The drugs work, after some very simple breakfast we decided to be brave and leave the hotel. We had only intended on doing one thing today to ease back into the sightseeing and adventuring gently. We thought that a nice boat ride around Lake Pichola would be ideal, sitting down, in the shade and only an hour; so if we felt ill afterwards we could just go back to our room. It turned out though that the boats left from within the City Palace complex, and feeling a lot better we decided to buy the tickets for the palace and museums while we were there.
The museum was amazing, and each part was decorated in the style from when it had been built, so you literally walked through the Palace’s history from the ornate 1500s to the more modern British Imperial ‘influenced’ years. We took far too many pictures but if you get a chance to look through them on flickr (clicking the photo link above), there are some amazing designs.
We took a gentle, beautiful walk through the palace gardens, pointed in the right direction by guard after guard, zigzagging our way down and down, further away from the buildings. I did think that we had been sent the wrong way for a moment, but sure enough, hidden away near to the reception for the Lake Palace Hotel, was our little boat. It’s strange being in a small city, and we keep bumping into the same people from our train, from our hotel, from the cafe down the road. I guess that normally we wouldn’t notice the faces in crowds, but we are so definitely the minority here. I had the slightly odd experience of being photographed (and for a little while followed), by two Indian guys when we were in Jaipur. It was something I had read about before coming, but didn’t expect to actually happen so openly. It was definitely not intended to be a creepy thing, more a curiosity. I guess my super pale skin and red hair is a little bit of a novelty here.
Anyway, on our little boat we had about three couples that we had already seen around, although we all kind of kept to ourselves. A lot of the other traveller’s haven’t been particularly chatty, but I guess we haven’t been giving off the best, healthiest or sociable vibes! The view from the boat was amazing, and again, we took a lot of photos, including a video of the temple across from our hotel, where a load of boys were playing and jumping into the water.
We ended up at Jagmandir Island, just as the wind started to pick up. It was stormy and atmospheric and we were loving the breeze after a day of sticky hotness. We climbed up to the top of a view point and took some long arm shots, and then Rob managed to steal the camera and tried to get pictures of me fighting against the wind with my skirt and scarf. Typical. We were meant to have 25 minutes there, but as most of the island was taken up by a hotel there was not much to do unless we wanted a really expensive coffee. We took our photos and headed back to the boat as it began to spit with rain.
The spitting quickly turned into a torrential downpour, making it impossible for us to see any further than the stone crocodiles on the dock, and quickly filling up the little boat with water. Rob managed to get a video before it got too bad, but we’ve not been able to upload it yet, the internet is unpredictable. Then we got everything into our drybags (a very good buy) and tried to stay in the middle of the boat, lifejackets on while the staff and a couple of passengers managed to get the sides (like a tent) of the boat down, which helped a bit. The driver then began scooping water out of the bottom with a children’s bucket while thunder and lightning bounced off of the hills around us.
Like all monsoon storms we’ve experienced, it didn’t last long and we were able to set off once the boat was no longer taking in water. We did however leave most of the passengers on the island to be collected later, as they were still sheltering in the cafe. By the time we got back to shore the storm had almost blown over and was pretty similar to a summer’s day in the uk, so we happily walked and splashed our way back to the hotel, for a relaxing afternoon of reading and people watching in the terrace upstairs.
Our telephone just rang, which was a bit of a surprise. We don’t have a phone with us and have become used to being without very quickly. It was the loveliest manager from downstairs, ringing to check that we were feeling better and didn’t need a doctor. We assured him that the medicine is working, and then he offered us a smaller room to use tomorrow after we have checked out so that we can rest and shower if we need to before our night train to Agra. We have been so blown away by the kindness here, will have to make sure I write them an amazing tripadvisor review!
Right, longest post ever – not sure how I managed that, but well done if you read it all! Thanks for all the well wishes, we really are feeling massively better after a couple of doses of antibiotics, and hopefully have rested enough to last in the far scarier (from what we’ve heard from other traveller’s) Agra!