Day #1 - Mumbai - Daman - Surat

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The butterflies that were in the stomach last night escaped into the beautiful day that was 4th September... the rain had stopped, but the sun was not yet out. Just what we needed for our start.

At about 6:30 we left Shubha's place in Pune to head for Gateway of India, in Mumbai where we were officially starting The Borderline Drive. Sundaresh accompanied us to Mumbai. 

We reached the Pune-Mumbai Expressway and the rain started pelting down on us again. We were safely in the car so it was ok. We just hoped that it would not be raining in Mumbai when we reached there... but there were no signs of clear skies... it was 4 days since we had seen the sun - last seen as we were exiting Chennai - remember the rainbow!

The drive to Mumbai was pretty un-eventful (thankfully so). Except for a short break to indulge in some Maharashtrian breakfast and to buy some famous Lonavala Chikki.

When we reached the Gateway of India it was about 10 am. One of our foodie friends from Chennai Sudha was already there... she has recently moved to Mumbai and we had not seen her in a while. Ramadorai, a close friend and colleague of my dad was also there (we consider him more a member of the family). Sheilagh Nair & Ravi from BPCL's Mak Lubricants were also there to Cheer us on.

Behind us in picture is the famous Taj Mahal Palace - the 100 year old hotel recently in the news for the 26/11 attacks. The green arrow marks the spot where we were standing.

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'Flag-ing off' from the Jochim Alva Chowk (named after the former Sheriff of Bombay) at 10:50 am we were off...

The first couple of hours were dedicated to 'getting out of Mumbai'. The rains have battered the roads and with a lot of 'fly-overs' and by-passes in the making - especially on the Western Express Highway right from Thane we made slow progress. Considering it was a Sunday and there was not much 'traffic' we made our way to Silver Miles Food Plaza outside Manor. A simple buffet had options of 69/- or 120/- depending on what you wanted to eat and whether you wanted butter on your roti/naan or not!

For the next few hours we were back on the highway headed for Daman- now a lot better maintained - probably because we were in Gujarat. 

Daman is a nice little ex-Portuguese colony - with a history very similar to Goa but today serves as Gujarat's bar! The dry (alcohol free) state of Gujarat forces it's buzz-seekers to drive down to the neighboring Union territory of Daman. The locals don't seem to be complaining.. there are more bars per square meter than I have ever seen in my life. But it has given the country it's share of industrialists - remember Damania Airlines of the mid 90's?

Our stop however was on the Devka Daman Beach. Notice the shacks all along the beach. All serving booze... and they were all packed with Sunday revellers. The green arrow marks the spot where we were standing.

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The road from Daman to Surat was nice and smooth - but for to occasional burst of 'high-intensity' rain. We lodged ourselves at the Budget Inn Bellevue, near the railway station; a nice clean room with a view of the railway tracks. 


Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hi Harsha and Prabha,

Best wishes for your drive. Wrote about it in my blog

I am curious to know the total money spent on toll gates during your drive. pls keep a count and let us know.


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