The sleep-ins seem to be getting later….made it all the way to 6:45 this morning.
We got our bags ready for the move to another room this morning and then climbed the cement hill to the rooftop restaurant for breakfast. I ordered a cheese omelette this morning. An omelette here is basically scrambled eggs but flat….they’re thin and likely 1 egg. The cheese part of it was just grated cheese sprinkled on top. India!
The view from the rooftop restaurant is very nice. There are ghats outside the hotel that go down to Lake Pichola, with hotels and other buildings on the opposite side. Out in the middle of the lake is the exclusive marble Taj Lake Palace Hotel, (from their web site) “….built in 1746 as the pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II. Taj Lake Palace is one of the most recognizable residences in the world, since it has been featured in many films and TV serials….” (‘Octopussy’, an early James Bond movie). The rates are Rs 50,000 per night, about $1,000.
We’re betting that there’s internet in the rooms and it wouldn’t have a ‘wet bath’ (no shower stall so the water sprays all over). But then, our hotel is not exclusive or luxury and the rates are Rs 3,000 per night, about $60. Hey, we have a view of the Taj Lake Palace, so that must count for something!
Have I mentioned that window and door photography wherever we go is exceptional? Here are a couple of examples from today. There might be some wires in the way here and there.
The plan this morning was to retrace our steps from last night to the City Palace. We left the hotel about 8:45. It’s not too far and the streets were busy with girls and teachers arriving at the local girls’ high school, shop stalls being opened, the colours and wall art, tuk-tuks, scooters and motorcycles speeding up and down the streets with horns going continuously, construction with typical bamboo scaffolding and, of course, the ever-present cows. The first photo op was just up the street from the hotel. There was a woman standing out on her ‘balcony’. We were about to take a photo of her, when another woman came out, then a little boy, then a husband.
India is colour!!
We bought our tickets for the City Palace (Rs 500 plus 300 for camera; Indians pay Rs 50). The palace sits on a hill on the east bank of Lake Pichola and has several palaces within the complex. Construction began in 1553 and continued over a period of nearly 400 years.
Before going inside the Palace, I got a few shots of the outside walls….amazing architecture.
We spent a couple of hours at the palace along with the other 1.3 billion Indians. When you go into the museum part, there’s no choice but to continue all the way through to the exit….a long tour….going through very cramped areas and narrow, steep passageways. The Indian people walk through a place like this the same way they drive: they look for a space and go for it! It’s a very interesting place, but we were happy to have the tour behind us.
Inside the City Palace
Again, several people wanted their photos taken with us or wanted photos taken of their kids. It’s starting to get kinda old.
We got back to the hotel about 1:15, got into our new room with a view of the lake and then went to the rooftop for lunch. I discovered that I had lost my prescription sunglasses somewhere along the line. Damn!
We had agreed to meet Kamal in the parking lot at 2:00 for the return trip to the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh Palace) high up in the Aravalli Hills overlooking the city. “The palace offers a panoramic view of the city’s lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built chiefly to watch the monsoon clouds; hence, appropriately, it is popularly known as Monsoon Palace.” (Wikipedia). It was built in 1884.
Guess what….more people wanted us to take their photos and wanted photos taken with us!
Kamal returned us to the hotel, where we veg’d until about 5:30. We hit the streets again and this is when one of the funniest stories of the day happened. I was looking for a shop that sold sunglasses, to replace the ones I had lost. I asked a shopkeeper where I could find one and he gave me directions, but then before I knew it, another guy came along and said he’d take me there. Dass said to me, “Look at his ears.” Unbelievable! I’ve never seen anything like it! He had thick, black hair growing out of his ears about 2″ long. It wasn’t hanging down, but sticking out like a waxed moustache only the hairs were separated. It looked like wings! Dass suggested that it looked like his moustache fell off his face and stuck to his ears! It was quite something following him and seeing his ear hair backlit by the shop lights. I can’t adequately describe this phenomenon. The only thing that would accomplish that would have been a photo and I’m so kicking myself for not asking if I could take a picture. I’m sure that he would have been very proud. Unfortunately, he took off too fast once he got me to the store. Hey, he was very helpful and friendly and it gave us a good laugh.
Once that comedy was over, we continued on to the O-Zen restaurant for dinner: tea, water and pizza. Not bad, but not as good as Tom and Jerry’s pizza, in Bundi. They show movies in the restaurant and, wouldn’t you know it, they were showing ‘Octopussy’. We didn’t stick around to watch.
The day is done! Kamal is picking us up here at 10:00 AM….next stop, Jodhpur.