Cooling it in Vadodara

Trip Start Jun 05, 2011
Trip End Feb 28, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hotel Furatt International

Flag of India  , Gujarat,
Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13, 2013
Palitana to Vadodara, 245km
by motorcycle, 8:15am to 3:30pm
Stay: Hotel Furatt International, 1786 Rs ($33) including Breakfast

It was a long pleasant ride today. The terrain quickly flattened out and soon we passed Bhavnagar 55 km down the road where we joined the primary coastal highway toward Ahmedabad. Truck traffic was heavy almost the entire trip and the road mostly in great shape.

Again we passed salt flats. And we passed fantastic birding areas where women doing wash shared the pond with rose pelicans, spoonbills and variety of other birds. We drove past cotton fields stretching out as far as the eyes could see. Then we rounded the bay on the road to Vadodara, our destination, where greener crops appeared including onions and lots of chilies, both red and green.

Vadodara is a large city (pop. 1.5M) with several noteworthy Palaces and Temples. For us, Vadodara is a layover stop on our way to the nearby Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site before moving to Chhoto Udapur.

Traffic got increasingly crazy as we neared town. We aimed for the railroad station where, according to the LP map, several good budget hotels are located. We were slowly cruising while looking for a landmark when Dave spotted a Subway Sandwich place and we zoomed over. We took care of our hunger pangs. Dave then took off solo and on foot in search of hotel.  This town has many options and we didn't want to miss a chance to compare before settling on one.

We were due for a better hotel and splurged on a new hotel that has been open for only a few months. It called itself an 'International' hotel and, except for the all-in-one shower/bathroom, it was up to par.

We have until next Saturday, to reach Chhoto Udapur, where they have a colorful Saturday market. We have a few days to fill. Our hotel was comfy and we decided to stay the few extra days here and enjoy it before moving on.

Two "Fill" Days in Vadodara

We relaxed and read the paper over very mediocre breakfast which was part of our hotel price. We've enjoyed better fare at budget guesthouses. Milk coffee was weak, cornflakes were stale, and the cheese omelet was almost cheese-less and spicy. The puff white bread was stale too. Dave stuck to the cornflakes and milk which would have been hard to mess up.

The Indian guests who stay here are eager to start conversations about our life and their life. One couple who live outside Delhi come here 2 months each year to visit their daughter. Their son-in-law is not fond of them. That is the reason they are in the hotel and not staying with their daughter. Obviously a sore point. The daughter is not happy either in the relationship but, according to Indian custom, will stick it out to the bitter end. I asked if they had chosen the husband for their daughter and yes, they did. He came from same social status and was good provider they said. Those are very important considerations she said.

Their other daughter chose her own husband and has been married for 9 years. She sound like the rebel of the family and also choose to remain childless which mom doesn't like but realizes she needs to leave that choice to her daughter. Our chatty couple live in a big house near Delhi and have 8 servants, which is a big burden, she said. The servants try to ‘blackmail’ them. I didn't ask for gory details but maybe that part of the soap opera will continue tomorrow over breakfast.

It is kite festival time here too, a very big event, we were told. We see a lot of kites being bought and many remnants in trees and power-lines. I  guess the lack of wind makes it difficult.

We walked to get closer look at what, at least at first glance, seemed an impressive historical building near our hotel. But it is fenced off and completely neglected. Someone had put a note up on the fence which read something like "WAKE UP OR CONTINUE TO EMBARRASS INDIA"

Most businesses are closed for the two day festival. This is, for Indian standards, a pretty modern town. Still, we did not find a place where we could walk without dust and dirt and uneven sidewalks, some with foot high drops. Yes, and the stench of urine all over this town too.  We visited the park with its sorry zoo where the animals live in unkempt enclosures. The museum is also on the park grounds. It was closed for the holiday.

We lowered our expectations for the sites in town. 

We had a WiFi connection and time enough to crank out a few blog posts. We took a taxi to the most modern shopping we have seen in a while, but that’s not saying much. Dave got new sandals. It is kite festival time but we saw only a few kites. The main action must be going on outside the city center…..

I posted our bike for sale on TripAdvisor India Forum but suspect they removed it because it doesn't comply with the rules. Dave posted on and it was promptly removed - "no classified ads allowed." And Lonely Planet Thorntree forums were still 'unavailable'.

We are hoping to unload the bike in week to ten days while we are still in Gujarat. We are now realizing that we we'll have to go back to Ahmedabad to get it sold properly. Non-residents cannot be a registered owner of a vehicle in this State so we could not get the ‘transfer paper’ which would have made it possible for the next owner to transfer the registrations without going to Ahmedabad. Dave posted the bike for sale in OLX, the Craigslist of India, in the Vadodara and Ahmedabad section.
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