We weren’t promised we would get to sit. The local train that would take us from Bundi to our rural heritage stay in Byaipur for three hours only guaranteed we would get on the train, not much else. Luckily, we did manage to grab seats, even if they were cramped and situated next to a baby who insisted on trying to gnaw on my book while the mother looked on with amusement.
I had heard that the several hundred year old palace in which we would be staying was supposed to be amazing, two nights of luxury. I had no idea just how nice it would be. The castle, where we would be staying is beautifully preserved. From the cold towels at reception, the giant pool in the massive courtyard,to the the rain showers in our immaculate fully western bathrooms, everything is perfect. Luxury, I had forgotten what it felt like. Outside our rooms, elevated, shaded balconies with cushions and low tables give view of the property and offer an excellent vantage point in which to watch, read, write, or do nothing at all. Which is precisely what I intend to do for the next 36 hours. That, and celebrate the birthday of one of the girls on the trip, well timed on her part to be at such a beautiful place.
The food here has been, thus far better then normal. I know northern India is less known for the cuisine, but I was still excited to try absolutely as much as possible. At first I was struggling a bit because despite my pleas for spicy renditions most of the kitchens have seen my skin color as a sure sign I must not like spicy food. No matter what I told them, no spicy food would come. Given that I use red pepper flakes and rooster sauce as freely as say, salt, this has been a highly obnoxious occurrence. Eventually I had to ask Ravi to communicate for me that indeed, I could handle spice. One night as we ordered he told the waiter, that I was serious about my request. Though they weren’t speaking english and had a good laugh about it, the point was made and I was granted the best meal to date, complete with nose-running, sweaty, delicious spice. I loved it. And ever since he’s taken a specific interest in assuring I get my spice fix, occasionally ordering things for me to try that he thinks I’ll like. I’ve decided he either thinks I’m super high maintenance with my food, or enjoys that a tourist is really interested in diving into the local cuisine. Given that 80% of our group has been subsisting on rice they push around their plates whilst complaining about the food, I would be inclined to think the later, but really, it could be either. I am a bit disappointed many of my fellow travelers are so picky, given how much joy I get from exploring a new culture’s cuisine, especially with others. Though I can’t help their tastes, and a few have been nearly the same level of adventurous eating, it is a bit less exciting when I’m usually one of the only ones to be eating something aside from rice and naan (not that there’s anything wrong with naan!). Though if this is my biggest complaint of my fellow travelers, who are all great, I count myself lucky.