India, Days 39-41: Udaipur, Delhi

Okay, so this may be our last post. For real this time. :) We are back in Delhi (ugh), along with the monsoon in full force. Thankfully, that means it’s 36 C instead of 45 C, but it makes walking around in the muddy streets pretty unpleasant.

However, we’re feeling pretty good after spending four wonderful days in Udaipur. We really loved the area, especially Mountain Ridge where we were staying. Sunday we took a day trip to Kumbhalgarh Fort and the Jain temple in Ranakpur, both built in the 15th century. One of the best parts of the day was the drive, through lush green country side and small villages. We saw lots of scenes of typical Rajasthani village life – women dressed in saris of bright red, orange, and yellow, carrying huge bundles of sticks or several pots of water on their heads; small children herding goats or water buffalo; men wearing the brightly colored and infinitely varied turbans of their caste and profession. The two sites were also interesting. While we could imagine the magnificence of Kumbhalgarh (the fort walls are 36 km in length), imagining was about all we could do in the thick fog that enveloped the fort. What would probably have been a really lovely view was just a white blur about 15 feet in front of us. Thankfully, the weather improved somewhat by the time we got to the Jain temple, a magnificent structure with 1,444 carved white marble columns, no two of which are alike.

Mohit, the assistant manager of Mountain Ridge, also came with us for the day, since he just moved to Udaipur about 6 months ago from Punjab and has not seen many of the sites in the area. His English is pretty good, so we enjoyed talking to him throughout the day. Our driver was not quite as pleasant, although not a bad guy. He just drove like a bat out of hell, listened to Bailamos by Enrique Ingelsias multiple times (along with In Da Club, some Britney Spears, and many other such classics), and stopped for lunch at a place where he almost certainly got a commission or free lunch, while we payed a ridiculous amount for what we had to eat.

Sunday was also the day the monsoon weather really seemed to hit, and it has rained pretty constantly since. Given the weather, we spent Monday relaxing at Mountain Ridge, enjoying the fresh air, green countryside, and chatting with a couple and their son who arrived the night before. We headed to the train station in the afternoon for our last train ride in India (overnight from Udaipur to Delhi). Again, it was a relatively easy and painless experience. We listened to music, played cards, and got a decent night’s sleep.

And now we’re back in Delhi. And everyone is trying to rip us off (already had a rickshaw driver take us to the wrong place, clearly trying to get us to go to a shop from which he would get a commission), and it’s raining, and the traffic is terrible. And I’m whiny. :) So, it’s not likely there will be anything much left to write about, since we will spend this evening and tomorrow mostly trying to avoid the aforementioned scams, rain, and traffic. And Thursday at 3:30am we get on a flight to Hong Kong by way of Bangkok, and then on to San Francisco. Interesting tidbit – we leave Hong Kong at 12:30am on Friday, July 30, and arrive in San Francisco at 10:00pm on Thursday, July 29. We get to live the first 30 minutes of July 30th twice!

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