like water would do around an unmovable rock.
Breakfast was very satisfying, generous and spicy. The masala chai tea was definitely the best we had so far, and the banana juice was a blessing to my hot taste buds. While waiting for our breakfast, a woman in a beautiful sari approached us. She did not want to take our order, but rather ask if whether we would be interested in taking some Indian cooking lessons.
She gave us a book filled with photoes and feedback left by previous lesson takers, and all were convincingly favourable and positive. Based on all these praises, we decided to do it. Shashi, our soon to be master chef, was kind enough to accomodate our busy schedule and move the start of our lesson ahead to the following early morning.
We then dragged our full bellies all the way up the hill till we reached the magnificent City Palace. There I was for once thankful that the ticket guy insisted we bought the ticket to the Palace museum, instead of just the entrance to the Palace complex.
The City Palace museum was superb and surprisingly vast. It took us more than two hours to walk through its countless rooms and narrow passages/walkways, and in nearly every room our jaws dropped in awe.
The rooms at the top of the Palace were the most opulent, with walls tapered in the finest materials and windows overlooking spectacular views of Lake Pichola and the city.
Walking back to the hotel, we stumbled on an equally extraordinary sight. A cow was rythmically bobbling its huge head back and forth near a moped. I didn't take much notice of it, but Wala saw that the handbrake on the handlebar was sticking right into the cow's eye! The cow was actually scratching her eyebulb! We stopped and stared at her, until the show became to freaky for us and we left.
We hid away form the heat and the sun in our hotel room and at the hotel restaurant until it was time for dinner, which we had at the prestigious Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel.
We had intended to stay there, but all the lake facing deluxe rooms were booked out. and we didn't want to settle for the non-lake facing standard rooms.
The restaurant itself was very nice, but all the best tables were reserved. We were lucky enough not to be turned away like other late comimng patrons. The food and service were not great, I am afraid. I regretted missing a chance to once again feast on delicious food at our hotel restaurant. The service was glaringly pushy, obviously trying to get us out to and new customers in.
We explored the stretch of road from the Jagdish Temple to the Clock Tower in search of some gift ideas or bargains, and then returned to our hotel for a good night sleep.
Someone, thought it would be great fun to play "Daddy Cool" out loud at 11p.m. We didn't think so, and the other guests mustn't have either, since it thankfully stopped after someone knocked on their door to ask them to stop it.