Stopover In Ahmedabad

on Sunday, 14 March 2010

So today we arrived in Ahmedabad after a pretty dreadful journey, even though we had larger beds. The roads were dreadful, with lots of the huge road bumps they just seem to stick everywhere, those combined with a driver who thought he was the next Colin Mcrae, didn’t mean a good nights sleep. Not helped by the bus conductor screaming at the top of his voice every 15 minutes either. We arrived, and had already been warned this was not a very tourist area and that not many people spoke English and if they did it was extremely limited. Not too mention since the morning beforehand we had not been in a hotel, so had been lugging our rucksacks around all day, and would have to do it again today, as we get the train later this evening. That combined with not being able to shower, we are both in a bit of a mess. We wander the streets of the city and although I had never heard of it, this is not a small city, it is absolutely massive. After about 20 minutes of lugging all our bags around, like an oasis in the desert we spot the golden arches. They obviously don’t do breakfast out here, so at 9am in the morning we sit down to a mc nugget meal in good old Mackey D’s. We try the local cinema but the films are all in Indian, so pass. Our train is not till 11pm tonight so we have 13 hours to kill in a city which has not much to do for tourists and what it does have is mainly closed due to it being Sunday. When in McDonalds, we had managed to get some wifi and were able to check for things to do, the top thing was a place called Science City. We didn’t manage to find out what it was, but thought we would give it a go as it was rated quite high.

Imagine the Science museum, but with a few funny mirrors they stole from a fair ground and a few cheap models, probably made by the local primary and that’s about it, with a huge underground IMAX cinema thrown in as well. We arrive and it is absolutely scorching, we have to leave our bags in a cloakroom, which we are a bit worried about, especially as he says we have to remove all our money. Pulling out about 150, $1 bills rolled up, they must have thought I was loaded. We first went to the IMAX, but the next showing was at 3pm so we were told to come back then. Next was the “Thrillride”, basically this is one of those spaceship simulator things that move around. We weren’t very thrilled when we saw it and even less so when we got turned away because you needed 15 people or more before they would do it. The fact that the car park was empty and we had only seen about 5 people walking about, we thought we might be waiting a while. We then went into the main Science museum, the best bit was walking in and realising it was air conditioned. It wasn’t great if I am being honest, a lot of the exhibits were broken or not working, although there were a few interesting bits and the staff were very helpful. It would be a great place to go with kids and there was actually quite a lot of kids on a school trip looking round. We get quite a lot of requests to have our photo taken, maybe because there are so little tourists.

We finish off by going to watch the IMAX film, unfortunately the film, about walking on the moon has been dubbed over in Indian, so we end up falling asleep throughout. We leave and decide to call it a day and get a tuk tuk to the station, to check out how easy it will be to get the train, all along the way our driver slows down and stops next to people, we think maybe it is so rare to have a tourist out here, he is wanting to show us to everyone. We get to the station and it seems like it will be pretty easy to find the train, so go on the hunt for an internet cafe to waste a few hours in, we are walking for ages and ages with our bags and are about to give up and just go sit in the station for four hours when someone just starts chatting to us, as they do and luckily can speak some basic English  points us in the direction of one of the weirdest internet cafes I think there can be. It is hidden down loads of alleys with just arrows spray painted on the walls to show you were to go.

The cafe shuts at 8pm, so we will have to return to the station and wait out the next three hours there for the train to Udaipur. We should arrive at 8am tomorrow and plan to stay a few days, so will finally be able to get a room, leave our bags and have a shower. The train at first looks absolutely shocking, each carriage has 4 sections, with six beds in each and two fans stuck to the ceiling as we couldn’t get an AC at short notice. We have got the top bunk and the middle bunk. I take the top and Tom has the middle, the train is on time and once the other guys in our section have put the middle bunk up we are off. It is quite a bit bumpier than I had hoped but still the fact I can lie flat, even if my feet are hanging off the end makes it much easier to sleep. We sleep for most of the journey and it is much better than the on, off sleeping on the coaches we have been used to. We ended up being a little cold because we didn’t use our silk sacks, but we know what to do next time. Hopefully we will be able to get more trains from now on and less coaches. Udaipur here we come!