Baroda – a few weeks late

I didn’t write about Gujrat – to the dismay of one of my friends here who recently discovered my blog.

This was a great Baroda trip. It’s a bit difficult to explain, but Gayatri had to back out last minute to go somewhere else. We were supposed to stay in her house, with her, and her parents. Both her and her parents aren’t here. We stayed anyway; they insisted. We left Pune at 7:30, 15 minutes after we were supposed to, and only 10 minutes after the last group of folks arrived. They enjoy making me go slightly crazy when they’re late. They kept telling me to relax, but for some reason, the American in me won’t allow me to be late or accept lateness from others when it comes to things like bus times. The bus would have left them in the US. Good thing the bus was later than them here.
The rule was not to sleep on the bus, but of course, none of us abided. We all passed out and awoke at the first rest stop. After getting off the bus, the driver kicked everyone off, and quite bitterly at that. We spent around 45 minutes there. Sachin’s mom cooked us all parathas and we happily ate them with dahi and a really yummy peanut chutney. After sleeping, waking, eating carrots, and sleeping more, we woke up at 6am for another rest stop. It was pitch black out. The amazing part was sitting in a cold rest stop for 20 minutes and to see how the first break of sunlight creeps into the world. I’ve seen it before, but it was somehow different. We’re a great group of people so no moment is lost without a laugh or making fun of something or other, even while getting off a bus and waiting for the car to pick us up. It’s incredible really. We were hosted by Gayatri’s family’s driver and were taken around the city, cooked for, and assisted for three days. The itinerary is kind of as follows – as mapped out by Gayatri to her father who provided instructions for those who were supposed to take care of us. I reread that line and realized how I’ve been indoctrinated. I don’t feel strange that they had a driver, their driver take us around, that they have a maid and cook who cooked for us. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. I’m still quite conscious of it, but more accepting of it as well.

Noticings about Gujrat: It’s much cleaner, hotter, spacious, greener, and drier than Pune. They have fancier tool booths. Both Manoj and I looked at each other with the ooooo face when we passed through. We abided by the itinerary, for the most part provided by Gayatri. When we got “home” Kajal put out this amazing breakfast and we set out for the days events. Her parents got us a mini van for the 9 (turned 8 of us). It was amazing.

Amazing artists, especially the Indian modern art. In each of the galleries there was random European art, mostly Italian and French by artists I’ve never heard of; it was kind of weird. There was great modern Indian art, but the section must of consisted of less than two dozen paintings. After the second museum, we set off for a temple on the top of one of the only peaks in Baroda. I had to face my fear of heights (which has slowly developed in the past few years along with a fear of elevators). Indro wasn’t ready to go either, but after he saw the technology of the tram, he decided it was ok. I took his cue and struggled on the way up. It was a spectacular view. Many places we went, including this temple, didn’t allow photos, hence, there will be none to show.

There are so many mosquitoes! I look like I got a rash. In between my dreams where monkeys were very prevalent, I was bitten up to no other on my legs and back. It’s awful! They itch. Usually Indian mosquitoes bites (for no particular reason) don’t itch for too long, maybe a day or two; these ones are brutal!

The next morning we were out by 6:30, a first deviation from the itinerary. We saw the sun temple and changed the plans to see Akshardam, a privately owned temple that is so well maintained. It also had a water park (closed) and a sea show (also closed). We found that a bit strange.

The rest of the trip is documented in the pictures below and through the album, which you should check out. I would love to write about the rest of it, but doubt I’d do it justice a few weeks later.

For all photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10101017786798899.2956188.814909&type=3&l=1a8199a9a2

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