The bus was an early one again, and we left Jodhpur at 7.30am. We met an Irish guy called Kieron on the bus. The bus was a sleeper/seating bus. We had booked seats, but you could upgrade to a bed for 50rupees. Jack wanted to upgrade, but i didn't so i stayed in the seat and Jack in the bed next to me. It was lucky he wasn't asked for any money because as the bus started filling up, people just sat on the bed he was sleeping on anyway! So he ended up sharing it after about half way. Another woman, who i think had paid for the bed, had a whole family on the end of hers!
The bus wasn't full at the start, and as soon as it started filling up i realised that i'd left myself open for pervs to sit next to me! The first guy that sat next to me was fine, he just read his paper and had a little sleep, not any hassle at all. When he got off, a guy who had been sitting at the back came purposefully to sit next to me. I noticed that he had his camera phone in his hand and he was (not so subtly) trying to aim the camera at me to take pictures! I shifted around in my seat so he couldn't get any pictures. When i started to get uncomfortable i turned around and he had his hand on my seat so when i turned back he got a good feel. I glanced down at his phone to discover that he was watching pornography on it - it was so gross. As soon as he got off, the person next to Kieron had moved so i switched seats and sat next to him, stashed away in the corner again! A lot of the men here, when you are walking down the street, they walk into you on purpose, so that they can cop a feel it's disgusting. I walk with my head down and when i see someone coming towards me i swerve fully out of the way!
We got to Udaipur about 2.00pm. We got a rickshaw (eventually after lots of haggling) to the hotel we wanted to go to. The room was amazing, for 300 rupees (about 3 pounds 20 or something) we had a room with a bay window with a view of the temple, the room was huge, nicely decorated, en suite bathroom (with shower!) and.... a TV!!! It was awesome. Unfortunately we were booted out after 2 nights, because they had double booked... or had found someone who would pay more! So we were moved to another room which had no TV and was nowhere near as nice and they tried to charge 250. We said we'd take it for 200 and they said ok. At least we have a balcony with this one which is cool! We overheard someone else bargaining for their room, and they are paying 400rupees! It's crazy, they just charge what they like so you have to haggle.
Udaipur is what we expected, and it's a really nice city. The famous Lake Palace is here - where they filmed parts of Octop**** Its really impressive and is nicely lit up at night. Since we've been here we have taken a cooking course which was good - not as good as Thailand because it was more like a school where she cooked and we watched and took notes. Still got to eat everything afterwards though! In Thailand we cooked it all ourselves so it was more hands-on. We got to make our own Chapatti's though (alison i know you love them so i'll show you how to make them when i get home!). We learned 3 different types of curry, which is the base for about 20 other curries, and we learned Chapatti, stuffed chapatti and nan bread.
Jack has been taking some Tabla (indian bongo type drums) lessons. He is at his second lesson just now, and really enjoying it. His music teacher, Krishnan invited us to his house for dinner last night. I was a bit sceptical, but it turned out fine! He has a wife and one son. We met him at the music shop at 6.00 last night and went to his house. It was about 20 minutes away on a rickshaw, which he insisted on paying for. When we got to his house, about 20 of his family members were there, all women, so I felt instantly better! They were all talking to us and were really friendly. They all live in the house, which is a shared house with a shared kitchen. Each family has a separate room which is their own. To say that they live minimally is an understatement. When he led us to his room, it was completely bare. No furniture, nothing. They had a clock on the wall, some religious artefacts and some sheets in the corner which they put down at night to sleep. It really makes you wonder why we acumulate so much crap back home! Krishnan's wife Heena made a delicious curry for dinner. I had vegetarian Dahl, and Jack tried the mutton curry. It was delicious, much more spicy than in the restaurants but bearable - Jack's nose started streaming half way through though! Krishnan's son is very intelligent and he played Tabla and Guitar for us. He had a box of magic tricks aswell, and Jack showed him a few more which he was extatic about!
After dinner (which is traditionally just eaten with your hands sitting on the floor, but they gave us a spoon each!!) we sat around talking. Heena couldn't believe we had been together for so long and not married. She looked really sad when she said that we were lucky to be able to choose who we wanted to be with, i guessed she wasn't a very happy lady. We left at about 9.30 as they were all tired from working all day. It was really nice to have been invited to their house and to see a completely different way of life. When we got back, a raging storm broke out - the first rain we have seen in India, and such a good storm! I tried to watch it from our balcony, but I got soaked!
Today, after Jack has finished his Tabla lesson we are going to go to a posh hotel and pay to use their pool - haven't had a swim for 2 weeks even though it's been about 35 - 40 degrees every day! Tonight we are going to go to a traditional Rajhastani dancing concert. Tomorrow we are getting a night train to Mumbai - 16hours!! We'll let you know how the train journey goes!
Hope everyone is well