The cooking class in Udaipur was very fun and lasted over 3.5 hours. We learned how to cook many dishes (see photo on left of me cooking). At night we went to the Monsoon Palace to watch the sun set. This was the palace that was in the movie with James Bond called Octopussy. It was very unimpressive, the palace that is, not the sunset. We left the following day at 6:15 to catch our 7:00 train to Adjer. The 5.5 hour train ride sucked since it was hot and we had no a/c (obviously). After arriving in Adjer we took taxis for 20 to 30 minutes to get to our final destination.
After arriving in our hotel we were given our room assignments. Since there was an odd number of boys we have been rotating who gets the single room and this time it was my turn. Not only did I have the room to myself, but I had the nicest of all the rooms available in the entire hotel. My bed was of the king-size' and I even had an air conditioner--thought I blew the fuse on it within the first 3 hours. I had a color TV with over 25 stations, although everyone single one was in Hindi. My bathroom was enormous, although fairly simple. At lest this time the since was inside the bathroom and we even got a mirror. Every surface was marble except for, or course, the ceiling. My bed had a very nice cover thing on it, which I am not sure of the name (see photo on right). We met for lunch and then went out for a walk into the city (see photo on left). After reaching well into the city I turned back and went back alone just because the others were all going off to go shopping. From the time I left the hotel until the time I returned was a little over and hour and a quarter. That's quite a lot of non-stop walking in 95+ degree heat. Please see photo of the city. At night we met for dinner on our hotel's rooftop restaurant. Just a reminder...this entire city does not serve any alcohol, egg, or meat since it's a holy city. At dinner we watched bootlegged copy of Slumdog Millionaire on a big screen TV. The audio and video tracks were off by a few milliseconds which we all got used to but was still pretty annoying. Everybody enjoyed the movie, but I thought it was 10 times more emotionally powerful when I saw it at home on the big screen. Some of it was because of the 'non-cinema' atmosphere, but I think the biggest thing is the following--I've been in India for a couple weeks and have been to Lao and Cambodia, both of which are VERY poor, and have gotten used to what was shown in the movie so it wasn't really a 'shocking experience' the second time I watched it. I got a pizza with vegetables, fruits, olives, mushrooms, etc. which took 90 minutes to get. This place was very slow. I got a banana split, which was OK, but nothing like back at home. I think when I'm in Jaipur tomorrow I'll go to an ice cream place or a McDonald's for some real dessert.
Today I ate a light breakfast, chai masala and a fruit salad. We all went to the lake where all but 5 of us got puja done. The people actually paid some buy 100 rupees to get a string tied on their wrists and then the 'priest' said a prayer for them and their family. Man what gullible people. And get this, our tour guide got the guy beforehand to do it. All the lonely planets say not to do this because it's a scam. For god's sake, who needs to be told that paying someone to say a prayer for you is a rip-off? Afterwards we went to a place called Pink Floyd's cafe where they played Pink Floyd and other psychedelic music. They apparently served hash drinks as well as opium teas and shakes. Afterwards the others got falafel, but I went my own way...staying with that group just slows me down. They take so damn long for everything. I went to look at some shops that had paintings, but I wasn't 100% that they weren't just prints so I left. I went to 4 or 5 other places looking for some type of patchwork. I wanted to buy some hing else since the journals were cheap enough that paying to send them home wasn't economical. At the last place I went to I found 'something close' to what I was looking for. Ideally I wanted a dark blue wall hanging with yellow, gold, or orange patches. I decided on just getting two patch works. One is dark blue which can be a wall hanging our rug and the other is orange and can be a wall hanging our a table runner. It's quite long for a table runner though. See the photos on the right, these are the ones I bought and plan to send home with my journals.
On my way back to the hotel, about 10 minutes way, the 'hotel guy' gave me a lift on his motorcycle. I was back in my room writing in my journal (as I do EVERY DAY), the power went out. It stayed out for a little under an hour. I'm down the road now on the Internet because my hotel charges too much and charge per picture I upload. This Internet is dial-up speed and the computer is SO DAMN SLOW. I had half of this posting written and it just crashed on me, so I had to re-write it ALL over again. I hope you can share in my pain. Tomorrow we leave our hotel for a 4 or such hour bus ride to Jaipur, the capital or Rajasthan. Cheers!