Monday, January 02, 2006

The Journey from Hell

It seems that this state is a bit dodgier than the ones I've been to in the south.. or at least that is the vibe I get from the police/army presence here. It's difficult to tell the difference between the two, as the police here wear very military-esque uniforms, carry rifles slung over their shoulders, and seem to be posted everywhere.

The train was absolutly packed with them, at least 30 or so... and a good 4-5 in the rich-people's A/C cabin. Once the chap sleeping in the bunk below me got off, at some point, a policeman replaced him, and I woke up at 6AM to the sight of a police officer sleeping with one eye open, gun-in-hand...

They're here for my protection, which I suppose is a good thing.. but it means no funny business on my part.


I took the night train, arrived to Veraval at around 6AMish. It was cold, and dark.

The rickshaw drivers put up a pretty united front, all demanding 20 rupees, but pretty soon, as always, the cracks in their aliance began to show, and one guy caved... pretty soon, they were falling over themselves to stab eachother in the back, and particate in a financial race to the bottom. Suckers...

Got a rickshaw ride to the bus station, which turned out to be a petrol station.. Boarded a bus to Una (85km, 3 hours), which looked like a short-schoolbus, only a bit smaller, and not yellow (or filled with special children). Impossible to sleep due to seating/masses of people/loud music/bumpy road. Struggling at this point due to lack of sleep.

Arrive eventually to Una, and transfer to a 'shared' auto rickshaw. This consisted of a motorbike, attached to a medium sized trailer... Perhaps 1.5x the size of the inside of a london taxi (not very large). Inside, were seats.. I counted 14 other adults, plus 5 small children. Very comfy.

However, we finally got to Diu. And yeah, it's worth it. It's pretty, totally un-Indian, with a beautiful view, and clear streets...

I'm staying in what used to be a church. A guest-house has taken over the upper floors, and i'm sleeping on a matress on the roof, for 100 rupees a night. A bit pricey for what I get, but the view is absolutely mind blowing...

The plan is to stay here for at least a week, if not more. With such an awfully long journey to get here, I'm not about to rush away. Cellphone service is good here, and it's quiet (at least during the week, before the weekend Indian alcohol tourists arrive), and so it's probably a good place to conduct all my phone interviews for summer jobs.

This evening though, I'll be sleeping very very early.

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