March 4

We started off today by eating our breakfast on mom and dad’s deck…the mosquitoes were quite unpleasant in the garden yesterday morning. It was a quick breakfast because we had a long drive to get to Udaipur today.
The drive was long, and definitely the craziest that we have had thus far. The highway was a two way highway, built for one direction of traffic. There were a lot of ‘narrow misses’ in our books, but that is pretty much just how they drive here! I was glad that I didn’t have to navigate the windy, narrow roads. We passed through many marble centres today, as well. The quantity of marble displayed on the side of the road is just amazing. I don’t know how the world can consume that much marble!! We actually got Rajish to stop so we could get a chunk!! The helper guy went too far away from the car to get it and got yelled at by Rajish – oops!! I now have marble from India, however (if my bags aren’t too heavy at the airport, that is!)
We got to Udaipur around 3pm, checked in, battled the porters in order to carry our own bags, and reviewed our rooms! All was well, and the view is fantastic. We have our own little balcony that overlooks Lake Pichola. There was some great people-watching off of our balcony, as two locals were washing their clothes in the lake below our rooms!
Udaipur is known as Venice of the East, and after spending some time wandering around through the narrow streets, I can understand why! The lake is slightly worse for wear, with most of it being dry and algae overgrown, but there is still some water visible, and a boat is needed in order to access the two islands in the middle (where one James Bond film was produced).
We went across the bridge and into the main part of the old city to get a look around. It was so European, and definitely could be compared to Venice. The streets were chaotic, but not un-navigable. We made our way through the pots and pans area, and through the gold and saris area. Finally, we made it to the spice market, which was great. I don’t think tourists normally go there, and it was very interesting to poke around and smell what was what. I love taking pictures of the sacks of rice, lentils, sugar, and spices. I am not really a spice person, but they are pretty to look at!!
On our way back, mom and dad bought some copper pots and Allison and Caroline bought some teas. It was really our first spice market, and I know they both had wanted to buy tea, so this was a good thing. There was a really interesting card/art/painting place that mom and dad stopped in at, as well. I didn’t get the whole story, ‘cause I walked in later, but he was selling these beautiful, hand painted cards. There was awesome art and paintings as well. We are going back tomorrow so that we can get a tour of the shop where he paints (I think!). And…I got a free card…after mom and dad bought some other cards! Made me happy!! I love free stuff!!
We went to see this Indian dancing presentation tonight before we all went back to our respective hotels. It was great. Only 60 Rs to get in, and there was a variety of dances shown. A drummer, singer, and an accordion player (I guess it was an Indian version of an accordion!) did the music, and then ladies did some dances – the Peacock dance, a dance with bowls of fire on their heads, and another lady did various tricks and food work with up to 10 jugs on her head! A man did two puppet demonstrations, which was also really interesting. Puppets are big in Rajasthan as they were used to tell stories and convey messages in the past. I think they are still used in areas…and area definitely used in shows and other more tourist-y venues!
We have a later start tomorrow, but hopefully the tour will be better than it was yesterday!

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