Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Udaipur, the Venice of India

After a flight from Kuwait back to Beirut and then back to Abu Dhabi and then on to Mumbai (by this time it was 3 a.m.) and one more flight to Udaipur, we arrived in the hotel that Tal and Anita had arranged for us at 8:30 a.m. 

Here is a glimpse of the amazing airport at Abu Dhabi:


Before we went to sleep for a couple of hours, we noticed that the sight from our hotel room window was a bit different than it has been:


BUT the rooms are so fun and looked like the Hyatt to Tal and Anita, who have been so conservative and very Spartan in their selection of sleeping accommodations the past four months. Just look at these terrific windows.


When we saw the bucket in the bathtub, we knew for sure that we were in India (or maybe the Philippines). 


The view from the roof of our hotel is so interesting! We saw women, making nan? or some sort of round tortillas for the day or for a hotel…we’re not sure.



Udaipur is called the Venice of India because there are amazing hotels and castles that seem to be floating in the water. 


We visited the amazing “City Palace” which was inhabited by Maharajas from many years ago and with the help of a recorded guide, Tal was able to take notes on EVERY room! Below is about 1/8 of the palace.



With the “


Tal’s long arm comes in pretty handy for pictures!


A very cheeky motorized rickshaw driver took us to find a restaurant.


Tal tried to help this very “in your face” guy by very kindly suggesting a different plan for him when he approaches customers! It was a pretty crowded ride which made it cozy for advice! 


After much ado, we found a lovely spot for dinner overlooking the water on one side with the lighted palace as our backdrop. Such a magical evening with a plethora of great topics at the table!




What fun it is to be with these fascinating, amazing and incredibly stimulating people!


This morning we took a stroll through the streets which were absolutely filthy!  We saw cows grazing on garbage at every turn and had to step over their “doo doo” every ten steps.  People just throw their garbage everywhere and it smells as good as it looks:


We walked down to the water where women were washing clothes at every possible spot!


They were slapping the clothes with something that looked like a cricket bat.  The water was filthy as people were also throwing in garbage and bathing there, but somehow the clothes carefully laid out along the railings were clean!

These two women had just finished their washing for the day in their gorgeous dresses, fit for the Junior Prom:


Sorry, not great quality because it was taken from far away, but you get the idea!

After an absolutely scrumptious vegetarian lunch, where we were hardly bothered at all by the thousands of knats that seemed to be filling the air on the streets, we went shopping!  We found some really fun table runners, a wall hanging for Tal and Anita, a small carpet and a white cut tablecloth as well as some trinkets. It was so fun!

On the way home we continued to take our lives in our hands as scooters, little motorized rickshaws, little trucks and gigantic cars, passed each other missing both us and the car on the other side by about a fourth of an inch. It was hard to know whether we should watch for the vehicles or the cow pies under our feet.


We found a guy from Brazil waiting for a music lesson just outside the store where we bought a very unusual musical instrument!



Look at this amazing store full of leather bound empty books!  Book heaven for Dad and Tal!



In this truly “Incredible India” in additions to so many colors constantly splashing in your face, there are so many horns honking, engines roaring, people talking and kids waving from balcony windows about that it adds up to an absolutely amazing cacophony of sight, sound and smells!  What a world!


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