Thali Binge

Two days since we’ve become parents.

Our pups hate it when we leave, and they especially hate it when their doggie senses tell them we’ll be gone for awhile. But as soon as they realized they’re loved, they’ll warm up to their new caretakers pretty quick. LG’s the same: she stuck, she stalled, and she refused to start until she realized she was loved. It took a couple (hundred) kilometers, but she got there.

Life on the road is not as glamorous as the pretty pictures make it out to be. It’s bargaining highway hotel prices, developing a second skin of dust, and taking baby wipe showers. It’s not brushing your teeth because you forgot to bring bottled water, and constant mental bombardment.

Cows, water buffalo, birds, camels, goats, sheep, peacock, monkeys, tomatoes, people doing their business on the side of the road, horns, exhausts, alienating stares, bewildered stares, approving stares, nausea, butt-aches, headaches, frustration, exhaustion, motivation, elation. 

That’s the beauty of a motorcycle. It may not always be rainbows and unicorns, but at least you’re experiencing everything. That’s real traveling.

We stop next to an intricate temple in Bharuch to give our butts a rest. We only plan on standing for a minute or two and cracking on, but the guard motions for us to come inside. Once inside, a herd of people surround us and offer us a look inside the temple even though it is closing. The keeper then offers a brief history, meeting with the saint, and lunch. Not, of course, without a picture with Chris and his ginger hair.

The way to Udaipur is a desert. Everything is a dull green or brown until you see a sari, a truck, or the neon green motorway signs. We have even become dull in color, covered in dust.

In Udaipur, we pop our thali cherry. At Natraj Restaurant, we are the only foreigners despite seeing more foreigners here in an hour than our past week combined. The waiters are all barefoot, and only the manager and guests are wearing shoes. We sit down expecting a menu, but instead, we are greeted with five men all shoveling food onto our plates, each simultaneously telling you what you’ve just been given. Accepting what we have gotten ourselves into, we eat. Until the men come again and give you more. And more.

A thali is essentially a buffet. Each waiter is in charge of a different salad, curry, drink, or sauce. They constantly walk around the restaurant like vultures eyeing for a plate with their designated food empty, and rush over to fill your plate. Never once will you have your main plate, or any of the other six smaller bowls empty. We love it so much we go back for lunch as well.

Udaipur has been beautiful, but the howling wolves and I will have an early night as tomorrow we will be up at dawn.


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