There were 3 choices of transport to get here last Friday : 1. Plane departing 0800hrs Jaipur – New Delhi. Wait 3 hours then plane from New Delhi – Udaipur, wait to be collected and another 2 hour drive to the Rawla Narlai hotel. Or 2. Overnight train from Jaipur to Udaipur. Wasn’t mad keen to do that on my own after my last train journey (see earlier post). Filth and not the interesting kind. Or 3. Get a driver. Bingo, a good deal, 10,000 rupees (£125) for the return trip – it took seven hours but at least I got to view the countryside and general Whacky Races that pass for normal motorway traffic in India – far more interesting than a stack of air con departure lounges.
No thanks to horse riding or a visit to the local Jain temple. Nothing would entice me back into a car on Saturday morning especially since the immaculate swimming pool lay smack bang outside my tent doorway. The best plan was to try and relax and get chatting horizontally with some of my fellow guests ahead of the main black tie event that evening. I took a few deep breaths and tried not to think about the fact I knew NO ONE, I just had to brazen it out. Sarong adjusted, sunglasses in check, I marched out to the the sun loungers. It didn’t take long before I got talking to Clemmie and Laura (savvy nineteen year olds on their Gap Yah staying in Jaipur doing work experience in the kitchens of the Rambugh Palace and a local orphanage) next came the fabulous Clare and her husband David who were my mainstays for the weekend, plus the couple I’d sat next to the night before – a ‘deal maker’ and glamourous events organiser, on we sailed into the afternoon while the occasional person joined in the chat until it was time to climb the Rawla rock for afternoon tea and watch the sunset.
Check the views below…
Time to head back down and get ready for dinner – the programme read ‘Black tie dinner followed by speeches and Eton song’. What?? Thankfully I hadn’t sold my very fabulous long black Temperley dress earlier in the year when I had a cull of the wardrobe, it pays to have something timeless on standby for random invitations (more please), I’d packed a beautiful choker I’d bought about 10 years ago from Marie Helene De Taillac when my bank account was going through a more oppulent phase, MOST importantly I’d made a strong effort to keep my coiffured hair above water in the swimming pool all afternoon so not to appear too rustic at the dinner table, high heels, hairdo’s and full jewellery were duly noted at breakfast.