On our second day in Udaipur we were up early again to go to the train station and meet Krista (who came down for the weekend) and have another crack at booking the train tickets. After almost having a serious tantrum in the ticket office, on talking to the most annoying man ever, we eventually ended up with Waiting List tickets to Mumbai. There were no official tourist quota left but often if the waiting list number is only low you will get assigned a seat as people cancel (which apparently happens quite a lot). My annoyance came when the guys only response to my, quite simple I though, question of whether we were likely to get on the train with our number or if we should pay more and get the emergency quota tickets was to wobble his head in a classically ambivalent Indian way. I seem to have picked up the head wobble a little bit and quite like it, but it is not helpful when you need an actual definite answer. Eventually extracted an actual yes at which point we got the tickets and got out as soon as possible.
The second outrage of the day was when we discovered that we had to pay another 100 rupees (roughly £1.10) for the room because Krista was also staying in it (it had a spare single bed). Despite the fact that, actually, this is quite reasonable, we decided to try and haggle and argue and pretend it was outrageous until for a while I really believed it was. Jade was also not impressed, neither of us liking to lose an argument, and settled on saying "fine, we will pay the extra 100, but we were going to eat in your restaurant (we weren't) and we were going to do our laundry through you (we weren't) but now we won't". The guy could not have cared less.
After this little debacle we went back to the Lotus cafe and sat on their comfy cushions and took in their calming atmosphere. We each had yummy veggie breakfasts with egg, potatoes, bits of tomato and beans and I for one calmed down a little. We then went back to our nice tuk tuk drive from the day before who took us on a little day trip. First we went to Shilpgram, where we saw some more (better) singing and semi-dancing. The government gives space to tradesmen from all over and we went in to a little area and saw a man weaving (or some kind of looming/sewing) these beautiful blankets. Had to buy one. We had a potter around and saw some of the other bits, and I ended up buying a duvet set with elephants on and two sheets which I'm not really sure what I'll do with. After quite a long time and some chai with the man I bought the fabric from we headed on to Tiger Lake. Tiger Lake was my favourite bit of Udaipur, not very touristy and massive, surrounded by mountains. So so beautiful.
After Tiger Lake Sunni (our tuk tuk driver) took us on to Monsoon Palace. We had been quite excited the day before when Sunni had told us that you could get up the mountain to the palace by gypsy and my imagination had been running wild with how this worked. Bit disappointed to discover Gypsy was a form of Jeep. At the point we went through the gate the monsoon made its own appearance, and we took shelter while we waited for the jeep. This was in a little hut adjoining the ticket office, where we sat with a really sweet old man, a lady and a toddler who screamed with fear every time he looked at me. We ran out to the jeep and ended up squashed in with about 8 other people for the 10 minute journey up to the top. The best bit of the journey for me was noticing the guys on the motorbike behind us, trying to show off and get our attention I think, one of whom was wearing a shower cap. The Monsoon Palace provided some incredible panoramic views of Udaipur, even in the rain and we had a nice walk around. Having had enough (especially because people were particularly pursuing us here for photos) we went back to get the jeep back down. This ended up with us standing under a little doorway for about 10 minutes until it reappeared, during which time a very creepy looking man creepily came up to us and invited us to his house and said "I like foreigners" very creepily. I was quite relieved when the Jeep appeared shortly after. The jeep down was even fuller. There was about 13 of us squished in to the tiny space meant for 6 max. It was so full I couldn't even fully sit on Jade's lap and Krista wasn't even slightly sitting, half standing in the most contorted position I've ever seen.
We were relieved to get back down and see Sunni in his nice spacious tuk tuk. Our relief was shortlived when just before a big puddle the tuk tuk stopped and we had to get out while Sunni revived it (which luckily he did, despite the fact it had sounded worrying all day). We managed to get back to the hotel where we all got a little bit dressed up (and even put on make up) to go to the Sunset Bar in the palace complex we'd read about in the LP. Sunni dropped us off as far along as he could and then we walked up the hill to reach the bar. Having arrived we were informed that tonight it was hotel guests only. Not impressed. We walked down the hill feeling like absolute rejects, and also annoyed that noone had told us, even when we'd been paying 30p each to enter the complex. Clearly all a scam. We got a tuk tuk back and went back to the trusty Lotus Cafe for dinner. I had a small and greasy bowl of pilau rice and Jade ended up with pasta in a sauce that tasted of rice pudding. I was still hungry so ordered a paneer kebab though which turned out to be much better and yummy. We had a beer in the Lotus and then decided to go to the Hookah bar (not to be confused with hooker, which had me a little worried for a while) we'd seen up the road. This turned out to be shut down permanently. Luckily we found another one and had a really lovely evening drinking a few beers with some "green apple" shisha and chatting on lovely, comfy chairs.
The next day we were checking out so I got up for a shower, which was lukewarm rather than freezing for a change because Krista had showed us how to turn on the water heater, and went to pick up our laundry. We opted to go to the hotels restaurant for breakfast (all is forgiven). Krista and I ordered pancakes which came out burnt and not very nice (despite this Krista then later ordered another one which she said was slightly better) and we spent a nice morning/afternoon sitting around on the roof terrace chatting, catching up our diaries and the like. We the managed to finally leave, proceeding down to have a look at the lake (so beautiful, Udaipur is known as the "Lake City" and I love lakes so I was haaaaaappy). After this huge effort we decided it was time to sit down again so went back to the German Bakery "Cafe Eidelweiss" and I pigged out on banana cake and a cinammon rol. Krista set off to catch her train and after a fond farewell Jade and I opted to go to another rooftop restaurant for a coke. Here we were happy to find we had confirmed seats/berths on the train that evening (despite the fact that on checking this with a local he told us this was wrong and we had no seats, advice we luckily ignored). We sat here for alittle bit and then ordered our standard takeaway pizza before setting off for the train station.
