Spent the last few days just outside of a little town called Bundi. Kipling wrote the jungle book there. I am a literature groupie (I'd do unspeakable things with Hemingway if he were still alive) AND it looked like a nice break from the frantic pace of the other, more colorful, cities of Rajasthan we've been spending time in. Bundi was a no brainer.
We've all three been sniffly and a little lethargic with head colds (I held out the longest but when you're spending this much time with another person, you're not avoiding their illness). A day spent lounging on the impeccably kept grounds of the resort reading and watching parakeets play on the still water of the lake, misty hills in the distance, was just what I needed.
Walking back from dinner on the lake yesterday through Bundi's mostly deserted streets we saw a whole group of foreigners hanging out on the steps of a tiny chai shop and decided to drop in. We ordered masala chais and watched the fresh spices get pounded out and the expert pouring from goblet to cup and back again go on while sitting in the most eclectic and graffitied space. We chatted for a while with a group of older Australians very versed in Indian travel, sipped the perfect spiced blend, and listened to the proprietor sing along to his drum beat. Lovely way to end the day, watching the cows and dogs and pigs of Bundi wander by the steps.
Kicking my hells against the crumbling outer wall of the palace, watching kites fly above the city of Bundi far below. Paper kites are all the rage with kids here, I haven't seen a city scape yet in India not dotted with brightly colored paper squares.
I just had a lovely little chat with a 12 year old practicing her English. Her family is from Bundi and they just got back from a trip to Delhi. Her goodbye was "you are most welcome in Bundi and a very sweet person". How damn cute is that for a pre-teen to say?
You run into so many people trying to sell you things or trick you out of rupees here that it's such a treat to talk to someone who only wants to ask a couple questions about the US and share a bit about their city. The historical sites are impressive, but the chance to get a feel for a different city will forever be my favorite part of traveling.