Day 18 - Friday, 22 February 2013 - Udaipur
22.02.2013 - 22.02.2013
Up to the City Palace. Scenic paid extra for us to get in early so there would be no one else there which was great as we all have photographs with no one in them. Also, the staircases and hallways were very narrow, steep and made of slippery marble, so best not to be pushing and shoving.
After the tour, we walked through the market place with Judy and Graeme.
The streets of Udaipur.
You can buy ANYTHING in Udaipur!
On the way back to the boat landing, we came across another group of Aussies walking up the hill. They were all from Canberra, our home town and my old friend Joan Breen and Jill Fisher (Belconnen golfers) were amongst the group. Imagine meeting someone from home in India! Another 'small world' moment.
At 12 noon, Judy and Graeme; Jill and David; Claire and I went to the Indian food cooking demonstration. The chef met us and we walked through the fruit and vegetable market and he identified lots of strange vegetables for us. He bought some produce and paid 10 rupees (about 20 cents Australian) for 1 kilo of lovely orange carrots; 8 rupees for a kilo of grapes. The fruit and vegetables are lovely and fresh albeit a lot smaller than ours. It was hot and dry walking through the street market - about 30 degrees, but nice to feel really warm. So far it has only been in the mid to low 20s. The chef was quite famous in Udaipur and had been in Australia in 2008 at the Crown Casino in Melbourne for 12 days at a food thing. He said he was good friends with Pete Evans from My Kitchen Rules. He hopped on his motor bike and we walked a bit and then hopped on our bus and we all met at his restaurant, which was on the second floor of a building.
He started to cook deep fried ochra. Yum. Can you imagine me, the fussy foody, saying that! Ochra is usually slimy and revolting, however they slice it, coat it and deep fry it in India and it is yummy. "Top and tail and slice ochra downwards; dip in a batter made from chick pea flour, water, tumeric and a smidge of chilli; fry and then sprinkle with green mango powder. Yum. Yum. Yum."
As he started to coat the spinach leaves with batter, there was a big bang and the lights went out, which is not unusual, as this happens in India all the time, even in the poshest hotels. After the lights went on and off a couple of times, he said as calm as you like, "We have an emergency". With that we noticed that smoke was billowing from the kitchen and some Indians rushed in with some buckets of water! Still very smokey so they asked us to sit down and gave us a drink. I said it was probably laced with valium to keep us calm. Then someone arrived with a fire extinguisher.
We were then told that there was a fire in the exhaust fan in the kitchen downstairs (which would account for the smoke now starting to come up the staircase), so because they couldn't turn on the power for a while, the cooking demonstration was over, but we could now commence our lunch. It was still very smokey, so we moved to a window table near the fresh air. Out of the window we saw the fire brigade arrive in a clapped out truck, and because there were no flames, they didn't get out of the truck and just drove away. We were in hysterics. It was a bit like the Keystone Cops.
Lunch was pretty spicey. Back to the hotel by 2.30 pm just in time to say goodbye to Phil who was going to High Tea in Durbar Hall in the Fateh Prakash Palace. Did some emails and facebook and met up with the group at 4.30 pm for a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola. Called into the Party Island and them came back to get ready for our Farewell Dinner.
Our Farewell Dinner was on the terrace under the stars and it was beautiful. We had Aussie food (well, New Zealand lamb shanks was one of the choices). There was a man playing a sitar in the background. Phil made a thank you speech to Claire and Yogi and we all sang "Claire". It was pretty awful because we didn't know the tune and we all had colds, so we croaked along. But she appreciated it.
It was a lovely finale to a great trip.
One of the beautiful lounges at the Lake Palace, Udaipur.