Hume India se pyar hein.....we think!
25.07.2014 35 °C
We decided to go to see a bazaars on Wednesday night in Baroda and then find somewhere to eat. We asked the hotel to get us a tuk tuk and the doorman went out onto the street and called a tuk tuk. We suspect the driver may have been his grandson, as the doorman went through a spiel telling him to take us directly to the bazaar, not to stop at any shops and not to go too fast (all interpreted through Natalie), whilst the driver sulked like a teenager, but he got us there in one piece. Bill's Hindi lessons continue, the driver has also joined in giving him lessons as we drive along. Everywhere we go, Bill tells everybody his name is Bill in Hindi.
We are not sure if we got to the bazaar, as we saw a great street of stalls and called out for the driver to stop and let us off. The street was full of ceramic shops and material shops and we strolled down the road. Bill found a wall mounted Ganesh and quickly brought it. Ganesh is the God of knowledge and the remover of obstacles and is the older son of Lord Shiva. Lord Ganesha is also called Vinayak ( knowledgeable ) or Vighneshwer (god to remove obstacles). He is worshipped at the beginning of any blessings. He has four hands, an elephant's head and a big stomach. His vehicle is a mouse (Hindu deities have particular vehicles or 'vahana' on which they travel. The vehicle, which is either animals or birds, represent the various forces that he or she rides. The deities are seldom depicted without their corresponding creatures).w In Ganesh's hands he carries a rope (to carry devotees to the truth), an axe (to cut devotees' attachments), and a sweet dessert ball -laddoo- (to reward devotees for spiritual activity). His fourth hand's palm is always extended to bless people. A combination of his elephant-like head and a quick moving mouse vehicle represents tremendous wisdom, intellegence, and presence of mind. Bill has become a little obsessed with Ganesh and particularly of his vehicle the mouse, who is called Kroncha, Bill always looks for him when he sees a Ganesh (he even lifted up the gowns on Ganesh in a temple to see the mouse). We have brought several in our travels.
After traipsing around several stalls to find material for Natalie (Natalie has not got the shopping gene and was close to melt down, Bill on the other hand got a shirt and material for another shirt), we went to the railway station to find a restaurant. After Natalie and Bill led me across the road (with my eyes closed), we were met with a row of stalls/restaurants with men outside shouting for us to come in. We were unsure which one to go to, so we gave Bill the choice, he choose one because the seats looked nice, but Natalie and I had seen several cute guys outside another restaurant and headed that way. Fortunately, it was a great meal and Bill even used his fingers only to eat the meal, for the first time.
Yesterday morning we were heading for Surat; we checked out of the hotel and we were rather embarrassed by the clinking box of bottles of beer that the doorman had to struggle with, as well as our bags. We were not the only ones with a box of booze, there was someone checking in that had a similar box of clinking bottles. We have seen more drunk people on the streets in Gujarat (a none drinking state) than anywhere else. To break the journey to Surat, we decided to stop at the Swami Narayan Temple in Bharuch. It was a beautiful temple, there was a deity inside who was placed on a swing and there was a young boy in the temple, whose job was, to keep the deity swinging!
Driving into Surat, we started to see people walking along the side of the road, these people were pilgrims. They were dressed in orange and had long poles over their shoulders and had pots hanging off the poles, which contained holy water from the Ganges. It seems that they cannot put these poles down. Natalie said she would have candles at the end of her poles and ditch the holy water! We saw these people several times, because as usual we drove around and around trying to find our hotel.
We did eventually find our hotel and after booking in (they were unable to find our bookings as they had us booked as Mr Claire and Mr Bill and couldn't find William and Alison, as in our passports) we went for a walk around the streets to look for a material shop. We were not sure where it was but a lady, out for her evening walk, marched us down the road at some speed, but she was very kind. We had a good material shop, and Bill managed to buy two more shirts and on our way back, we found a marvellous English bookshop. Walking back to the hotel we had a sugarcane drink, Natalie and I loved it, it tasted very much like a grass drink, but Bill hated it. By chance we found a Hindu temple and the man in there showed us how to do a certain blessing and gave us some fruit and we found another much larger temple. Outside this temple was a brand new combined harvester, which was covered in flowers, the owner had brought it to the temple to be blessed.
We are in Surat for two whole days so we had a slow morning today, Bill went to the gym for a first time in days. This afternoon we decided to go for a long walk. We got our driver to drop us off at the starting point (he really wanted to drive us and it took a lot of persuading for him to leave us) and off we went. Our first stop was the English cemetery ; the first grave was for 1649 and we can see the changing architectural styles as time went on. There was a little old man there and he let us into one of the tombs, Bill and Natalie climbed to the top, where they had a great view. I noticed that the man had a stash of empty bottles in the corner and some playing cards! Inside another area (as we went in the man pushed all the empty bottles off the grave as we went in). We were looking at the stones for children who had died at birth. We walked further along the road, looking at houses and shops. Everywhere we went people were talking to us (Bill was telling them his name is Bill in Hindi) and waving and talking to us in English. Several people got off their motor bikes to talk to us and we invariably had a group of boys following us, who were trying to practice their English. Walking passed a bakery we were offered biscuits to try which we loved and further along the road a couple proudly showed us their house. We had a brilliant afternoon, strolling along and dodging the traffic and talking to everybody as we went along.
Tomorrow, we are determined to have a restful day and I have booked a massage; the following day we have a long journey ahead of us.