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Day Sixteen - Exhausting

sunny

Our desire for some luxury and more accurately, respite, had become increasingly focused on Udaipur. In fact Udaipur had become the line on the horizon.

To that end Emma had scouted a proper Conde Nast abode and had managed to get a whopping discount with some coy negotiating. That all changed though when we found that it was located twenty minutes away from the town; that had been a crucial game changer.

Laura and Emma combined to sift through the guide books and websites and came up with a new favourite. The Amet Haveli; an old haveli (romantic balconied building) sat at the edge of Lake Pichola. We could get lakeside views in the lap of luxury. We'd be in the town within walking distance to all we could desire. We were sold. We'd be there by lunch.

If only for Tony. Our tigers growl had been getting louder and we had already sheared one of the flange bolts meaning his exhaust wasn't as securely attached as it could be. Further more the main support bolt had taken some time out when it fell off further south. With the fear that we may shear the second bolt I'd been reluctant to over-tighten it. As we crossed into Rajasthan and left Gujarat behind Tony began to roar. Two minutes later Al and I were under the back end tightening the one remaining bolt, creating a gaffer tape sling to support the exhaust and taping over a crack that had formed in what looked like an exhaust recirculation/turno (surely not?) pipe. Al also had some magic putty that 'fixes almost anything' that was out to good use locking our nuts in place and trying to replace a support bolt. Half an hour later, we were off. Now this seems like it was easy, but in fact most of our time had been spent deflecting the attention of a rambunctious lorry driver who spoke not a word of english, didn't seem to know what was going on and was more than happy to chew tobacco whilst smoking it, stood over Al and I and shouting words in the heat of the late morning sun. I could feel my patience wearing.

Repairs in place we set off up the hill. Five hundred metres later Tony roared as his exhaust fell off and began to drag behind him. We pulled over like elderly day trippers picnicking on the A1 and had another look. For all its wonderful properties duct tape does not resist heat very well and my nervous nut tightening hadn't done the job either. We were short on cable ties too and what we wanted was wire. That was when Emma suggested we re-appropriate our spare gear cables into the wire we so needed. An hour later we had tightened our one nut and double nutted it after finding Al and Emma had two double nuts on their exhaust. (If we ever did this again it would be a lot easier knowing the pitfalls of the auto-rickshaw!) we slung the exhaust at four different spots and Al made a new gasket of sorts out of the magic putty to provide a throat lozenge to Tony's ragged roar. We had a lunch of melon, mango and Tiger biscuits before setting off for the third time. One hundred and fifty kilometres to the romance of Udaipur. Pasha was flying, Tony needed TLC.

We wormed our way around the tight streets of Udaipur single track alleyways between old buildings lined with street sellers either side. Google maps once more our magical path finder. Eventually we pulled into Amet Havelli, it was stunning. We had booked a 'luxury' room but were told on arrival that we would be in one room the first night and another the second which seemed like quite an inconvenience given the circumstances. Somers got stuck in and negotiated a discount just before we stepped into our suite. The long and short of it was that we had been upgraded to the master suite as there were no lake view rooms left. It was magnificent. Stained glass and stone carvings, marble throughout and fine furniture; a living room too. The veranda looked out across the lake to the floating palace and we had the roof top terrace to ourselves. Life was sweet again.

We nipped down to the terrace and ate and drank as the waters lapped so close to our feet. The view was sublime; lake, floating palace, current grand palace of the Maharajah as a main feature in golden stone with a back drop of mountains and a sun beginning to sink. As we finished our very late lunch we took pitchers of ice and sugar syrup and went up to the roof. We moved some chairs upstairs and we drank makeshift Old Fashioned's as the sun set through our bottle of bourbon. As far as sundowners go, I've had few better. As the sun disappeared in front of us the moon rose behind. I felt lucky to be this alive.

We went for an evening stroll and Al fancied a massage and within minutes he had tee'd up four simultaneous massages booked in for 9:30 that evening!

It was a little before eight which allowed us time to explore. Laura spotted a painting of a tiger in the window of a gallery. He was a stunner and obviously pulled on strings given Laura's design work for Tony. Tentative enquiries were made, but in fear of the bourbon making decisions she decided to sleep on it.

9:30 arrived. We split into respective couples and were sent to different massage parlours. We were about to discover what happens when you offer exorbitant amounts of money for services at silly times of day. Based on post-massage accounts we estimate that out of the four people massaging there was one trained masseuse, one trainee masseuse and two people too intelligent to turn down the money by suggesting they couldn't fill the role of masseuse for half an hour. And it was only legs and feet anyway. Laura got the main man, and said it was a grand job. I had a toe puller which meant I felt hard done by until Emma told me about her grunting hulk of a woman who poked her like a child with a jelly fish and made moose sounds whilst doing it. Al had the trainee and seemed borderline content; he'd probably been distracted by Emma's oomph's and argh's instead of ooh's and ah's.

Fully, partially or wrongly manipulated, we retired, not out.

Posted by ibeamish 12:48 Archived in India

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