march 19, 2010 Leslie writing;
Its mid afternoon in Udaipur and the group is all taking a rest from the intense heat of the day. Me, I am raring to go. I have gotten more sleep on this trip than I have in many years. But you would never recognize me on the streets...slow paced walk...strolling would be how some would describe it. That's just the pace around here. As a matter of fact the one time that I walked briskly an indian man made a comment to me. And that explains the feet part in the title. First our feet are flithy by the end of the day. but don't worry they get a good scrubbing each night. Next since we arrived in Udaipur 3 days ago, we have not been in a car or a tuk tuk once. The Rajasthan part of our trip has been alot of driving. We were in Delhi for a total of 14 hours (10 of those asleep), then we had a day in Agra where we were truly moved by Agra fort and the Taj Mahal. Next onto to Jaipur for 2 nights, then Pushkar for one night and then here to Agra. lots of driving in between. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to land in Udaipur on use only our legs for transportation. Its a great place to wonder around. our hotel is smack in the middle of everything so its easy to wander around on our own and use the hotel as a meeting place. Except that we really have our "gang' as the meeting place. on the first day, walking down a street we saw 2 guys playing cards. We asked them what they were playing and that was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. I went in the shop to buy an ankle bracelet and next thing we know carrie is outside learning the card game...From the card game we joined them for Chai...that's the tea with milk and spices that is drunk all day long...We spent the last 3 days hanging out with these friends. they are shop owners..one a jewelry store, Babu is the owner of journals and other handmade books, and Akshay is a tour guide. They all speak very good english and they have offered us many wonderful tips for our stay in udaipur. They found us a lovely woman to give us a cooking lesson...watch out we can make a mean dal, purri, pakoras, and chappatis. Babu sent eric and travis to his barber...you must see eric in order to understand but it was a great experience. These barbers have one up on the american ones...travis and eric got head, shoulder and arm massages along with haircuts and shaves. of course i can't forget the sitar lessons eric has taken.
Udaipur is a lovely place...but i guess our timing was pretty special unbeknown to us. They are celebrating the Mewar Festival for 3 days. It is a festival for woman to get all decked out in their brightest colors. now Rajasthan is known for the bright colors of the sarees so you can only imagine the ocean of brillant colors that bathed our eyes yesterday. It is also the festival celebrating the mother goddess and it only happens here and in jaipur. We finally finished with the festival at 8pm and sat down at the restaurant on the roof top (which around here is everywhere) and as soon as we sat down the fireworks from across the lake started. what a show...what a view...the sliver of the moon, the white palaces, the lights and the fireworks...i don't know, but it was a pretty impressive festival...
oh i guess i should add the game of cricket that travis joined in the middle of this festival. That was his second of the day...the first was with 3 little kids who also gave him a run for his money.
Cant wait for tonights part of the festival...
It has been an eating delight all the way. Tonight's thali meal which means "all you can eat" recommended by Babu as his favorite place should be quite the experience.
We leave Udaipur tomorrow morning for a day of travel...up to Darjeeling. Cooler and very different. But you will probably not hear from us for the next week because we begin our trek on sunday morning. We have a fabulous trek planned from village to village with views of the highest peak in india as well as Everest. But what's the difference - all those peaks are going to seem other worldly. We will be staying in tea house and although cell phones are EVERYWHERE here and used by everyone we don't really expect to see a computer for the week. Then it will just sarah and travis who will take over the blog because carrie, eric and i will be on our way home. We are so looking forward to sharing stories and pictures with you.
Everyone wants to know when we are returning...it will happen...this place is contagious...
Perhaps we can get some more photos up for you before the end of today