The journey to Udaipur (INR 150/£2/$3) was dull as there really isn't much to look at in these parts on the road. I started my new book - 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts. Its one of those topical books for India, so I had to read it! After it got dark at about 6.30pm, I couldn't read as it was dark and the last few hours dragged quite a bit. We finally pulled into Udaipur at about 8.30pm and after a few idiot tuk-tuk drivers tried to rip me off, I managed to get into the old city around Lal Ghat. I went to Lake View Guesthouse, where Canadian Adam was staying. It wasn't great and looked a complete dump walking up the stairs. The owner showed me one room and asked INR 550 for it, which I said was too much and he found another which I got down to INR 250 (£3.
50/$5), but it was on the top floor (about 5 floors up, no lift!) and was a bit grotty. I was so tired that I couldn't be bothered to look anywhere else and the one thing it did have was a comfortable mattress. Unfortunately, I then spent most of the night in the bathroom - I couldn't work out what had made me ill as I hadn't really eaten anything all day except crisps and biscuits on the bus. All I knew is that I felt rough and rundown. I then found that my toilet didn't work properly, which was probably the worst thing that could be wrong with my room! I spoke to the owner in the morning and after threatening to leave, he put me in the original room I was shown for INR 300 a night - much better and it even had a TV, so I decided to stay.
The Lake Palace
After getting some medication from the chemist I started to feel much better, but I needed to rest and recuperate, so the furthest I got on my first full day was the internet cafe across the road.
That day seemed to put some life back into me and I had a good look round the old town on my last day, walking round to the other side of the lake where there is a much quieter part. I got chatting to a local artist (Gaon) who told me all about his school and co-operative shop over a up of chai. He obviously wanted me to buy something, but he spent a lot of time showing me their techniques (the paintings were exquisite, very detailed and I was very tempted to buy one) and just talking about his family and friends. A nice way to spend the morning and I relaxed round by the lake reading my book and having lunch with Monica at Sunrise Cafe - she was English, but had Japanese parents and we laughed at how the Indians cannot understand that you're one nationality but have the looks and heritage of another - its an alien concept to them!
I wanted to go to the Monsoon Palace for sunset, but it clouded over late afternoon.
Instead I walked round the City Palace complex, where there were preparing for some kind of special event - the red carpet was out and everything! Dinner at Hitorical City Lake View restaurant (above the excellent Cafe Namaste) was my first proper meal for a few days and I gobbled down a face-full of food. Definitely feeling better!
Inside the City Palace complex