Today was a much better day for my relationship with India.
We are currently in the town of Udaipur. With a tiny population of only half a million, Udaipur has a small town feel…by Indian standards, anway. It sits alongside a gorgeous lake and the buildings are well maintained and clean, unlike New Delhi. The pollution is so much better here and it was actually warm enough for shorts today, so it was bound to be an improvement from our experiences 2 days ago!
However, the biggiest differentiating factor was neither weather nor pollution related. As is so often the case, our attitudes made all the difference. Today, instead of lamenting over the price we paid for our tour, and complaining about the cost of every attraction, we walked around absorbing local art and the winding streets of Udaipur. We stopped in little shops and spoke to artists and even took a time out from the crowds to enjoy some coffees at a cafe. It gave me time to write in my journal, which is excellent therapy in of itself.
Of course, we weren’t able to escape all of the unpleasant aspects of India. Poverty is aparent here too and we saw far too many skinny dogs on the streets. And, as was the case in Jaipur and Delhi, we were always given very inflated prices at the shops. The difference today, however, was that we weren’t afraid to bargain hard. We purchased a beautiful painting and got it for less than half the price he originally asked.
Of course, on the other hand, there is also enormous wealth in this city, as is obvious when you see the hotels in the area…
After days of sight seeing, we decided to skip the city palace (which, we were later told, was a good idea!). At this point, we’ve seen palaces in several countries and I saw enough Hindu temples in Cambodia to last me a lifetime. Instead of spending our money on those sites, we took a sunset cruise which provided me with infinite opportunities for photographing the beautiful city.
Tomorrow we head to a small, sleepy little city named Pushkar. I’m excited to see it; we’ve heard from several other tourists that it’s a quiet little place, with set prices and friendly people.