After 12 long days in Pushkar it was time to be in a different part of India and see some new faces. We walked out of our hotel headed for Udaipur and almost the first fresh faces we saw were a friendly German-Italian couple heading the same direction as us. We teamed up with them to negotiate a good price for a taxi ride to the train station. It was a good opportunity for us to practice our bargaining skills (which we generally don’t enjoy doing) under the guidance of some seasoned pros. Upon arriving to the train we found out that the four of us had been assigned to the same rail car, and after finding our seats happily noticed that we were seated quite near each other. While on the train a little old lady sitting next to us tore off large portions of her deep fried bread stuffed with a salty seed mix, apparently a delicacy of the area she was from, and insisted we take them. Reluctantly but gratefully we ate our oily rations under her attentive gaze, wondering if we’d later get sick from eating food that had been so thoroughly handled by some old lady’s henna covered hands. We didn’t.We spent three days in the city whose claim to fame (among other more important historical events, probably) is that parts of the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy were filmed there, including our favorite scene where James travels discreetly in his alligator submarine to visit the film’s antagonist and namesake, Octopussy at her floating palace inhabited exclusively by sexy ladies.
Enjoying one another’s company so thoroughly, we met up with our Italian and German friends every day to share meals and conversations. To celebrate Austin’s birthday David booked a room at a fancy hotel right on Pichola Lake. Our room even had an enclosed balcony of sorts that jutted out just above the water level, where we lounged and watched films and pretended to be wealthy. The room cost almost ten times what we’d normally pay for a totally acceptable room in India, but at only $50 a night was a very reasonable splurge and included a lovely breakfast overlooking the famous Lake Palace.
It was at this point that we got in touch with a previous contact in Dharamsala and started making plans to head north to the place affectionately called “Little Tibet.”