Monday, 8 April 2013

Namaste everyone.
It's been a few days since I had both access to wifi and some time to post. The cookery class was fabulous and I am now armed with recipes for samosas, chapattis, dal, paneer, zeera rice and more. You lucky guinea pigs for me when I get home - ha. Visited the City Palace in Udaipur this morning and it was beautiful. Was where Liz Hurley had her first wedding to that Indian chap whose name slips my mind. Then caught a boat over Lake Picholo to Jag Mander, a beautiful island which houses a hotel and restaurant. Stone elephants greet visitors at the landing pad. Lunch was beautiful and yes they sold alcohol! It has been few and far between trekking round to find a place that sold wine. Beautiful lunch and I set off quickly back to the hotel as I had a foot massage booked. My ankles are the size of an elephant with all this heat. So much so that I only have one pair of shoes left that can just about fit. Our beautiful garden in the hotel had a family of 3 tortoises meandering around beside us. In the morning whilst sitting there a man opened a gate at the back from the other side and shouted really loudly 'electricity bill' several times and threw it on the grass. When nobody came he picked it up, shook his head and turned back. Bills, Indian style!
After around an hour travelling next day we stopped at a temple from the 14th century whose name escapes me but is worshipping the god for sexual organs. The sculptures in all the pillars and walls were really interesting. 10 rupees for flowers to worship. Another 3 hour drive and we arrived in Jojawar at a hotel which is a nobleman's house. As we went thought the entrance archway an Indian beat a drum to welcome us and two little boys sprinkled pink and yellow petals over us. It was magical. The pool was gorgeous and after a lunch of yet again more pakora we rested before our walk around the village. A population of 10000 including both Hindus and Jain people, we were told that these were not poor people and not to give them anything. If we wanted to donate we were to give to the hotel who would distribute accordingly. As we went round the village we acquired quite a following of children who ran round us,eager to talk. Some were spinning tyres with sticks, others just larking around. They were very keen to have their photos taken and enjoyed seeing them in the screen. Each one kept asking for just one pen. Can't see that catching on back home. They were all just being kids having fun. In that village young children as young as 4 or 5 can get married. They have a ceremony arranged by their parents and afterwards go back to live with their respective parents until the girl has her first period. Then the father makes a big announcement to the village and she moves in with her husband to his parents house. We had a beautiful dinner in a central courtyard under the stars just for our group. Buffet style curries, it was magical. Managed to buy a bottle of wine and when asked for another they only had one more half bottle. It's in short supply here and charged at a premium unlike everything else which is cheap as chips. Afterwards Marion took charge of a Mass card game called the 3 Maharajahs and had to use two packs of cards together as there were so many of us. Was a bit hectic but good fun. Bought a gorgeous blue sari this morning for around £8. It is 6 metres long and hand sewn bling - what value. It was a long 5 hour trip to Pushkar with a stop for lunch. I was a bit concerned about the length of times spent in our little bus but am finding that is the time for peace and rest. Catching up on zz's and each time I open my eyes there is always plenty to see as you meander through towns and villages. Cows are sacred here and wander freely all over. They look upon cows as their mother as when a baby is born it is first give a few drops of cows milk together with a drop of honey before it gets milk from their mother to enable it to have a sweet nature.. When looking out of the bus yesterday we were passing through a town which is always chaos and looked down a street packed with market stalls, cars, cows etc and noticed that a cow just went over to a stall brimming with tomatoes and just started munching right through them! Eek.
Pushkar is a very holy town. Frequented by backpackers, it is vegetarian and no drugs or alcohol (according to the sign). Our hotel is in a fort slightly out of town. I had a swim and then some foot reflexology (a first time for me). It was very strange as I entered the room there was Fraser having his massage. My masseur was male so I was quite glad he was there. It was very strange. Didn't realise that foot reflexology stretched right up the whole legs!! My room is beautiful. It is in a circular hut with a tented ceiling inside and thatched roof outside. It has a big bay window sort of a hexagonal shape to sit in. It's a bit like looking into an Amsterdam knocking shop window but a great place for an early morning tea and a piece of writing.

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