The biggest holiday in India, the Hindu new year, the festival of lights that lasted at least a week culminated (for us) in a pretty bad stomach flu aggravated by hundreds of children in the streets exploding extra-loud firecrackers that reverberated off buildings and tore apart our eardrums. The cacophony started earlier in the week but really got intense last night and is still going as I write the evening after. I understand why people would use colorful fireworks to celebrate a happy occasion. But a whole city pretending to be at war? Oy vey, says my Delhi belly.
Jhodpur, a city in central Rajasthan, is somewhat like the last city we were in called Udaipur. It's flatter, noisier, dustier. But Udaipur was pretty awesome.
It was described in our handy guide book as a cubist painting. A good comparison, I think. The hotels/restaurant around the city compete to have the best view of the lake and surrounding palaces. So over the years the buildings creep upwards, adding geometry to the skyline. It's a funny site seeing all the roof-top restaurant adds claiming "best view in the city."
It was also cool seeing a clan of monkeys jumping across buildings like Spiderman(s).They weren't the first we'd seen though. Tons of monkeys lived in the town of Champaner. And we got a close-up of some angry ones during a hike to Monsoon Palace on the hilly outskirts of Udaipur. I stupidly decided to pick some unripened berries from a tree near the monkeys and stuck my hand out. Out of nowhere the largest of the group - and these things are big! - jumped up on the roadside wall and scared the living crap out of me and Celia. Strangely, it was a smaller female monkey that got territorial and bared her teeth and barked at us.
Celia: Awww, look how cute they are, Danny!
Danny: Yea. I'm gonna feed them.
Monkey: (bares razor-sharp yellow teeth, barks, and swipes claw in menacing fashion)
Celia and Danny: Ahhh!!!
Every time Celia and I see a new animal species we slap each other high-five. Our first cow, donkey, monkey, camel, and elephant. We were strolling along the narrow streets of Udaipur until we reached a strange rundown Indian theme-park-looking thing of some sort. We hiked up the hill past a few non-functional Hindu deity fountains. And then there was an elephant. ???. For Indians this is perfectly normal, but for me seeing a massive elephant on the side of the road is, ya know, an elephant. We went down, made friends with rider, took some pictures. See them in a previous post below.