Taken for a ride

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Flag of India  , Gujarat,
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm sure not for the last time we finally visited somewhere and wish we hadn't bothered.  Not that it isn't interesting to see a variety of places but the time involved in getting to and from Bhuj and the less than inspiring tour of the surrounding area made us feel as though we had wasted a couple of days we could have happily spent anywhere else! Bhuj as a city is uninspiring and its only real pull is the surrounding villages and salt plains, the very reason for us going.  We arrived
as usual at a ridiculous hour with everything shut up.  We then proceeded to walk around for 2 hours trying to find a guest house, hindered by the awful Lonley Planet map which i can only assume was of somewhere else.  We eventually found somewhere and on their advice went off to Kutch Tourism to book a tour of the area.  The man who owned the shop appeared to be an ok guy, and explained that for an extortionate amount we would get a car and driver who wouldn't take us around the villages but would drop us at each one mentioned on the tour outline.  This was fine by us and we booked.  The next day instead of one of his drivers he turned up.  To start with we thought we had lucked out because the first two places we went he
actually got out of the car and came with us to give us some information.  However these places were a hotel and a factory of sorts and it soon became obvious that he didn't really know where any of the villages where they do real local craft and business were.  Time slowly crept on and in our village tour of Kutch we had seen no villages.  We then stopped for lunch, which we thought was in a village restaurant, in a big concrete block and around 4pm stopped at a roadside place for something resembling fudge.  By this point we and the Japanese girl were getting relatively p*ssed off that there were no villages in sight and so we both asked him to which he answered there were 3 villages to come.  Still not happy that with the waning light we would only get 1.5 hours of village we at least were happy there were villages coming.  So we stopped at one and saw a couple of interesting demonstrations and he then asked if we wanted to see a third craft and we commented that if there were 2 more to go we should probably get going.  He then said this was it we had already been to 2 villages - apparently the concrete block and the roadside stop counted as such.  Well as neither of us like being ripped off when we returned to Bhuj from our 8 hour pointless road trip and 30 minute village 'village tour' we let him have it.  And so it happened our first fight with a local which resulted in him threatening to call the police on us if we didn't stop 'quarrelling'.  Needless to say no money back, no customer satisfaction, and no interest from the person with the money in
their back pocket!
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