Written on: Monday March 2nd, 2009
A journal entry from: Trails in 2008
Rajasthan is a pretty hot tourist spot, so we are booking our hotels the day ahead to avoid getting harassed by touts and commission-seeking rickshaw drivers at the train station. Through our travels we have learnt that everyone in the world knows Mr Robin Hood, so we use that as our booking name cause its easier to be understood over the phone, and it just gives us a wee bit of humour as we emerge from our night train at some ungodly hour after not much sleep.
In India, a lot of people want to introduce themselves to you and have a little hand shake (in fact this has been a fairly popular photo opportunity for them). Like everywhere we have been, they have trouble understanding "Al". But when Al said "I'm Al" they all understood! His Hindu name is Amal.
Udaipur is known as the White City. But don't let this be mistaken for clean, cause its just as dirty as everywhere else we've been. In fact the whole of India could do with a jolly good scrub (a good recession project perhaps?). It's known as a romantic destination but at this time of year the romantic lake was too low to cover the not-so-romantic rubbish and it's hard to look lovingly into each others eyes when people are cleaning themselves and their clothes in the green scum floating on the surface. But actually, it has been a fantastic place to hang out for a few days, just to get away from the constant noise and pollution is romantic enough. This town was the set for James Bond's Octopussy movie, and if it's good enough for James...
Speaking of romance, on the way here I sat next to a young girl who is newly married to a nice Indian fellow from Florida who told me all about her wedding. They had 1,000 guests - yes, one thousand! She is waiting for her US permit in India while he has returned to his job there. She was so happy and excited for her new life, I wonder how she will get on in a new country with a guy she hardly knows and no friends. I just saw in the paper that although the legal marriage age is 18, around 40% of girls are married before this age.
It's a nice town, but you know you're on the tourist trail when you say you're from NZ and people greet you in Maori! But how to respond when a well meaning trader says "highry might" and "ten coat"