I woke up, and Mike played the Beatles Birthday song for me as we got ready.
We met up in the morning to go on the tour of the Udaipur City Palace. It was another of the audio tours, where you get a headset and push the numbers for each stop, and it will play the information for you.
The City Palace and Museum were quite nice, and the views were great, and there were many things to look at inside, and to listen to on the tour.
It was a VERY popular spot. There were huge groups of people going on tours, and many tour guides, or people who thought they were tour guides yelling all over the place. It also involved going in and out of small rooms and tiny corridors and stairways. Soon, I became claustrophobic, and we tried to get out as soon as we could – which wasn’t very quickly. We listened to the info for the stops as we stood waiting in long lines to get out of the stairwells.
After the City Palace Adventure, we got to go on a boat ride out on Lake Pichola. It was nice – we got to see lots of the city from the water side.
They took us to an island where there was a Hotel or Resort, and we had some (expensive!) drinks while we waited for the next boat to take us back. It was lovely, though, and my ginger ale was really good. The gardens on the island were really pretty, and there were many elephant statues to photograph.
After the boat ride, we walked back to the hotel. We met up with the drivers and Mary and Sandy, and we went out to a park with fountains.
There were many beautiful plants and trees – and we saw some mongoose – mongeese? – They look like crazy ferrets with orange eyes crossed with otters of something. Really cute!
We stopped by a gem store after the fountains, and looked at the jewelry and things. There were some beautiful things, but I am not so much into jewelry, so I didn’t get anything there. We went back to the hotel to get ready to go to dinner – we were all going to go out to dinner together – finally, the drivers agreed to go, too. We set 7 for the meeting time. Around 6:35, Sandy knocked on the door and said to meet them on the roof. Mike was in the shower. Then they knocked again, so we finished getting ready and went up to the roof.
It was such a surprise! Hukam had went out and got a cake for me, and a birthday hat! It was so awesome – what a sweet gesture, no pun intended! They all sang happy birthday, and I cut the cake and we all got a piece, with four left over for the various workers. The cake was light and fluffy and delicious and chocolaty with yellow banana flavored sprinkles. The ladies were saying that they couldn’t find cake anywhere on the menus, so everyone was so happy to have it. We ate our dessert first, then went out to dinner. Sandy and Mary gave me this nice tote bag with peacocks on it (then they apologized for telling me earlier on how they had found these wonderful bags for 40 rupees – I told them it was the thought that counts, and that I loved it!). We got to ride in the auto-rickshaw, the toot-toot, as Mary calls them, and the boys went in one, girls in another. Mary and Sandy squeezed in, and I half sat on the seat. I told them that if I lost my arm, I would really remember that birthday. I tried to film the ride – it really was quite crazy, zipping around in a little open cart, inches from cows and cars and walls…
We arrived at the restaurant Ambrai – “A Paradise by the lake”. Ambrai means ‘mango tree’. We had a great meal together. We all had something to drink – I had a “Magic Moon”, and ordered something with “akra” – ladyfingers. I thought of little cookie things – they are actually okra. Akra = Okra.
There were fireworks over the lake as we had our dinner. It was a magical night! I was happy to share the day of my birth celebration with new friends – even if I do miss my friends and family back home.
After dinner, and another round of drinks for the guys, Mike picked up the birthday bill – much to everyone’s happy surprise – and we rode the rickshaws back to the hotel. Hukam called up his boss, and even he wished me a happy birthday. Mike and I went back up to our room and listened to the Beatles, and went to bed – after a long, wonderful Birthday day in India!
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