So we landed in Delhi and stayed in a hostel on the edge of Old Delhi when it was raining and muddy everywhere. From there we went to Agra and endured food-poisoning. Afterwards we headed north to Amritsar. On the train 3 Sikh men with turbans and daggers at their side charged at me and encircled me with my back to an open train door as the landscape whizzed past at 60 kmh. (Is this what I get for smoking a cigarette on a train?) Ultimately, they only wanted to meet me and say hello, but I was terrified and sure that they were going to throw me from the train. We camped in the dessert and rode camels and then made our way to Udaipur after a series of overnight buses. All I wanted at this point was some sort of simple pleasure. Julie noticed a sign that said “best cappuccino in town.” I had already made up my mind that it was another scam and more than likely it would be Nescafe with spoiled milk when I heard an espresso grinder whirring and had hope. The cappuccino arrived and there was a heart free-poured on top. I was in shock; it was really good. A Greek woman, Meropi, had moved here and opened a cafe. This gave me courage to look a little deeper into the city. I didn’t have to look further than across the street. There are lots of repeated souvenirs you can gather here for friends, but all very duplicative. If you take the time to go into some of the shops you’ll find a lot of them do original works of art that are impressive to say the least. Most shopkeepers are hesitant to allow photos to be taken due to concern of someone copying them.
I did however meet one man who had art work of his own and his two son’s who had been doing amazing work and trying to keep it secret from the locals (approximate location). Everywhere in India you should bargain before purchasing, but this work is worth whatever price tag it has. Mind you he still keeps tourist-fare up on display to pay the bills, but if you ask further you’ll be surprised. Throughout the city there are people carving marble figures street-side and also surprisingly some more modern graffiti. There’s a lot of art going on in this town even though it is best known for being the setting of the James Bond flick “Octopussy.”