Sunday, 31 July 2011

Day 162: Udaipur (09/07/2011)

“$2,000 per night, sir” said the man behind the reception desk.

“I’ve got $16 and some Rupees but I can give you my watch” I replied, hopefully.

“Sadly not sir. We accept Rupees, Dollars, Sterling and most major credit cards. Unfortunately we do not have facilities to receive wrist watches as a means of payment. It’s the bank sir. Regrettably, they can be most particular about this sort of thing” the clerk apologised.

“But it’s real Timex. Look at the quality of the workmanship” I tried one more time.

He shook his head and began shuffling some papers on the desk.

I turned my head slightly and cocked an eyebrow at the fellow. “Did I mention that I’m Roger Moore’s son? Look at my passport - my middle name is Roger too.” He paused for a moment.

Sensing victory, I added wryly “This watch is magnetic you know”.

He stopped shuffling his papers and looked at me. “That was a long time ago. We’ve all moved on. Rupees, Dollars, Sterling and most major credit cards, sir.”

And so it was that we came to stay with Rezwan at the $7 per night Mewargarh Palace and not the Lake Palace Hotel, famed for its cherished award for 1977 best actor in Octopussy.

Time was when a visit to Udaipur would include the statutory claims by everyone from the Palace guides to the ice cream sales man that they had a part in the Bond movie. Old timers still gather to watch the guff-meister jolly his way through this piece of celluloid tomfoollery but time has moved on and that generation is retired. Today’s wily tellers of tall tales are too young even to remember Udaipur’s Golden Bondage, preferring instead to talk up the reign of the Mewar Maharajas who were Udaipur’s own Bond villains from 754AD to the abdication of the incumbent in 2005; the longest unbroken dynasty in the history of humanity.

Even Roger didn’t cling on for that long.

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