This past weekend the other American interns and myself went of the midterm retreat for our session. For me it is no where near midterm, but the others are here for shorter times than me. Our trip to Udiapur, “The City of Lakes”, was a nice and needed time to relax and enjoy our surrounding in India. Udiapur was a much more of tourist friendly city and more relaxing than Jodhpur. The lack of people and horns crowding the already busy street was slightly mind boggling when walking around Udiapur. Being in Jodhpur, it is quite natural to walk past a cow eating trash that lines the streets while having a car almost run you down while blaring it’s horn right behind you. In Udiapur, however, it was almost like the Disneyland of Rajasthan because the lack of sensory overload was no where to be found, and the city was a lush land of beauty.
While walking around Udiapur, one might see the occasional cow walking or local bathing in the lake, but most of the time it is not nearly as crazy as the rest of the cities in Rajasthan. We even ended up riding swan paddle boats in a large fountain in the center of the city. Now tell me that is normal in India... The city’s Lake Palace was the setting for James Bond’s Octopussy and on a nightly basis, a tourist with a desire to fill their James Bond desire can catch a showing of this movie at a plethera of rooftop restaurants featuring their claim to fame. Tourists can also find a range of stores selling their goods to the doe eyed tourists not knowing what to pay or how to bargain and restaurants feathering mouth watering baked goods that are a treat to find anywhere in India. The oldest German bakery started a fad, in 1966, in Udiapur of selling desired baked goods and strong, fresh coffee to travelers in need of a taste of home. Now though, there are “French” and “German” bakeries all over Old City that try to attract the watering mouths of the Western tourists wondering if they will be satisfied by a piece of cake or a stimulating espresso. I was lured in multiple times by the Edlewiess Bakery and had my fill of pastries and coffee.
Other than the delicous pastries of Udiapur, the sites were amazing to see after leaving my current hometown of Jodhpur which is a flat dry city full of trash and dirt. Although I do not think I will see a fort in India that surpasses the grandeur of the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the city of Udiapur leaves you wishing for a few more days in paradise. While the weather is the same, the city gets an abundance of rainfall during the monsoon season which leaves the lakes full and the trees green for seasons to come. The mountains surrounding the city allow the tourists and locals to see an ariel view of the sparkling city especially at sunrise and sunset. Leaving the city was quite hard, but knowing I would be going back to the room I call home, and the village I have become so fond of, I knew I would be just fine.
Thanksgiving was yesterday and although no one here celebrates the American holiday, the interns and I will be cooking American food today and tomorrow and inviting our host families to enjoy our home country’s holiday. We have to do this on the weekend because we all had to work during the week. I will definitely give some glimpses of the Americans at work...
As for work though, the women are starting to teach me some Hindi words and I am trying to teach myself as well. It is a very difficult language to learn here though because there are no particular ways of spelling the Hindi words in the phonetic alphabet and when the Indians tell you word to learn, it is very difficult to understand and pronounce correctly. This is the most difficult part of being in the village. Not knowing Hindi and trying to be the manager of the center where most of the women know nothing of my language and I know none of their language, definitely has it’s drawbacks.