We had a new tuk tuk driver to the train station, who I did not take to. He kept calling us baby, seemed reluctant to use the engine if there was a hill he could roll down even a little bit, and tried to make us pay extra because it was "raining charge". Not impressed, but luckily only a short journey. We got to the station pretty early (no thanks to the driver) and sat on the platform waiting for the train eating our disappointingly small pizzas. I had also panic bought biscuits and crisps in a ridiculous amount because the idea of being hungry on a 16 hour journey did not seem pleasant. Eventually we got on the train and found ourselves sat with a very sweet family. I chatted to the lady a bit, through her limited English (trying for once not to mumble/be clear) and she said she'd had an arranged marriage when she was 17 and that now her and her husband were in love. Really sweet in some ways but unimaginably different for me.
We arrived in Mumbai the next day about 1 and had another annoying encounter at the taxi ranks trying to haggle a reasonable price to go to Colaba. We met some other tourists and all shared a taxi, which we managed to get down from 500 rupees for two (reasonable price madam) to 100 rupees each after quite a long and annoying exchange. To be honest, my first impression of Mumbai wasn't very great. I'm not sure what I was expecting but it just seemed to me like another big city. We went past some odd sites in the taxi, such as two children sitting on a carousal weel of swinging benches, just casually plonked on the side of the street, nowhere near a fair. We also saw the train station which perked me up a little bit to Mumbai, very beautiful. We arrived at the India Guest House, where we stayed for the night (after some more searching for the best deal) and stayed in a twin room which was a little prison celly and had walls only most of the way up the side of the room so you could hear people chatting in the room next door. In some ways quite a nice dormitory feel and the bathrooms were lovely thankfully.
We showered and went out to a nearby restaurant for dinner, which for me was a little spicier than I wanted curry. We then went to "6th Street Yogurt" for delicious frozen yogurt. Heaven. We strolled on to see India Gate and the Taj Hotel. India Gate was an impressive site and we decided to take a boat trip to see it from the see "as it should be seen" according to the LP (I'm beginning to hate the Lonely Planet). Paid 80pish each to go on a half hour trip, and opted to stay downstairs when much to our disgust we were informed we had to pay another 10p if we wanted to go up on top deck. Almost as soon as the boat set off I was dreaming of dry land. So choppy and a bit foggy so barely even got a good view of India Gate. About 5 minutes in Jade and I had to move across to the middle after being splashed repeatedly by the waves lapping at the side. About 20 minutes in the girl I had been sitting next to who had also taken refuge in the centre ran to the edge and starting throwing up over the rail. I do not do well with the sight of people vomming and started to feel a little sick myself. About 5 minutes later a guy on the other side of the boat (which I had then moved to) very graphically started throwing up on this side too. This was almost too much to me, and my eyes were watering as we finally got back to shore.
We then went off and had a walk along the streets in Mumbai, where I did a bit of shopping for things like photocopied versions of books I want to read. After this we went to Leopold Bar and Cafe and sampled some Budweiser Magnum - a new beer apparently only released in India - which we mainly tried because we got free glasses with every two. We got chatting to some guys on the next table who were awkwardly looking at the guys on the table the other side of us who had spent their whole meal staring at us and blatantly listening in to our conversation. The guys we made friends with said they were cringing on behalf of all Mumbai-ers.
The next morning we set off to see a Gandhi museum (after some breakfast/lunch, which I have to admit was pizza followed by some more laaaavly frozen yogurt) just off Marine Drive. We walked around this, I particularly enjoyed the model depiction of Gandhi's life, although it lacked detail which was a bit of a shame. We then happened across NY bar which we went in to which really could have been a NY bar. We had mocktails and shared a sandwich, the price of which we were shocked to see at the end, and watched Sumo wrestling on TV. Then we headed down and strolled along a rather gloomy looking beach before going to sit on the edge of Marine Drive to watch the waves. Headed back in to Colaba and went back to see India Gate, unsure what to do with our awkward amount of time to kill pre-overnight train. A little girl came up to me and offered me henna stamping for 10p. I was aware that this was not real henna but thought I might as well get it, more as something to do than anything. After watching her make the palm of my hand look absolutely ridiculous with orange stamps, the ink of which then proceeded to get all over my clothes and bag, I was not impressed to then be told it was 10p a stamp and I now owed her 70rupees. I had only 10 rupees change and wouldn't have given her any more if I had had it, and eventually she grudgingly accepted it, walking off saying something in Hindi which was clearly not flattering judging by the faces of the guys sat next to us who'd been watching the whole thing.
We went to get dinner at Bademiya, which is a really lovely little kebab shop pretty infamous in Mumbai. we both had veggie kebabs and then I had a really nice Bhuna before going to Leopold for an ice cream cup. We grabbed our stuff and got to the overnight train without much hassle to go-a to Goa (the most overused joke in India!)