March 9, 2009

We had a simple breakfast this morning before heading out on our tour of the city. I have started bringing my little jar of peanut butter to breakfast with me because I only have 5 days to use it up! And, the protein is a nice change from eggs. Remind me not to buy any eggs when I am doing groceries next Sunday!!
We headed to the lake first. It was interesting because the main gate into the lake was constructed by a woman – back many years ago. And, because the King let her construct the gate, he was taunted. He was going to go destroy the gate, but in the mean time, the lady changed the gate into a temple (by putting a small statue of Krishna by the gate and worshipping it all night long). This meant that the King couldn’t destroy the temple! To this day, no King has walked through the gate!! A small, secondary gate was constructed for him to access the lake.
The pond is very low right now, and because of this there is a very, very high concentration of catfish!!! It was a very weird sight to see! We got a loaf of bread to feed these catfish and they came by the hundreds – swimming right up to the shore, huge mouths open, on top of each other….ugggg….it was really weird and kind of creepy! Before the lake dries up every year, the government comes and relocates the fish. Then, after the lake fills up during the monsoon season, they put the fish back in the lake so that they will eat the mosquito larvae!
We then went up to the car park just below the main entrance to the fort. We walked up the steep ramp into the main area of the fort. It was a very nice fort, and much different than the other forts we have visited thus far because this is the first one where people actually live within the walls of the fort and it isn’t just all museum. It was nice to wander through the narrow, shady streets and see how people are living and what they are selling – much less pressure than some of the other areas we have visited. Perhaps I am just getting used to it?!
Our guide was rather chatty, which was nice. Personal stories always add so much to the tour! There wasn’t too much to actually explain or show us, except the Jain temple (which was very innately carved, but less spectacular to the one we saw previously in Ranakpur. We continued to wander, stopping at a couple of stores here and there. We went into this ring store and I didn’t do so well. It was an amazing store, where the guys carved these intricate designs in silver rings. I immediately fell in love with this ring that has the seven man-made world wonders carved into it. It didn’t fit! Of course…then I got all stressed because I was holding up the tour as we waited for the brother to come with another ring…and then they worked away at it for a while to make it bigger…and I got even more stressed…and there were tears…and I hate making decisions! By that point I didn’t want the ring at all (mom had already bought the same one in her size) and I couldn’t make any decisions, so we left and continued on with the tour. I went back later in the afternoon with Allison and bought the ring, however. It is really cool. I think it could be just a touch bigger – but it is really hot here, so it will probably be the right size once I get home! Anyway, it is neat. And, I do like it. Duh.
We looked at a few more buildings and architecture stuff around the old fort and in areas of the new fort before ending the tour. Mom, dad, and Scott went back to their respective hotels and Allison and I stayed in town to look around some more. We looked at a few skirts and scarves, but didn’t end up buying anything. We stopped in at this very Western-run restaurant and had amazing apple pie and ice cream. Allison also had this mango smoothy – made purely from mangos. It looked great, but I am not really a mango fan! It was nice to take another look around the fort and get a few last pictures before heading back to the hotel. It was a fun fort to wander around in, because there was pretty much one main road, and there were hardly any tourists, or locals, for that matter. Nice and quiet.
I got my palm read by some random Indian lady here today when Allison and I were walking around the fort…it was rather interesting – apparently I am going to have a long life and won’t need any surgeries or serious medical attention. I have issues making my heart and my mind agree on things. In order to rectify this problem, I need to wear rainbow colours (ie in a bracelet). In about 12-18 months a guy will find me and he will be prettier … Read Moreand taller than I am. I will be able to have 3 children, should I so chose. And, I am supposed to drink minimally as this will interfere with my decision making processes.
We hung out at the hotel for a bit before heading off on our camel ride! The ride was rather disappointing, unfortunately. I am glad that I didn’t pay extra for it, because I would have been angry. We got on our camels outside of the hotel here and headed up the highway into town. We turned and went up another highway-like road and stopped at the top! It was only really a 45 minute ride, which would have been fine if we hadn’t just walked on the concrete! I wanted to do some camel riding in the desert!! It was fun, however…just not as desert-y as I would have liked!
At the end point, we went into a crematorium because there were excellent sun-set pictures! I think many of the tourists in town were there to take pictures…only in India can they charge you money to walk into a cemetery-like area in order to see the sun set! (Well, I am sure there are other countries, but this was my first!) It was very pretty, but the sunset in Pushkar over the lake far outshone this sun set!
We went for dinner earlier because I think we were all tired – and I know I was hungry! We went to this little rooftop place that Rajish suggested. We tried to get him to eat with us, but he wouldn’t. He did, however come up and have a pop with us before our dinners came. They tend to eat really late here – around 9:30, 10pm! I guess that is why everything opens up just that much later in the morning as well…they have to sleep at some point! Apparently, the food was excellent at this restaurant. I guess I should specify – the Indian food was excellent. I had a grilled cheese, and I thought that was superb! I am pretty much done with Indian food, having tried all of the necessary dishes!! No complaints at all regarding my meal, however…it definitely hit the spot!
Now, back at the hotel, we have free wireless happening…so everyone is busy checking up on bills and e-mails!! It is our first (and probably last) free internet. Tomorrow is going to be a long day…and I am really tired (for doing nothing much!), so I should probably head to bed!
Night
-Allison

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