Room service breakfast then a walk into town via the hill where all the old British buildings are, including the museum like Connaught Hotel.Went past a nice old church and the top secret HQ of Intelligence. Found the State Bank but left because they were obviously scamming on the exchange rates, then to an Internet cafe to check Aidan’s HSC results. Walked down to the lake side and got yummy vegetarian pizzas from US Pizza. They even have special Jain pizzas! Ate our pizzas in a sunny little park, then walked up to Toad Rock, which only looks like a toad from one part of the lake, on the opposite side.
Walked down the hill and continued around the lake, nice views as long as you don’t look too closely at the water. Sat for a while at the prominent Mother India statue, watching the villagers on holiday. Looked around the shops for a while and bought a really cute picture made from wire at Chacha’s Museum, a nice old emporium with very reasonable prices. Had a very delicious dinner at the Hollywood Bollywood restaurant in the Hotel Samrat, perhaps the best food so far.
Next morning headed off with our driver for our grand tour of Mount Abu. Freezing cold at 9.30am. We piled into our little Tata taxi to visit the drab giant lingam temple, then off to Ganesh Point for great views. Then went to the Om Shanti Bhavan, which had nothing to do with the movie, but was in fact the great hall of the creepy Brahma Kumari movement. Had a lecture from a brainwashed guide before getting out as quickly as possible. Next was the Adhar Devi temple, up lots of stairs. You visit the goddess through a gap in the rock, but note that she cannot tolerate anything digital. The highlight came next in the Jain Dilwara temple complex. All beautifully carved, pity you can’t take pictures thereas its difficult to describe them. The first was the most impressive. Lunch at the Abudra restaurant, had a nice Rajasthani thali here, very spicy and served with batte, tooth breaking bread rolls (perhaps where the word butty comes from?). Off to another temple which apparently has a yoni that can take you to the otherworld (as they do) then up to Guru Shikar temple at the highest point in Rajasthan, where you can see for miles and ring the famous bell.
Finally to Sunset Point to of course watch the sunset – every goes there, including camels, horses and monkeys and about 5000 people! The sunset was spectacular but after it set we became the attraction and had our photos taken about 200 times! Another yummy dinner at Hollywood Bollywood then got a lift home with Mr Kashyap in his brand new car.
Got up really early in the morning and went for a nice walk to the lake. Bought some delicious bondas at a stall near the bridge, then crossed over and back over at the second bridge away from the lake. Spotted an unusual open billed stork, with its odd gap in its beak, feeding on the shore. Walked uphill through some narrow streets, through a Muslim quarter, eventually ending up at the LMB sweet shop again. When everyone else got out of bed we wandered down to the maharajah’s Car Museum, the entry fee even included a Rajasthani thali! Some fascinating vehicles, including some nice Buicks and Cadillacs, and some modified Rolls Royces, even an RR Ute! The thali was very good and there was so much food we battled through it all. Wandered up a very busy and endless road, emerging at last at Delhi gate, and then with the help of a friendly local found the Airtel office to recharge our phone but they were totally useless (as all Airtel offices proved to be for the rest of the trip). Wandered back through the bazaar, Tara and Merrill found some nice silver jewellery and then had dinner on the rooftop of our hotel which was very pleasant. Had a big spew during the night which I think was from the paan I had before dinner. Whatever it was I’ll never touch betel nut again! Dogs barking all night and the temple music didn’t make for a pleasant night.
Up early though to catch the bus to Mount Abu. Hopped on at the bus company’s office and then had 4 stops before finally getting on our way. Bus a bit run down but comfortable, but a very uneventful drive until we started climbing through a nice but dry forested area. Realized our chosen hotel was a bit out of town. Town itself was a bit disappointing, I guess we were expecting a hill station like Nainital rather than a dust bowl. Hired a kid with a trolley to take our luggage to the hotel, it was only a 10 minute walk so not so bad.
Our room at hotel Maganji’s was more like a little apartment, with a separate main bedroom and a big double bed for the kids, and a comfy lounge area. Not happy though that we had to then pay extra for a heater as it wasn’t that cheap to start with (though cheaper than a lot of places around). But glad we had a heater as it was freezing! Got a lift in the hotel jeep to the lake, cute little main street that looked a lot like Sydney’s Luna Park. Lots of tacky gift shops and fast food places. Had lunch at King’s fast food, I had an interesting Rajasthani thali with battes, funny little hard bread rolls to soak up your dal. Wandered along one side of the lake with nice parks. Had a thali dinner back at the hotel, the choice being Gujarati or rajasthani thalis, the only apparent difference being the dal in the Guj one had a bit of sugar in it. Nice sleep in a super comfy bed.
This film was supposedly created around the hit song “Sheila ki Jawaani”, which is certainly one of the catchiest Hindi pop songs ever (surprised no one has done an English version – Rhianna perhaps..). It certainly looks like it for parts of the movie. It gets off to a great start with some funny stuff and amusing pop culture references (probably lots we didn’t get too), then descends into ridiculous farce but picks up at the end for a very funny conclusion. Akshay Kumar is enjoyable as usual, but Akshaye Khanna is my pick as funniest actor. Katrina Kaif looks great as usual but misses out on all the good lines. Lots of great songs, but of course the highlight is the totally irrelevant to the plot “Sheila”! Can anyone tell me what Tees Maar means – my guess is the words for the letter T M? 70/100