First up is Udaipur- the “Venice of India.” I went with my friend and WHO colleague Adriane. It was easily one of my favorite trips that I took. The high and low lights are as follows:
The overnight train and ragesleeping. This was a cool experience. Amazing on the way there and quite restful. But on the way back we were in 3 tier AC (3 bunkbeds on each side) and 3 men got on at 11pm even though there were only 2 available seats/beds. One was a “local politician” (hint: corruption gets you anything) of the gold chain/track pants variety and the others were his minions I guess. I was on the bottom bunk and one corpulent minion just set up shop on the ground about six inches from my ear and proceeded to talk/snore/stare at me for the whole night. I had an eye mask and ear plugs but I couldn’t sleep because I was enraged. Have you ever tried to rage-sleep? I don’t recommended it. The next morning I came out of the toilet (read: hole) between train cars and the three of them were smoking there. In very broken English I ascertained that they were asking me for my “contact details.” This provided a small opportunity to unleash my rage and snarl that I didn’t even have a phone (a lie). I think my anger was lost in translation but it felt oh so good.
Visiting a mountain fort. We ended up meeting a young Indian family and spent the day with them and their adorable 2 year old.
Horseback riding and being oh so wrong. Adriane chickened out on this activity despite my assurances that “it won’t be scary! They will be gentle trail horses!” Famous last words. I ended up on a horse that “hadn’t been ridden much due to the monsoon.” Long story short the horse was absolutely wild and was bucking and galloping off at every opportunity. She ran right up to the guide’s horse who delivered a swift back buck- kicking me square in the knee. I was in tears and the guide (who spoke about 3 words of English and looked about 14) clearly was horrified and had no idea what to do. I left with a massive bruise (on my knee and on my ego…recall that I was on the equestrian team in college) and proceeded to limp around the city like a drunk, uncoordinated pirate with a pegleg. Would I do it again? You betcha.
The view from the hotel. Our budget hotel had an amazing lake view from it’s rooftop restaurant.