Monday, January 18th, 2016
There was a lack of punctuality per usual when gathering the crew together to load up the truck. It’s like trying to herd cats! We said our goodbyes to our incredibly hospitable guesthouse hosts, the Rai family. Hopefully we can stay with them again in the not-so-distant future. Today we were traveling to the Ranakpur Jain Temple. Jainism is a more contemporary form of buddhism that was founded around the 6th century.
I tried to take a nap since I was feeling a little sick. India’s air quality hasn’t been too good for me lately. As I dozed off, I was awoken by a toll guy asking Nick to kiss him. I’d rest my eyes some more until we made a pit stop at the gas station where we got to play with a very cute puppy. It made me miss my “fur children” a good deal. As we continued driving, I saw many resorts and mountains which transitioned into desert, and then into forests.
We arrived and ate lunch at the temple canteen before touring the grounds. The vegetarian food was delicious, but we had to avoid getting too carried away. There were ground rules posted on the wall in English asking all of those dining to clean their plates. Wasted food was a no-no. To absolutely no shock to us all, the “Golden Girls” didn’t follow the rules and ended up wasting a lot of their food. Apparently they suddenly lost the ability to speak up, and decided against turning any of the servers down.
We all gathered at the front of the temple to put on our headphones and begin the audio guide for the tour. According to the audio, Jains are not only vegetarian, but they oppose anything and everything that causes harm to animals. Therefore there was no leather or other animal product allowed inside. That was fairly understandable. Carmel was clearly listening to the same part of the audio as I was when we both consecutively laughed out loud after hearing another of the rules. One which I would silently be breaking. Menstruating women weren’t allowed inside the premises either.
The temple architecture was incredibly pretty! The ceiling kinda reminded me of an alien spaceship.
After the tour, I waited for the group to gather outside while watching monkeys wrestling on top of a tour bus. We left shortly afterwards to head to the city of Udaipur, and watched more monkey business when a few of them momentarily blocked the road.
I made another attempt to doze off during the ride. What would wake me up would bewilder everyone on the truck. It was raining! I suddenly realized that during this entire trip, there had not been a single drop of precipitation. It only lasted a couple minutes, but it was still pleasantly remarkable in its own little way.
We giggled when we saw a man riding a scooter with his helmet on backwards. He looked like he came straight out of the movie “Spaceballs“. Go on and Google search images of “Spaceballs trooper” if you don’t know what I’m referring to.
When we arrived in Udaipur, we unloaded our luggage, then had to hop into rickshaws to get to our hotel. We would soon realize why the truck wouldn’t be able to take us there once we began squeezing through the incredibly tight, congested streets.
We were staying at the Jaiwana Haveli, which was quite nice, but had a very confusing layout. We would get lost multiple times making our way back a forth between our room and the lobby. It was a damn labrynth! We were in room 52 and the Aussies were located in room 50, however they were located in two entirely different buildings, on different levels on opposite sides of one another.
After settling in and doing some laundry, we met up with our comrades around 7 pm for dinner. Bennie and Verena had a restaurant in mind that they scoped out online, which went by a weird name “Uprè 1559AD”. They picked a good one! It had cuisine and rooftop views that did not disappoint.
We dined staring at an excellent view of Picchola Lake and Jag Niwas Island. We had some additional entertainment watching below as a man in an inner tube floated around. It was a little dark out, so none of us could decipher if he was doing his laundry or if he was fishing. We ate and drank well as we all shared our frustrations over the changing dynamics, the ugly behavior and how we felt sequestered from the newer members of the group.
After we wandered back to our hotel, we spent some time with Harsh, who helped run the hotel with his family. He and his brother shared their enthusiasm for a movie called “Jodhaa Akbar” which was a historical drama based on Mughal Emperor Akbar. We watched the beginning of it, and Harsh’s brother would pause on occasion to translate and describe what was going on so we could follow the plot line. During the film, we saw several places that we had already visited, which was pretty cool.
Unfortunately, we would have to watch the rest of the film another day. It was getting late and I had just received some unpleasant news from home. Remember the strange unexplainable voice that I had heard during twilight? It was some sort of bad omen. While communicating with the folks back at home, I was saddened to hear that my aunt had finally lost her battle with cancer.
Jump Back to Part 24: Ziplining, Canon Balls & Hearing Voices
Jump Ahead to Part 26: Trance in the Streets, Creeps & Taxes
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Don’t Forget to Pack Your Anxiety