Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19th: Udaipur

We got to Udaipur about ten hours later, at 9 AM. We went to our hotel to freshen up. It's lakeside! The city is old and the streets are narrow.

My roomie was Shreya. There was a cockroach just chilling in our bathroom. Just really nonchalant. We went for breakfast. I got a Nutella crepe and fruit salad. It was the bomb deeze. We then went to the City Palace. Everything is so beautiful. All the marble and ivory is super cool and really detailed. The windows have screens made of marble and it filters the wind to make an A/C type thing. Elma, Quinn, and Aida all knew the physics behind this because of studying for the MCATs. Hilarious. We saw the room that Queen Victoria stayed in in 1942. Apparently she loved it. As a gift in return for her stay, she gave them a fan and electric lights. I found that pretty interesting. The palace is huge and in addition they have two summer palaces on the lake and one in the mountains for the monsoon season. There were no cameras allowed.

We walked down the street to see the temple. We walked up this huge flight of stairs and took our shoes off before entering. It's incredible. There were pictures of gods and kings on the wall. We paid a donation and got Holy water poured into our hands and then put on our foreheads. We sat on the mats and some ladies sang some religious chants and prayed. A man walked around and gave us presad (or blessed food) to eat. It was a sweet dough. I have never attended any type of religious ceremony (except my christening which I don't remember) so I really enjoyed this.

Some of the ladies wanted to shop, but Quinn, Jerry, Madan, and I went on a boat ride around the lake. It was fun and refreshing! Because Madan is from a place where it's mostly desert, he doesn't know how to swim. We assured him it would be alright because Quinn is a certified lifeguard. Holla! The boat ride showed off the backside of the City Palace as well as the palace in the lake and apparently the most expensive hotel in the world.

We got fresh coconuts off a street vendor and drank the juice and ate the flesh. It was delicious! We returned to the markets and drank chai! Quinn and I bought some spices at a shop next door. It was a family business passed down from male to male and they supplied to lots of restaurants in the area. Everything smelled so good.

We met up with the rest of the group and went for dinner. I had masala dosa! Yum. We watched the sun set over the lake. After that we returned to the museum part of the Palace and watched a series of Rajasthani folk dances! They were insane. There were puppets which were hilarious. A lady did a dance with ten pots on her head, representing how in the desert where there is not a lot of water, women would carry nine or ten buckets of water to their homes.

After we returned to our hotel where I am currently furiously typing this on my iPhone. It's bed time - night all!

Torry Harris
DWC Student Team Leader
Sikar, India: May 2012

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