Monday, November 26, 2012

Udaipur

Looking back at it now I am very glad I gave myself time in Udaipur. Not because the city was particularly awesome, but because for the first half of my stay I was staying in the home of a couple who masqueraded as couch surfing hosts but in reality were more like an unofficial guest house and the house was a fair distance from the heart of town. I couldn't afford to get rickshaws every day if I wanted to save money (as I'd hoped to do by staying with this couple to begin with) and I also got rather tired of having no real privacy. So I faked a migraine and tried to at least get them to leave me alone so I could read or write in my journal in peace (it still didn't work, mind you, which irritated me). I did manage to get out a couple of times though with first one fellow guest and then another and walk around some, and what I saw was beautiful. But I needed to get the hell out of where I was staying if I wanted to enjoy my stay properly. And I am glad when my fellow guest also got fed up and also wanted to leave. I wasn't alone.

Now understand... My hosts weren't bad people, they were very nice, and the food was very good. But I expected something different from a couch surfing experience that I did not get here. And my final day they got into it with Gabe, my fellow guest, and I felt they kept dragging me into the middle and that did really piss me off. I will not call them friends, and while I felt that they did not understand or respect the philosophy behind couch surfing I am not going to leave a bad review of them on the site because they were at least upfront with me that staying with them would cost money. I went into it willingly.

Anyway...

The second half of my stay in Udaipur was marked by me spraining my ankle. Gabe and I had gone up to a hotel recommended to us by a number of people we'd met to see if they had any rooms, and when they did not we started back down the white marble stairs to check somewhere else. And I swear to you I was being careful on the stairs! I didn't want to slip and take a tumble. I had made it to the first landing and I stopped to look at the stairs in front of me, to see if the landing was flat or if it had a step there and it LOOKED flat...so I took a step and twisted my ankle in the fall. I ended up sitting on a stair for a good twenty minutes before I could handle moving. Gabe went out on his own to see if he could find a hotel with a couple of rooms, and I went back up to the hotel's rooftop restaurant to wait in relative comfort as my poor ankle throbbed. Luckily I've sprained my ankles enough times to know when a sprain is mild or serious, and I could tell this was a mild sprain. I just had to be careful with it.

Because of Diwali being the next day Gabe was having trouble finding a hotel that could fit both of us, so we agreed to split up. And the manager of the hotel I was at offered to make phone calls for me to help me with my search, since I couldn't exactly wander around on my own at that point. He found me a room within my budget at a hotel not far from where we were, and after hobbling my way over and having my stuff brought over by another hotel employee I spent the rest of the day with my ankle propped up with some ice on it that was provided by the guy at the front desk.

The next day was Diwali, and I really wanted to see things. That morning I had wandered a bit and met a group of Kiwis who invited me to join them that evening for a party. And since I had the pretty sari from Jaisalmer I decided it was the perfect day to dress up. So after going back to my hotel and resting a bit I called down to reception and asked if there was a woman around who might be able to help me put on a sari. The guy sent up his mother, and she had fun dressing me up. And oh it was awesome... So often on this trip the constant attention and comments frustrate me and make me yearn for invisibility but on this particular day I reveled in it. Tons of smiles, and namastes, and "happy Diwali" were exchanged and nearly everyone said how much they liked my sari. That I looked just like an Indian woman. *Laughs* I couldn't pass for Indian if I tried, but it was still lovely.

I wandered around perhaps more than I should have given the state of my poor ankle when I finally got home that night, but I really loved looking at all the lights and enjoyed the party atmosphere that surrounded me. Fireworks and various fire cracked set off from the street. People sharing sweets. And I just never stopped smiling. Met up with the Kiwis and we joined a few other travelers for beers and "special" lassis before calling it a night. It was a great time.

The rest of the following week had a pretty basic rhythm to it. I'd wander over to Dream Heaven (the hotel I where I had sprained my ankle) and hobble my way up to the comfortable rooftop restaurant. I'd have breakfast, enjoy the free wifi, and get my bearings. I'd maybe wander across the footbridge and explore town for an hour or two. Then back to my hotel to rest. In the evening I'd find a place for dinner and explore a little more, and then back to my hotel to ice my ankle and get some sleep. I am so glad I gave myself the time there, because I never felt rushed and was able to give my ankle time it needed to do some healing before I went on to Pushkar. I didn't know how much walking if be doing there but I anticipated a lot. So I wanted my ankle as rested as possible.







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