Dinner with Octopussy


Gathering breath after my assault up a hill surrounding Udaipur–just below my wrist watch is a glimpse of the Lake Palace, 2010.

Writing last week about how the Great Wall of China had stirred my mountain goat spirit animal got my thinking of another time when its hooves were unleashed, ascending the hills surrounding the lake city of Udaipur in India.

One thing the city is famous for is its Lake Palace, now a hotel, and which featured in the James Bond film “Octopussy” as the location for the final showdown (memorably, James Bond, played by Roger Moore, heads over to the palace under cover of darkness and hidden in a fake crocodile).

I didn’t make it to the hotel as only guests can be ferried across the water–and I didn’t have a fake crocodile to hand–but I did manage the other tourist must-do which was to enjoy dinner at an  open-air roof-top restaurant, looking out over the town, while watching Roger Moore race through Udaipur’s streets at the restaurant’s nightly showing of the film–go to almost any Udaipur restaurant and you’re guaranteed the film will be playing on a screen.

The wait staff must have been sick of the film, having to hear its lines night in and night out, but with a great tasting curry set before me, a large, cold bottle of Kingfisher beer and the warm Indian night as company, I couldn’t have been happier to once again ogle Maud Adams as the eponymous “Octopussy”  and watch a film that was staple viewing during boarding school nights and bank holiday television schedules back in the U.K.

(In the Ian Fleming short story which gave the film its title, the distinctive name actually applies to an octopus, perhaps not that surprisingly.)