Today we decided it is time to ship more souvenirs but for a moment forgot and were quickly reminded that trying to ship something in India is NOT simple at all!!! First we asked the hotel for a box and of course multiple workers were involved in this process on finding us a box. We then had to get it wrapped and sewed closed. We hired a tuk tuk for the day so he took us to the guy that sews packages and he wasn’t there so he yelled up to his balcony to woke him up, he quickly came down to open his shop and sew up our package.
We had breakfast as he did this, so we just hope the insides of the box are still the same and he didn’t replace them with cheap pashminas. Our tuk tuk driver then drove us to the post office where they refuse to mail parcels because apparently the season to send parcels is over, but he said there is another post office we can go to, but it didn’t open for an hour…so in the meantime he took us to a few different sites.
He was a really nice guy and explained everything. He took us and even gave us a tour of the market we stopped at.
He dropped us off at two different gardens (we still don’t know why). They were very peaceful and one had a very nice view of the lake. There are five different lakes in Udaipur so we got to see different lakes from the various view points he stopped during the tour.
We then went to the other post office and they also don’t deliver packages. We don’t understand!! So the driver said people usually send stuff privately through shops and if we wanted we could send it that way. Our next few stops were tourist traps. He took us to one pashima shop and we didn’t cave, they gave us a demonstration of block printing, basically this is the technique they use to make all the cheap clothes they sell to tourists.
But then he took us to a school and shop for the mini paintings. Supposedly he is a student at this place and he even called this guy his master. They demonstrated how they do the paintings, how they get the natural color and some techniques used. Eitan should never be allowed in one of these stores because yes we bought another painting!
They then tried to help us with shipping the package but their price was worth more than all the souvenirs inside so we decided to keep this box with us longer until Mumbai where they may have a post office that lets us ship a box! (there is hope!); I think this is good as we really do not trust a random guy to take the package to the post office for us, at the end of the day this is India and our trust has being replaced with paranoia since day one.
We then went to the monsoon palace, you might recognize this place if you have seen the James Bond movie Octopussy, which was filmed up here (as the residence of Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince) and in other places around Udaipur. The palace is up on a big mountain so they stop your car at the bottom gate and force you to buy a “government official” ride up in another car. The palace itself was very run down but the view of the Fateh Sagar Lake was amazing!! Sarah attempted to eat some Indian snacks while up there but quickly learned that you shouldn’t try and snack near monkeys as one heard her opening a wrapper and instantly hurried to grab a treat but Sarah escaped just in time! The monkey then took our water bottle hostage as revenge (he finally released the water after Eitan showed him who is the alpha monkey here).
The palace offers a panoramic view of the city’s lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside. It was built chiefly to watch the monsoon clouds; hence, appropriately, it is popularly known as Monsoon Palace. It is said that the Maharana built it at the top of the hill to get a view of his ancestral home, Chittaurgarh.
We then waited for the car to take us down. And after waiting about 30 minutes we realized they have no system or timing for when they pick up the people they dropped off. Luckily we had our tuk tuk drivers number so we called him and he asked them to send up a car for us and finally someone appeared after 45 min of waiting. We asked the driver if there was somewhere we could buy wine. Wine is very hard to find here because Hindu and Muslim (2 largest religions in India) do not drink alcohol! He took us to one of the small little shops they have here called Beer and English Wine and we bought a bottle of Indian red wine for about $13 which we enjoyed drinking in our room watching a low budget Indian zombie movie. The wine was better than we expected considering that we didn’t even knew India produces wine.
We did some more shopping and Sarah wanted these pants but they were too long, so the guy at the store walked us over to the local tailor who shortened the pants. They still didn’t fit right so we didn’t even have to buy them!
We enjoyed another relaxing rooftop meal and walked around the town for a bit longer but forced ourselves to return to the room before we continued to buy even more souvenirs! It began to drizzle slightly and it seemed as though locals were celebrating to have their first rain. But we were tired and we have no rain god to pray to, so we went to sleep.
This is the monsoon palace at sunset… Majestic!
Bonus Pic Of The Day: Every product has the price MRP (Maximum retail price) printed on it. This is a great thing as it prevents abusing (specially to tourists). A few rupees extra I can understand, but it is very difficult to someone to try to charge you a lot more if you point at the real price printed on the bottle.