We came into Rajasthan through Mount Abu, a place popular with Indian tourists. A nice enough place to visit, but as I was stuck in my room in fear of being too far from a toilet, I didn‘t get to see the famous Jain temples or see the views from one of the various lookouts over the plains.
Udaipur was the next place on our short tour of the state. A welcome change from the busy, dirty towns that are pretty much the norm over the rest of the country. And for a tourist town, an amazingly relaxed no hassle kind of place. It was hard to leave. We were a little surprised to find the famous lake dried out apart from a basketball size patch of brown water.
The famous lake palace hotel amazingly had people out everyday digging a trench so that their customers could take a boat the 75 metres to the hotel – a bit silly if you ask me, but I would be a bit pissed to find out my once in a lifetime stay at the 30,000 roops a night hotel.
The only real issue I have with these backpacker hangouts is the food on offer. There’s a kind of vague, long menu of bland Indian, overpriced western and just plain disgusting Chinese. It’s never executed well and never really represents the local food traditions. In fact I’m pretty sure I left Rajasthan experiencing very little real local food – although I did have the worst pizza in my life, in fact talking to most backpackers, nobody’s really that interested in trying local food, only the kind of food that.
In Bundi however, at our guesthouse, we had some of the best food so far. Spinach and lentil curry, panner patia, aloo jeera. All homemade in the family kitchen. A nice change from the tourist food and even the better restaurant food – which can often be too heavy.
Bundi Itself is a picture perfect town with a grand palace and fort on stepped levels all the way up the hill behind the city. The houses are all painted blue making an unforgettable view out over the town from the top. But the heat here was the worst. Stuck in valley that keeps in heat well after sunset its no place for the faint hearted – it rained while we were here but the rain was evaporating before it hit the ground making it seem like you were in a sauna.
Finally we arrived in Jaipur. A place even in my memories I’m sure will be hard to find enchanting. I can’t believe that this town is one of the biggest tourist destinations in India. Maybe it’s a victim of its own success, maybe its just me. I just found the harassment factor went off the scale, and the actual attractions on offer didn’t compensate for this.
In fact in two days we were treated as such retards it was unbelievable. People tried to over charge us for water, added taxes that didn’t exist and somebody even tried to grab Andrea’s boobs while passing on a motorbike – which ended with me chasing him barefoot down a main road with a brick in my hand. I was dreaming about breaking his fingers for two nights – not how I want to feel on holiday.
So were off to the mountains, via delhi, and I hope its different. I’m just not convinced about India.