Road trip around Gujarat part 2

Anya checks out local biker style

Anya checks out local biker style

One of the towns we visited was Bhuj out in Kutchch. Much of this area is salt flats which flood during the monsoon season. At this time of year it feels a bit like driving through the desert and the glare off the salt is intense in the more remote regions. Many of the people out here were traditonally nomadic and they are famous for their handicrafts like embroidery which were originally created for significant like events like birth, marriage and setting up home. These days most stuff is made for tourists and the antique pieces are either worn out or criminally expensive.
What I like about this area is that life is really tough and this has created a ‘wild west’ feel to many of the towns and everything seems to have a slightly extreme edge to it. The bike Anya is sitting on is the Kutchch workhorse and is used for lugging people or goods across the dead straight roads for miles. It is astonishingly noisy and based on an ancient German engine (probably pre WW2 by the look of it!). Like most things out here, it looks like a prop left over from a Mad Max movie.
Tribal boy's head gear

Tribal boy's head dress.

A head dress like this was given to children at 6 months - hence the tight fit!

A head dress like this was given to children at 6 months - hence the tight fit!

Everywhere she goes Anya is the object of extreme curosity. A bit unnerving, especially when men keep grabbing her and taking photos of her with their mates. The evidence here seems to be that she is getting used to it.
Anya shows the big boys how to pose for the camera

Anya shows the big boys how to pose for the camera

On the way to Bhuj we stopped off at Diu which was an old Portuguese colony much like Goa. No foreign tourists to speak of, but it does have a beach as well as old Christian churches and a b

Portuguese prison

Portuguese prison

The beach is even better when you should be at school doing maths!

Sunesh 'The Hoff' Patel

A taste of luxury in Diu - a hotel with a pool

A taste of luxury in Diu - a hotel with a pool

Of course, it wasn’t all fun – Dad made everyone go and look at old ruins as well:

And worse than that, an old fishing village which really stank!

swordfish minus its sword

swordfish (oops, sailfish, of course!) minus its sword

One that should have got away...

One that should have got away...

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Cape Town day 2

Guess what – it was really hot again today! Since it is now the weekend, we headed for the beach. After a quick drive over the hill behind the hotel, we set out to explore Camps Bay and Clifton.

Even the beach huts are pretty spectacular:

and further down towards Cape Point, they even have penguins!

Sunburnt? Moi?  That’s a healthy glow!

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Final week in village

Well the end is almost upon us and we are preparing to leave Moti Pethan on Tuesday. It is going to be a very tearful departure from the village but we still have a few more days to spend in Mumbai before we fly home to the cold and wet. We managed to celebrate Christmas Day and Sunesh’s birthday in some style on the local beach. Although the nights are getting cooler, the days are still very comfortable 30 degrees plus. However, that doesn’t seem to stop the locals donning jerseys, bobble hats and scarves!

I might not manage to do much blogging in Mumbai although I suspect they will have connection speeds I can only dream of out here. We all wish you a very happy new year and thanks for the Christmas messages – apologies if I haven’t replied to you all individually but it is a painfully slow process at times. Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon, Iain and family x

This week we went shopping to Surat by train. The highlight for the children was finding Pizza Hut and Baskin Robbins ice cream. The train journey was also very entertaining.

There is a proper footbridge, but I think it’s just for tourists.

Anya enjoyed the freedom from rules and regulations. Not only are there no windows on a train, but the doors seldom close either.

I had to disuade the boys from travelling first class air-conditioned on account of it already being over-booked.

For some reason Surat has a scaled down version of the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps someone better informed than me can shed some light. (Lennard? Thanks for correcting the fishy error earlier, smart alec)

There was a wedding this week which is another excuse for everyone to get a free lunch

If school dinner was more like this I think more children would go for them – I certainly would! Maybe the teachers should do the serving?

The main event happened in the evening when the groom arrived

The groom in his Elvis-inspired outfit is welcomed in to the family

Then the fireworks begin.

On Christmas morning the children awoke to find a thick layer of fresh snow outside in the garden and stockings stuffed with cheap Indian goodies! (OK, the snow bit is a lie…)

Gromit gets in to the Christmas spirit

The party just carried on the next day as Sunesh found a few birthday presents had followed him overseas.

On Christmas Day and Sunesh’s birthday we managed to spend the afternoon on the local beach at Dandi. I hear it is cold in the UK. Ho hum, tough luck for some!

Anya gets ready to take on the Indians at their own game

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