Baroda right back at ya.

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February 10th 2009
Published: March 15th 2009
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"Sleeper bus""Sleeper bus""Sleeper bus"

Funny name for the thing when its nearly IMPOSSIBLE to do any sort of sleeping.

Leaving Diu was no easy task. First of all, we had made some very good friends, Anne and Cesar, that we had become quite attached to. Second of all, its just so damn nice there! But the pull of seeing new things is very strong and we managed to leave the sedated easy going grip of this little slice of Portugal in India on the most Indian form of transport; The sleeper bus.

These are buses that have, above the usual seat level, crumb-filled little cubicles with matresses where you are meant to sleep during the long hours that bus journeys in India are known for. Of course sleeping is no easy task, being bounced around like a pin ball is not exactly condusive to sleep but it sure beats being in a seat.
Verdict: I like!

We arrived in Baroda 14 hours later, after having had to transfer onto a ''normal'' bus in Ahmedabad and admist our tired state actually scared off a couple of low-level bus thieves..

The reason we had wanted to go to Baroda was to check out a little visited World Heritage Site known as Champaner, that is found near this student
Streetside dentistStreetside dentistStreetside dentist

Jen, too bad you didnt wait to have that root canal, eh?
filled Gujarati city. Champaner turned out to be quite amazing, with crumbling 15th century mosques that are spread out over a large cultivated area and have a mountainous back drop to boot. The ruins are defenitely not a big tourist attraction and we found ourselves pretty much alone rummaging through islamic architectural wonders that if they were any where else in the world would draw massive crowds. There's one mosque that particulary stands out, the Jama Masjid, that apparently took 125 years to complete and was thoroughly impressive, with intricate geometrical patterns that baffle the mind on almost every square inch of the religious building.

Right next to Champaner there's a volcanic peak known as Pavagadh. This place, in contrast to Chamapner below, attracts hoards of Indian tourists, especially Hindu pilgrims going for a little Puja on its hill top temple. Theres a crazy religious/capitalist atmosphere that can sometime dominate reliougious sites througout India that is just not our cup of tea. Its fun and zany for a little while but it wears thin pretty quickly. Heres the general formula for these places: Theres a bunch of money hungry saddhus that line up the path to the temple, there
Another great market in GujaratAnother great market in GujaratAnother great market in Gujarat

and all the friendly people who work there.
are photographers armed with stuffed tigers and huge plastic firearms, for props of course, every 10 meters, there are painted cows with little coin bowls in fronth of them, there are dvd salesmen selling the latest Hindu epic/Bollywood dancing titles...and it just goes on and on...

Back in Baroda we found a particularly odd service offered on the street. As most of you know im sure, in India it is common to find much commerce at street level. Items that come up quite frequently of course are fruits and vegs, kitchen related appliances, underwear and socks and tshirts. There are also some people that specialize in lets say cutting hair or stranger, cleaning peoples ears with huge metal rods. But what we found in Baroda was a bit freaky. They have street dentists! Yup, finally, it is available, you can get a root canal right on the side walk with roaming cows and stray dogs replacing the dental hygyenists that usually surround you during your more traditional dentist visits. Sure the dentists crendentials are a bit dubious, and sure his tools are a tad outdated but hey you cant beat the atmosphere of the shhhtreets.

Done with Baroda,
The FAMOUS Gujarati ThaliThe FAMOUS Gujarati ThaliThe FAMOUS Gujarati Thali

A meal with 26 dishes, and what a bunch of dishes they were. Amazing meal.
we headed for a charming little city by the name of Mumbai.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


masjid mayhemmasjid mayhem
masjid mayhem

This is from Champaner.
Detai, detail.Detai, detail.
Detai, detail.

This is from the mosque that took 125 years to complete.
Crazy ceiling detail!Crazy ceiling detail!
Crazy ceiling detail!

Look at that!!!! Madness.

The ubiquitous Thali meal.

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