Udaipur – Our City of Bad Luck

November 28, 2015

Skipping ahead through travel time, I will attempt to catch up on a more significant event that occurred within the past month.  We are currently in Varkala, Kerala, after an amazing month in the North, primarily in the state of Rajasthan.

I started writing the below entry back on the 17th of November, and got around to finishing it on Thanksgiving, November 26th, but not being able to post until now:

Here we are in Udaipur, our final stop in a string of beautiful Rajasthan cities.  Unfortunately, this place that we have dedicated the most time to – 5 days and 6 nights, reputed as one of the “gems” of India with it’s romantic lakes and greenery, was not off to a good start…

Gabriel got his first low fever, Dan was suffering from a sinus headache and sore throat, and we were not initially enamored with our backpacker guesthouse, which seemed to be on the dirty side.  We had one more day with Viru, after 20 days of being our dedicated driver, and our intention was to visit some of the further away temples.  After being in the car for less than a half hour, Gabriel put his foot down on our excursion, saying he was sick and needed to return to bed.  I felt very sorry for our little guy, but once we said our goodbyes and got back on land, his health quickly returned and we realized it was more car sickness than anything else.  We returned to our room, where Dan and Gabriel holed up for a rest and Stella and I decided to finally do some shopping.  I am a lousy bargainer, so I am sure I was taken as we settled on two tunics for myself and a skirt and shirt ensemble for Stella.  It was a lazy day of meandering out for lunch, but sticking close to our beds.  By the afternoon, Gabriel had finally convinced Dan to take him fishing (just for catch and release).  Our guesthouse was in an old building that was built right at the lake’s edge.  You can literally jump off the balconies into Pichola Lake, and there are little steps along the back wall that take you directly down and into the water (if you dare!).  However, this being India, we had fears of contracting Hepatitis C in it’s murky waters, and did not fancy paddling amongst floating plastic bags.  Earlier that day, we had actually watched a man dump his colostomy bag into the lake, then flush it “clean” before reattaching it to his abdomen! As luck would have it, the chosen ledge for fishing, ended up being the specific location of one of our worst nightmares.

As Dan bent down to assist Gabriel with his hook, our beloved iPhone fell out of his loose pocket and disappeared into the brown abyss. He quickly stripped out of his new $3 indian trousers to his underwear, when an onlooker shook his head and proceeded to show him the over 10 feet depth with a bamboo pole. Gabriel was in tears, saying “Daddy you’ll die!”.  Meanwhile, I was blissfully unaware, until a shaky husband came to report the devastating news.  You see, I am the caretaker of the phone.  Dan rarely has it in his possession.  The iPhone was encased in a special wallet, which also held my driver’s license, credit cards, other ID, and money.  This was my mini-life on the road – the place where I kept record of our traveling plans, stored budgeting records, and managed planning our accommodations.  The iPhone6 quickly became our main camera and I, the primary photographer, who had spent the last 3 weeks in Rajasthan doing my best to capture the color and beauty of this region.  It now seemed that all was lost.  The guesthouse owner quickly called his brother, the owner of an extra large magnet, to see if we might be able to pull the phone up from these liquid depths.  Dan and this man spent over an hour dredging a large magnet attached to a rope, along the lake’s bed.  The sun was setting, and the Indian man gave up the hunt, but left Dan to the task, as he wished.  Gabriel egged Dan on, telling him not to give up, while I paced our room, far from the scene.  Miraculously, the large magnet finally made contact with the very little magnet clip on the side of my wallet, and Dan managed to retrieve our muddy treasure.  Besides being obviously relieved to have the cards and money, we now had the flickering hope that we might be able to resuscitate the phone.  However, this was a test that would have to wait at least three days, until we were positive that the iPhone had completely dried up.  The next days were difficult, as we tried to enjoy ourselves and not dwell on the potential loss.  At this stage, we had realized that not a single photo within the past 17 days had been downloaded onto our laptop and backed up on iCloud (thanks to very poor wifi in India).  I was mourning all these memories, and feeling the will to keep up a blog slip away.  Dan dug into the internet and found that there was actually software that managed to retrieve data from back-up files, which we actually DID have up to to 3 days prior on our laptop.  He purchased the software and found all of the photos, except for our short visits to Bundi and Chittaurgarh.  Luckily, we had brought an old iphone4 on our trip, which we are in the process of getting unlocked and purchasing a new sim card for.  In addition, we are also carrying a very good Nikon camera with better zoom capabilities, which my Father had generously loaned us – it just lacks the ease of carrying in a pocket and quickly uploading to Facebook or Instagram.  When our morning of reckoning finally came, Dan plugged it into our laptop, ready to transfer any data. He heard a ding!, then nothing.  Two hours in the water had cut short the young life of our phone, and it’s demise was met in Udaipur’s lake.

