. Our hearts had sunk seeing the long queue as we arrived but it was at this point that being western and paying three times as much we were fast tracked Disney style to the front. The doctor checked him over and felt it was an allergy to food or something and to carry on with the homeopathic tablets and not to worry. However for full peace of mind he suggested a blood test. It was then that the cost of the fast track service came to weigh heavier. Previously poor Ady had also had to have a blood, urine and chest x-ray in Jaipur for a total cost 400 rupees. We were now being asked to pay 2100 just for a blood test. "That’s robbery!" I said to the receptionist, “That’s the price” was the intimated visual reply. “What do locals pay then?” No understanding of English and so the decision was taken to wait another half a day and see how Ady felt. As with all kids when we pushed further with our questions, his head was a bit better, the itching had subsided, tummy pains had lessened. I think it was his logical response in order to avoid the syringe to take blood hat had previously struggled a bit to find a vein! Thankfully after a couple of days rested, Ady was much better and back to his cheeky chappie self!
After having seen so many spectacular forts and palaces, the City Palace is somewhat of a disappointment. Again half had been converted to a luxury, and out of bounds hotel, to enable a good income for the Maharajah, but the rest was only slightly interesting and rather plain and tatty.
We did however find a hotels cafe that served proper coffee and more interestingly had a resident palmist. Well this time the boys decided to do some retail work and we both sat there for a reading.
Aidan went first and the guy was very good. His hands were studied carefully with everything noted down and he proceeded to give a very accurate description of Aidan’s temperament, traits and habits. Ady has been talking recently about wanting to be an Architect and blow me out of nowhere the guy says that he will work in construction or real estate. He will marry late and have a boy and a girl (Ady very chuffed) he will become independent around 24 and have very good luck because he has small chunky hands with squat chunky fingers! His lucky number is 9 and he should avoid xxxxx. Obviously for a young boy it was very general but all great fun whether you put any stall in it or not.
For my reading he was uncannily accurate in my personality and also working style. It may be a shock to some of you but I am traditionally at the front of the sceptic queue on these things but when he said that a big change happened in 1989( I joined Peugeot) and I had worked for the same company for over 15 years, I started to wonder what else he would say. I had tried to be very abstract and not say much at all but he did come out with some very interesting statements that uncannily had some relevance. These were that we had lived in three countries (true; UK, France, Argentina), owned two houses (yup), 2003 to 2006 were some of my best times at work (yes siree, Argentina), 2007 and 2008 were very very hard (check yes for personal and work life), after Dec 2008 a new start when I went to Paris, that I would be changing job next year and thinking about it from April with decisions made by end August, probably consultancy and co-ordination (hadn’t told him I had jacked it in already!)
. So he definitely had our attention now which obviously led us to the big question on my future! Now he would probably have lost some credibility if he had said that the bed of roses was waiting for us all to jump into, that was not the case. However he said that we would be living south west of England in the future, sell one then own another house, chance to get money from April 2010 and into 2011 (thank god!). Only bummer was that I would work until I was 73! He probably saw the look on mine and Liz’s face and explained that it could also be charity or voluntary type work!
So, all in all not bad at all, staggeringly accurate enough to even raise my eyebrows and a decent enough future, so cheers fella, I’ll take that! His answer to Isobel’s question out of nowhere that wanted to know if I would marry again (don’t ask us!) was handled like a true pro by saying that the perfect family in front of him did not need a response.
Shopping in the bazaar provided another great moment. As we walked past a shop displaying hundreds of traditional shoes, a man cried out to us to come in and buy. Looking at Liz’s feet he squealed “ Hey Lady come and buy my sandals, best quality and we can even make big sandals for big feet!”
Udaipur was the first place where the rat population was not content to remain hidden at night, I guess due to the lake but we saw these creatures on a regular occurrence. Best was when Issy was walking from the hotel, she absent mindedly stepped on a tail. “Issy” I screamed, “You have just stood on and killed a rat!” as she looked down aghast. The little fella was there lying on it’s back doing a sort of dying fly impression. She struggled to calm down even with my reassurances that it was in fact already dead and she had hardly touched its tail! I was known as mean Dad for a couple of days!
Udaipur is known as the Lake City, not surprisingly as it sits on the banks of Lake Picholo with the publicity slant that it is India's most romantic city and it certainly has an element of charm. However, aside from the picturesque Lake Palace Hotel and Jag Mandir which sit on islands in the lake and the interesting lakeside skyline, we were not entirely wooed by it. Perhaps it was due to the fact that when we got there, Aidan had burst out in a complete body rash looking not unlike measles. He had started itching in Jodhpur showing a few spots and after a visit to a Homeopathic Doctor there, we had started on a course of natural tablets to treat what was probably an allergic reaction. In Udaipur however Liz and I exchanged nervous glances as even his eye lids were speckled red. We were aware that homeopathic medicine takes a while to kick in and often brings the ailment to the surface but wanted to check out that it wasn’t worse than we had thought as he had started to complain of eye headaches and stomach pain. A quick rickshaw to a local private hospital and in no time we were in an office with a doctor