So we are now in Goa surrounded by palm trees and greenery. We are by Majorde beach which is amazing and have been exceptionally lazy since we got here. Our most strenuous activity so far has been planning a trip to Hampi, at which point I realised we never wrote up one of our earlier trips – our stay in Udaipur.
I had read a lot about how Udaipur has been distorted by tourism, how the centre is stifled with travel agencies and hotels and how fake this all was… However our first impression as we wandered around at dusk was how peaceful and lovely the place was, with music playing and a nice breeze it felt like we were by the med. I then realised this peace was not that of a chilled Indian lakeside community, but was because the area by the lake caters exclusively to tourists and it was off season. Instead of people thronging the streets and night markets we passed by hotels and small touristy shops. We also saw more white people in a ten minute stroll than in our entire previous wanders. It was sad that due to all of this we felt more comfortable and relaxed than in any previous large city! Even hawkers and drivers seemed more chilled – perhaps understanding from experience that most tourists shirk away from those who shout at them!
We had dinner at a hotel with unbelievable views of sunset over the lake and the lake palace hotel. We managed to get the last table outside and had a nice chat with an Australian couple and an America lady. We also had such good chicken tika that we ordered it twice!
The next day charlie nearly abandoned me through sheer boredom as I went on a shopping spree. As he sniffed disprovingly at me spending at a silver shop, a book shop, a bag shop… I kept repeating ‘well I would only buy the same in England at some point for like 500 times more, really I am SAVING money’ (a line I repeated several times in a textiles store in Jaisalmer where after several hours I left with a new best friend, Santosh, and a significantly reduced bank balance..
The weather over these last few days in the north was less good – a fair bit of rain and cloud. Consequently we lost our heads like classic Brits when yesterday in Goa we were blessed with perfect blue skies. We are now both severely burnt. I am not sure what we even did today apart from sleep eat and read. We are in the most lovely place which feels like being on a boutique sleepover. It is a gorgeous renovated Portuguese house with a few guest rooms, run by an ex pat British brother and sister who are very interesting and encourage all guests to meet and chat away and have insisted we take the books we started reading us. We met a very nice guy who works for the British gov doing the accounting for their aid abroad department who is staying here too (and got equally burnt with us).
I recommend to any one ever thinking of visiting the area to stay here (vivenda did palhacos, Goa). It was the upper most end of our budget but was worth it and they have let us stay another night for free since the room was empty! Such lovely people.
We are off to Hampi early tomorrow (mmm 7 hour train ride) and I miss the beach already. Even when it was cloudy today it is so calming to sit and do nothing. Except fend off creepy Indian men who get a kick out of not subtly taking photos of any girl in a bikini… Ah well keeps things interesting!