-- The Pichola Lake in Udaipur – take the touristy boat
ride around the lake, and enjoy a glass of cold King Fisher beer on the Jag Mandir island. In Idipur, we stayed in a gorgeous haveli overlooking the lake and I would highly recommend it – Karohi Haveli. It also
has a great rooftop restaurant overlooking the lake and the palaces. Dead romantic! Also had free wi-fi.
- I was underwhelmed by Jaipur. Who knows why – the pink of the city was beautiful, the palace was OK, and the city architecture was fascinating. Perhaps it was too big and modern of a city, where I was expecting the usual small historic town feel and magic in the air. I do have a restaurant recommendation though – a brand new affair called Wassup in Ashok Nagar. It serves international cuisine of excellent quality and flair, and the setting is beautiful. Set on two floors, it reminded me of sitting on a tree in the middle of a jungle.
- I have never seen so many loitering cows in my entire life! For real. They were EVERYWHERE! In the streets, around the cars, over the cars, on top of merchandise, in the middle of the street dozing off, in the temples, in the palaces, in gardens, toilets, restaurants, markets, in the trash, in people’s laundry, in the back yards, in the front yards, in the main squares. Holy cow!
- If I ever live to see another woolen shawl, I’d shoot myself. Rajasthan is DA land of those damn shawls, made from camel wool, pashmina, other wool, silk, half-silk or who knows what acrylic craptastic material. Everywhere you go, there are a gazillion scarves hanging from all nooks and crannies and everyone is trying to sell you one every 2 minutes.
- Women there wear a different variation of the usual saree – they don’t wrap a long fabric around, but wear a skirt and a top, and a long transparent scarf draped over their faces, all richly decorated with beads and shiny things. The color of the long scarf is usually bright red or purple, which makes for a very cheerful sight every time a woman passes in the street.
- Indian tourists have re-discovered their land and are now about 90% of the visitors in Rajasthan. I cannot really vouch how fascinating they find the palaces and the forts, but they obsessively took pictures of everything they saw on their phones. Indian tourists also have not lost their fascination with foreigners. I think I was photographed almost as much as the palaces themselves. The weirdest request came from a newly-wed girl who asked me to take a picture with her husband?!? I refused. Seriously...
- I have NEVER been asked so many times in my life, “M’am, your country?” usually in a hurried, demanding sort of way. In the beginning, I was polite and would respond that I was from America to the oohs and awwws of my captive audience. Then, I got bored and started saying things like, “I am from Bangladesh,” or “I am from Sweden,” and even, “I am Indian, why?” The whole thing eroded further, and to “M’am, your country?” I began to reply – “My country is beautiful” “My country is great” or even “IS very far away.” The final drop in the bucket was in Kolkata on the way back, where I was standing exhausted waiting for our luggage around 10.30 pm to go and spend the night in a shady hotel near the airport. A middle-aged lady next to me was having a most inane conversation with her husband when she suddenly turned to me, and out of the blue asked me the blasted question. Unnerved, tired and highly irritable, I snapped, “And what is to you lady, am I asking YOU what YOUR country is???” Not my finest moment, I admit, but let’s just say she had bad timing. The problem was that we were the last people there, and our luggage wasn’t coming so it got a little awkward for a while.