Well I am not leaving Udaipur starving. As always I have had the best food, and the best time in Udaipur. My hotel, Mewar Haveli has some fine food, and always cold Kingfisher, both at fabulous rates, and with the most wonderful views of the city and the lake. I have eaten daal, naan, and my favorite snack - papad masala washed down with an ice cold Kingfisher. I also went to dinner with my friend Manish to Hotel Natural View, where we had papad and pakora, then bringal (eggplant) and tomato, yummy egg curry, and of course Kingfisher again! Delicious food and great company. I met Manish on my first trip to India and we have remained friends. His cousins have the hotel where I now stay, and I am always welcomed and looked after, and feel safe, secure and happy travelling alone. Manish also showed me some back ways around the city to avoid touts and street boys hassling and asking stupid questions.
Yesterday I picked up my rings which were made here at Silver Art Gallery by Bharat and Pramod Soni using my mum's, nana's and great aunt's diamonds, and what a beautiful job they did. I also was naughty and bought some beautiful gold earrings which I have covetted for the past 2 trips. They are divine, based on a traditional Rajashtani tribal design and given it was an auspicious day on the Hindu calendar for such purchases, how could I refuse. These guys make the most beautiful jewellery and given I handed over the family jewellery stock, they are also very trustworthy, lovely people. They are now my jewellers of choice anywhere in the world. And their family make the best chai too!
The afternoon was spent on the lake, visiting Jag Mandir, an island on the lake. The first time I have been there as this year was a good monsoon and the lake is full, unlike my first trip in 2004 when I walked across the lake, and when boat travel was difficult to say the least. On my return, walking through the city palace complex, I came upon the flag ceremony, with much goose stepping, stompping, pomp and ceremony. It was totally bizarre and a little funny, complete with bag pipes, and handsome Mewari men in uniform.
So today I am off to Bombay - always a little sad to say goodbye to beautiful Udaipur - my past life home, but always exciting to go to Bombay! Namaste.