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Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, February 4, 2007

He Said:

Prior to this visit, I was a bit dubious about the "Most romantic city" claim made by Udaipur. After all, when I visited before, I thought the place was interesting but certainly not romantic. When I was here four years ago, the city was in the midst of a severe drought. As a result of the water shortage, the lake the town sits on was pretty much just a stinking mud pit. Well, the rains have been good to Udaipur lately, Lake Pichola is filled to the brim, and the city actually is quite beautiful! It has all the great historical, architectural, and cultural trademarks of India while much of the trash, noise, and hassle is conspicuously absent. This combined with a number of upscale hotels make it the most touristy place we've been in a while. There are so many busloads of senior citizens around town that you might think you are in Branson, Missouri!

The landmark of Udiapur is the Lake Palace Hotel, a former maharajah's summer retreat built on a small island in the lake, which has since been converted into a swish $400+ per night hotel. Some scenes from the James Bond film, "Octopussy" were shot here so, consequently most budget guesthouses offer free screenings of the film every night in order to draw customers to their rooftop restaurants. Although tempting, we gave the film a miss...

We did the usual things any tourist does in Udaipur, a boat ride around the lake, touring the city palace, wandering the narrow streets of the old town, rooftop dining, and watching the sunset. Oh and I got a shave and a haircut, but it cost more than two bits, still it was a bargain at $2.25! Unfortunately I made a mistake on the dates in booking our train out of here so we only got to spend one night. Tonight again we are off on yet another overnight train to Mumbai. We could have easily hung out for a few more days here...oh well, I guess now we'll have more time to spend at the beaches down south!

She Said:

After tooling around in Indian cities for the last couple of weeks, I have gotten used to the cows, trash, stench of stale urine, and cute homeless orphans that pull at your heartstrings. Perhaps this is why Udaipur was such a pleasant experience...clean(ish) streets, a lack of stench, and very few cows, and certainly missing the cow pies every few yards that are just waiting to squish under your feet. It was as if people actually understood the purpose of a trashcan, and used it regularly! Todd and I were discussing this pleasant change of public hygiene, and decided that it had to do with the number of really expensive mega hotels and foreign chain resorts located in such a small town. Because the lake is so unique and pretty and the level of accommodation is exceptionally high, there is a lot of foreign tourism, and it seems like Udaipur is on the list of "must see" India cities. As a result, there is no shortage of good jobs, and most locals seem to have a relatively high standard of living. We didn't see the begging, misery and tent cities that usually accompany an India city. I was so sad that we were only staying one night!
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