There is no way to lose Ember today. He stepped in cow shit and he has trouble cleaning his slippers. He leaves brown traces behind him wherever he goes. Like a Chinese Hansel with cow feces instead of stones and bread.
The other Chinese people have decided to spend the day around city palace. We’re 14 now, which makes the job easier. AIESEC Udaipur people accompany us as we explore the city. They’re energetic people. They teach Meead some Indian dance moves. Where? In the bus.
– Talal, dance!
– We’re not like you guys. You can dance anywhere, anytime.
And that’s a fact.
Kira, Son, Meead and three AIESEC people. By the lake. On stairs. One wrong move away from falling in the relatively clean water (a hairy person is swimming between boats packed with Asians, it’s India, everything is possible). And what do they do? A jive. For five minutes. Everyone is watching. Even the Asians in the boat and the hairy person in the lake… Talal and Salavat don’t though: they’re busy running away from a very persistent bee.
We go for a boat ride in the morning, checking out the lake from a different angle. There’s a hotel in the center. It has 87 rooms (I did count them, I read that somewhere). I would like to (at least) have lunch there.
“Lunch with a view”, points out Lia.
We visit a fort. It’s on top of a hill and we split into two Jeeps. Our driver loves to drift, as do we. We are squished against each other, shouting “one more, one more”. Every three minutes or so, we turn back to check if Nick and Giacomo are still in the trunk. Giacomo hasn’t closed the door, he holds it 20% open. We all make it alive.
The fort is probably the best smelling place that I have visited in all of India.
“Take a moment to breath in the clean, fresh, sweat-free, cow-shitless air”
We spend part of the afternoon in a mall. The restrooms are really clean so it’s (very) okay in my book. We split into three groups. Mine has lunch in Subway and it’s probably the first time I feel full in India. The sandwich is as good as the Lebanese branches but the cookie doesn’t stand the comparison. Ours is way, way better. We hang out at the Crosswords bookshop. I find Harper Lee’s new book and Jubran Khalil Jubran’s “Prophet”. I market the latter one and Kira ends up buying it. She read a couple of pages at the bookshop and loved it. As I write this, Ember is reading it in the bus back to Jaipur. Lebanon scores two points today.
I get a notebook as part of my plan to write even more. So far, it’s working. I’m writing on daily basis and that’s something I have never done before. I hope I can keep this up – I have never felt this comfortable. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad one but I realize that I’m no chemical engineer. I’m a writer. I need to be a writer. I’ll figure out a plan to be just that.
Anyway, Kira, Alexandra and I get iced coffee from CCD, which I like better than the Lebanese starbucks. Then when Batoul and Talal get ice cream before we leave the mall, I join them. Coffee ice cream.
Yes, I like coffee and ice.
Udaipur has some pretty narrow streets. I don’t know how fourteen people, cows, dogs, tuk-tuks and motorbikes can all fit but India always finds a way. We visit both sides of the lake. The jive happens on the first side. We watch the sunset on the second one.
They call Udaipur the Venice of the Far-East. I’m sure Giacomo would disapprove but I’m glad we can escape from the heat. Just for a couple of hours.
We missed the Rajahstani Folk show – surprisingly, it actually starts on time. A cow guards the entrance to this side of the lake but she (assuming it’s a she) is not as vicious as yesterday’s
monkey. She lets us pass and then goes to check out parked motorcycles.
Nick finds a good spot to watch the sunset. A bit of climbing is involved but that doesn’t stop us.
Pink and purple. Birds and bats. A well-lit lake and a gondola look-a-like. Probably the finest way to bid farewell to Udaipur.
I think Meead stepped on cow shit on the way back to the bus. I’m not too sure. I just hear her thunder in Malaysian.
A couple of hours before we reach Babylon. Home.