The departure of Natalie
03.08.2014 33 °C
Yesterday was our last day with Natalie, and although Natalie and I were feeling really poorly, we were determined to have a good day. The journey to Jamnagar, was lovely, but we were too busy coughing and getting Bill and Vinay to look out for chemists, to see any scenery. If they were not on chemist watch, we were grilling them on who they thought had the worse cold, cough or wheeze (we both also had sore tummy and back muscles from coughing, but they couldn't judge on these). Vinay, reliably informed us that we needed Rexcof, which his wife had told him was the best cough syrup. We did eventually see a chemist and Bill and Vinay got out of the car with instructions to return with multiple bottles of Rexcof, tissues, cough sweets and decongestants. You can imagine our disappointment when they returned with some herbal honey linctus, but we were willing to take anything by this stage.
Jamnagar is on the western coast of Gujarat and is a lovely little town, they have some beautiful buildings, but unfortunately they were virtually in ruins. In the afternoon, we drove around the town, Natalie and Bill got out to walk around the old town and they disappeared for ages at one stage, but they were forgiven as they returned with Indian sweets. Indian sweets are usually far too sweet, and we can't eat them, but the sweets in Gujarat are not so sweet and we have developed quite a taste for them (especially as they let you taste them all in the shops). Natalie and I got out of the car to get some biscuits (we were seriously in need of car cookies) and saw a chemist. We asked if they had any Rexcof and he proudly showed us several bottles. Reading the label when we got back into the car, we saw there were strict instructions not sell it without a doctor's prescription. I am not too sure what is in it, but it stops me coughing and allowed me to have the best night's sleep in months! Stop press on Rexcof, it's brilliant stuff (possibly lethal), I feel so much better today, no cold or coughs, but when I am due a dose, they start to come back. I am beginning to get addicts angst about my next fix (I meant dose!).
Suitably dosed up, we then headed to the Bala Hanuman temple. In this temple they have chanted 'Jai Ran' every day (24/7) since August 1964, which means ever since I was a two year old. We were fairly intrigued by this and sat in the temple listening to them for some time, as it was very soothing to listen to. The temple is in the Guinness Book of Records for the chanting; we swear they stopped several times whilst we were there.
We said our goodbyes to Natalie last night; because we were leaving early this morning. We have had such a happy time altogether, we have shared our love of India, food and gin and we have laughed and laughed. I was very sad to see her go, but I consoled myself with the thought that we would see each other in July next year. This all fell apart this morning; getting into the car, I saw Natalie's hat (it had got so wet when they were climbing, it is about four sizes smaller) and cried and cried and then cried because we were leaving Natalie behind (she was catching a flight at lunch time). Bill and Venay were very good, but I suspect as time went on, Vinay wasn't so sympathetic. I cried at Natalie's empty chair (and even patted it several times), I cried when we had a car cookie or a sweet and made Bill and Vinay thank Natalie for getting them for us. I cried when we got to a toll booth as Natalie always translated the signs for me, I cried because the air conditioning wasn't needed on her empty seat and I cried when I had a Thali, because Natalie loves a Thali. I think the point Vinay became really puzzled, was when he showed us a statue of a freedom fighter (whose husband had been killed by the British) and I cried and apologised for everything wrong the British had done to India. I seriously hope nothing ever happens to Natalie as I don't have the stamina to cope with separation from her.
At lunch time, in the restaurant, there was a lady who had some red paint on her face, which we were a bit puzzled about. The lady came over to speak to us and she told us she was pregnant and all the family were together to celebrate. Bill, asked if he could take a picture and she went over to her husband to ask. After the pictures were taken by Bill, it was then their turn to take pictures of Bill and they even thrust some poor child at him, so they could take pictures of Bill with the baby.
Today we have travelled about three hundred and thirty miles to Udaipur. Udaipur is in Rajistan and is the state above Gujarat. I hardly want to say it, so I shall whisper it....that we had a good journey. It did take us nearly twelve hours, but we are here and the hotel is rather good and we don't have to sit in the room drinking alcohol. Life is good