Day #3 - Bhavnagar - Ghogha - Alang - Mahuva - Diu

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

After Prabha's detailed chat with the 'Ben's' of The Narayani Heritage, on the advantages of cord blood banking and stem cells, we were off on the drive for the day. Just as we got out of the hotel we spotted a group of people who looked just as 'heritage' as the hotel we had stayed in the previous night. The local elders were meeting 'under the pepal tree'... and they told us they met there every morning!

Every morning we meet here... what else to do?

The first stop was the border town nearest Bhavnagar - the Ghogha Beach. From what I remember this was the name of a character in a Hindi movie... there was Amrish Puri in the movie for sure.

Ghogha Light house
We followed the GPS and got to the 'end of the road' and found ourselves at the one room Customs office. We were allowed to park the car at the small 'port'. We went to the light-house next door... nice quaint place. Really beautiful place with nobody around except for the 

"Why would a small town like this have a Customs office?" we asked ourselves. So we decided to take the question to the 3 people in the Customs office. 

By the time we were back from the Light-house the 3 of them were looking at our Xylo - the stickers and all. They were having a deep discussion and as we walked in they were full of questions... Borderline, Stem-cells, Mahindra Adventure, Xylo, Mak, Michelin and what not. 

Because we gave them such useful information they decided to give us some. They explained what they did all day. The customs office at Ghogha was used to inspect ships that came to Alang for scrapping. "Go to Alang and watch the way the ships are stripped - inside-out and right down to nothing" they said.

The weather was grey... so the picture is too!

So we made our next stop at Alang. It was mind boggling. The approach road is full of shops that sell the parts of the ships salvaged from the ocean liners and cargo vessels. So you can pick up anything from doors to crockery to furniture to life-boats to life-jackets to fans to lights to coolers to cookers to washbasins and water closets! 
Ready to strip... notice the size of the people!

The ships are actually 'run aground' into the beach and then stripped down to nothing... "the whole process takes 3-4 months - sometimes even a year of it a large ocean liner like the one parked next door" said Hyder Ali the watchman at one of the docks.

We hunted around for a sign/board/coffee-cup or something that said Captain and First-officer so that Prabha and I could each have one... (not saying who would get what). But, we could not find anything of value in the time we had...  so we decided that Alang required an entire week of dedicated searching... and we would have to come back for that.

Also, the reason was that every shop we stopped at wanted to know what the stickers were all about... they recognized the Mak Lubricants logo on the Xylo - because they all used the Mak-Boat version in their boats but they wanted to know what the "borderline" thing was all about. So explaining Stem cells and the Drive took a while... and every one of them wanted us to sit with them for some 'chai pani'... typical Gujarati hospitality!

We were on a clock and we needed to reach Diu before nightfall - after touching the coast at Mahuva... so we made sure we did all the talking but politely refused the chai-pani.

By the time reached Mahuva it had started to rain again and the bridge that connected the light house to the village was almost filling up with water. The friendly cowherd standing at the bridge told us to turn back as the rest of the road was almost inundated with water. 

Flooding waters... almost!

The roads the rest of the way were really pathetic.

Funny thing is that in Gujarat the State Highways are much better maintained than the National Highways. 

So between the small cars and the big trucks we made our way to the Hoka Island Villa in Diu - the first place, since we started on The Borderline Drive, that we could sit down for a drink!


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