Trompe le Monde: A Round the World Tour Diary

An online travel diary so people can keep up to date with what I'm doing and where I'm going.

Location: Home, United Kingdom

You all know who I am, I assume.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Udaipur, Octopussy, Illness

And so our journey took us onward to Udaipur, one of Rajasthan's most romantic cities according to Lonely Planet, due to the large Lake Pichola, ringed by hills and set with beautiful (and expensive) island hotels. In theory, anyway.

In practice, this year's extremely dry monsoon has left the lake almost completely dried up. The very-exclusive hotel, at which one can normally only get dinner at if one pays for it before one even gets on the boat, can now be reached on foot. Though I doubt we'd be allowed in...

Udaipur's romantic locations have seen better days, therefore, most notably (crashingly ignorant statement coming up) when used as locations in the Bond movie 'Octopussy'. No less than three of Udaipur's impressive palace/hotels were used in this piece of cinematic history. And, brilliantly, this leads most of the budget restaurants in Udaipur to show Octopussy on video cd every night at seven o'clock.

So, two days ago, we set off at about half six, looking for such a restaurant. Since pretty much all cheap Indian restaurants seem to be much of a muchness (or at least you can't tell what they'll be like from the outside, and Lonely Planet isn't much help on this front), we just went in to the first place we'd found. But oh dear, just our luck, it was run by India's answer to the Chuckle brothers.

Firstly they tried to 'plug' the TV in to the socket in the wall. Except that the plug in question didn't actually have a plug - it was just the stripped end of the wire. So with some tension I watched a man trying to feed wires in to a live socket with his bare hands. Somehow he didn't kill himself, and they got the TV to work, only to have to send 'a boy' off to get a video cd player and the film. It turned out that it was the first night they'd put the sign up, and we were (yippee!) their first customers (whether for Octopussy, or ever, was not clear).

Still, the food was very nice, surprisingly, seeing as it was being cooked by utter buffoons. As the evening rolled on, the video cd player arrived, along with the films, but unfortunately in checking to see if it worked, they broke it. We were assured that they would fix it and that we could go back the next day "at any time" and watch the film, however.

We left, too bemused and amused to be really angry. Since it was only 8 o'clock, we went to a Travel Guide endorsed German Bakery attached to a nearby hotel for some chocolate cake. And lo and behold, said hotel also had a policy of showing Octopussy! Since they hadn't started showing it yet, and the restaurant was almost entirely deserted, could we watch it? "No - it's too late, sir". Too late? Are you having a laugh? It's 8 o'clock! You're a restaurant! You don't close until 11 o'clock! Just how long is this film? But the chocolate cake was great, so again we left, more disappointed than angry.

However, the Chuckle brothers hadn't finished yet. The next morning I awoke feeling like the proverbial fat sack of cack. A particularly virulent dose of food poisoning confined me to bed for the whole day, feeling awful the entire time. Towards evening, though, I started feeling a little better (well, I stopped dry heaving my guts up), and decided to go out for dinner.

This time we took no chances. We went to the place that was directly opposite our hotel. And praise be, we watched Octopussy. And indeed it was glorious.

I don't think I'll ever again be so excited or persistent about watching a Bond film.

PS - Today (the day after) I feel much better, in case you were worried.


Blogger Shall said...

glad you feel better! If you ever have time to catch the train to Bhagalpur let me know. My parents are in my dad's viallag,e it's a really fun place to go and look around and wander round the paddy fiels and the mango groves and such

byeeeeee Shall x

October 31, 2004 at 5:30 AM  
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