So, here we are, on November 26th, Thanksgiving.  I am trying to learn how to not be dependent on an electronic device, but I feel crippled in my abilities.  With about 10 days of grieving under my belt, I keep hoping it will become easier, but I really miss that damn phone!  Thankfully, we do have Apple insurance, and should get a replacement, but NOT in India.  The trade has to be made in the U.S., and we cannot even send the phone out of this country without a receipt.  Wah!  I know there has to be a lesson within this all.  Perhaps, I am meant to step away from social media and the umbilical cord to our distant US home, that this phone had represented. I am trying to remind myself on this special day, of how thankful I am for my family and this trip, and to not sweat the small stuff.  Please know that I will continue to write and share about the beauty of Rajasthan and onward adventures, it just may be a little slow in the coming. Those teases of photos I have shared on Facebook and Instagram may not happen as frequently, but do not be worried by my absence. Happy (late) Thanksgiving to all our dear friends and family!

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  • Reply Poppy November 28, 2015 at 5:43 am

    We were saddened to read about your phone debacle and loss of some photos but, we are happy to hear that everyone there is now feeling good and you have your collective health back. Persistence paid off retrieving your phone for eventual replacement. We will make sure it’s replaced and returned as soon as humanly possible as soon as we receive it. Continue to enjoy your travels, stay healthy and stay safe.

    Sending our love your way! Poppy (& Grammy)

  • Reply Janet Storton November 28, 2015 at 7:23 am

    So anxious to read your report I accidentally hit the “unsubscribe” button. Just like Dan I tried to retrieve my mistake. Please don’t stop sending me your reports. I will try to re-subscribe. You are living my dream and traveling places I may never see. Enjoy!

  • Reply Grammy November 28, 2015 at 7:44 am

    I’m feeling your pain about the loss of your photos, this happen on our cruise. Didn’t lose as many as you did but we were very upset. So now we are the only ones that can see those pictures in our “minds eye.” Often think of the days when we never knew what our photos would look like until the time we had them developed and then so upset when they didn’t turn out, how did we LIVE back then.??? It was great to see all your smiling faces on Thanksgiving and knowing you are all feeling much better. Yes, Stella and Gabriel I will have your favorite foods already for you when you visit and be sure to ask Daddy and Mommy what they are craving and send me their list along with yours. Love you all so very much and will be looking forward to your next entry. Be safe and wash and re-wash your hands and stay healthy. Hugs to all…Grammy (&Poppy).

  • Reply Portia November 28, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Ok…my stomach is in knots after reading this…but I MUST admit I look just as much forward to reading your blog as seeing the pics…so keep writing!!!! I can’t believe we are headed into Dec already…it seems like yesterday we talked about your India leg of the trip! I am so glad you were not in Europe now although the part of the world you are in now has seen its share of terrorism…..Sending you all our love and kisses!!!!!

  • Reply Mollie November 28, 2015 at 8:30 am

    What a story! Holy macaroni!

  • Reply Uncle David November 28, 2015 at 9:55 am

    The memories will last a lifetime, photos or not. Continue to enjoy yourselves and each other and share with us whatever you can. All of your peeps are traveling vicariously through you. Love and miss you all.

  • Reply Abuelo November 28, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Dear daughter Sarah, please do not feel guilty confessing how much you miss your iphone; after all, it is simply the most astonishing device ever created for mass consumption in the history of human kind. And this is not hyperbole, it is simply a stated fact. It has revolutionized our civilization, just as the internet has, and the automobile, and airplanes, and atomic energy, etc. It’s importance is unmeasurable, because is so transcendental. And ubiquitous, as it resides in millions and millions of pockets world wide, connecting souls everywhere. I won’t enumerate what it does, as we all know and appreciate it’s use. Suffice is to say it is as much a part of our daily lives as our eye lids, an extension of our being to interact with, a “toy”of universal appeal. So yes, you being without it diminishes your capacity to do this blog as you wish to do it, and it’s Ok to mourn it’s passing. I say, break your bank, even if it cuts short your Odyssey by a few days. In the end, it is worth it. And never mind the past, when we did not have any of this stuff…After all, nobody today would trade a car for a horse buggy. This way so many of us following your trip will continue to enjoy your artistry with words and images.
    With all the love,

  • Reply Lisa November 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Timmy and I were noticing the radio silence and hoping everything was okay. Honestly, to hear it was your drowned phone instead of an illness was sorta relieving to us, though I understand the frustration on your end. My favorite lines of this post? “You see, I am the caretaker of the phone. Dan rarely has it in his possession.” Made me giggle reading between the lines. Miss you all xoxo

  • Reply Julie j November 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Oh technology always teaches these lessons. I’m so sorry

  • Reply Technology Today – Our Quality of Light July 6, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    […] sadly addicted to checking the holy trinity of email, Facebook and Instagram.  I have written here before about how devastating it was to drown our first iPhone and not have a replacement for over a […]

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