Woke up late, headed to the "foreigners and NRI (not resident Indian) registration office", waited about 20 minutes, and finally left with a stamped permit, allowing me to visit a few restricted areas - in particular, lakphat.
Got a seat in a jeep (21 people in 1 jeep, lovely) and travelled to Mandvi, arriving around 2PM. What a cool town. As we drove over the main bridge, I could see about 5-6 wooden ships, in various stages of construction, surrounded by wooden scaffolding and a number of Indian guys hammering away at each. I took a few photos of these, which I'm looking forward to uploading.
I've never seen ships being built before, much less wooden ships being built in old fashioned ways. Just for that glimpse alone, the trip to Mandvi was worth it... however, it gets better.
An auto-rickshaw ride took me 9km out of town to the Mandvi Palace Beach Resort.. where I was alone at the beach. Thats right, for as far as I could see, literally a couple km in each direction, I was alone. White sand, crystal clear water (a first for me in India) that looked blue not so far away.
Alas, the water was a wee bit nippy, given how far northwest we are, it makes sense... However, I put my loincloth on (to avoid scaring the indian guys working at the resort - 2 guys making chai - and ran into the water.
After a few hours of playing around, it was time to leave. My auto-rickshaw driver had been waiting the whole time (bless him), but before we departed, I was able to find out that the resort charge 5000 rupees (over 100 USD) per night for an air-conditioned tent... I honestly can't imagine who pays that kind of money.. but the view really was amazing.
I met an Irish chap last night, who gave me a few pointers on his trip so far. I'll be taking his advice, and heading NW to a monestary tomorrow morning - and with any luck, spending the night there. I should be back on Wednesday evening. Hopefully.
Oh yes, it's also worth noting that the people are absolutely amazing here. So friendly, so kind.. Loads of women smile at me, and say hello, which is a very nice change. I've also seen at least a couple near car/bike accidents as people take their eyes off the road to stare at me.. Hah