Leaving Jaipur, we headed out into the veritable wilderness. Not a soul on our bus spoke enough English to communicate more than the standard greetings. It was a lovely change to have people just help, rather than try to get something from us. We had no idea where this wee village was and when the conductor motioned for us to get off, I was a little sceptical about his knowledge of our destination. But ushered of the bus we were, with the help of those wanting our seats, and we made our way towards the nearest collection of men. An older chap came to our aid and pointed us down the road. The only road it turned out. Our enquiry about a taxi received the standard head-wobbly-shaking response. We figured this meant "no joy chum". So off we toddled in the searing heat. I mistakenly believing that there were at least a couple of hotels to choose from. Turns out there's only one. The Samode Palace. Which as the name suggests, is not cheap.
Anyhoo, we trundled up the drive way thingy and through the gate. Ginormous ruddy thing with the obligatory spikey door. But the security guard who showed us through gave us a smile (almost hidden behind his superb handle bar moustache) and a bow. For a moment I was shot back to my time in Ol' Nippon when this was a regular occurence. Boy we got some stares though. Can you imagine? This opulent palace place, where all the staff are in spick 'n span uniforms, speaking in very polite tones, used to people turning up in cars or buses, and seeing us walking with backpacks not suitcases to reception. I think they thought we were lost. However they got over their initial shock and confusion with quite admirable speed, and offered us seats and a cool towel and refreshing drink.
Once they realised we were here to stay, they sorted us out, showed us to our room and explained all the amenities. As we are a couple of water rats and it was stinking hot, the only thing we were concerned with was the pool. Oh and what a pool. Just the right temperature, just the right length, just perfect. Our toilet window overlooked it if you peered out at just the right angle. A loo with a view- who woulda thunk it?
The only place to eat in the wee village, was the palace. The only place to drink, was the palace. So to dinner it was, in our best shorts and t-shirts with jandals (flipflops) to spiffy it up. Well we were in a palace, an effort had to be made!
The next morning saw us up the nearby hill to get a peek at the local fort. It was closed. It was hot. It was swim time. A day spent by the pool, in the sauna, in the pool, in the jacuzzi, looking at the gym equipment and back to the pool.
This holiday life is tough...