Day 123: Udaipur, India. This morning Lil was still feeling poorly. Thankfully still just a head cold and perhaps a touch of flu. With all the local outbreaks of dengue fever, swine flu and, more recently, congo fever, we keep a beady eye on any symptoms. To give her a chance to recover, we decided to hang about at the guesthouse for most of the day.
We say ‘most’, because Lil has to be one of the worst patients ever. She says she’s feeling really sick, then after a few hours sleep, declares herself to be completely better and ready to go and climb a mountain. Late afternoon she was itching to go out for coffee. Jim managed to convince her that one of the Nescafe sachets provided by the guesthouse, and a dubious chocolate wafer bar bought at the local shop, were a much better option.
Thankfully we have a room with a view across green fields and mountains, so being stuck inside isn’t too dreadful. So long as you lie on at least four pillows so you can see out the window.
By evening time, Lil was desperate to escape the four walls, and insisted we needed to go out for dinner. We headed out into a glowery evening, with large black clouds overhead that indicated a fairly major storm. Thankfully we somehow managed to avoid any rain (unusual for us).
We stopped at a local ATM to get some cash. Given the recent ATM dramas in Jaipur where there was a power cut, we didn’t get any cash, but our account was still debited, our standard routine now is that Jim does the ATM transaction, and Lil photographs the ATM serial number, in case any more disputes arise. We must look a right dodgy pair.
Some of the ATMs here are seriously ancient and take forever to do a simple cash transaction – we spotted a sign the other day that said ‘powered by Pentium processor’, which must make the machines at least 20 years old.
Lil had picked out a restaurant about 2km away, so we set off down the main road past shops and fruit and vegetable stalls and cows. Once we’d turned off the main road a little further on, we found ourselves in pitch darkness, with no street lights and only occasional car headlamps to help us pick our way through the potholes, mud and cow poo.
We reached the restaurant, which was completely empty. The waiter tried to put us into an outside pagoda which looked like a mozzie breeding chamber, so we asked to sit inside instead. They can’t have been expecting many people as a bunch of guys suddenly swung into action, turning on lights and fans and, a little bizarrely, lighting joss sticks and waving them around our heads.
The waiter brought us the menu, which was completely in hindi. No amount of staring at the hindi script was going to help us, so we looked up some dishes on our phone, and with a bit of pointing and a very patient waiter, managed to order a couple of dishes, chapatis and rice.
While we were waiting for dinner to be cooked, the waiter gave us a snack to nibble on – a mix of peanuts, apple, onion, fresh tomato and fiery hot chilli, which was delicious.
Jim nudged Lil and warned her to be careful about a power point that was right next to her shoulder. Instead of using a plug, the wires from the fan overhead were just pushed roughly into the socket. Holy moley.
Dinner arrived and both dishes were delicious, if a little on the oily side. Rajasthan state is the second largest consumer of ghee in India, and we reckon the restaurant must be a major contributor to those figures. The waiter was dismayed that we hadn’t scooped up all the ghee with our piles of chapatis – difficult to explain that we would probably consume the same amount of fat in a month in Sydney, and also we wanted to live a little longer.
We couldn’t face stumbling back through the mud and cow poo in the dark, so ordered an Uber to take us back to the guesthouse. The driver took a wrong turning at one point, realised his mistake and apologised before simply reversing at speed into a busy roundabout to change direction. Anything goes, as they say.
Tomorrow – assuming Lil is in top notch form again – we’re planning to visit the Monsoon Temple and Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary. And if she’s not, she’ll probably insist on going anyway.