4th Test in Nagpur

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November 6th 2008
Published: November 15th 2008
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Thursday 6th November

After spending a night in Bangalore, I caught a taxi (flat fee of 500 rupees), to the airport. Once I landed in Nagpur I was immediately assaulted by taxi and auto (3 wheels, 2 stroke vehicles) drivers. One taxi driver asked me for 700 Rs to which I just laughed at him and asked him if he was serious. I ended up taking an auto for 300 Rs (still way too much), to the Saurabh Hotel near the VCA cricket ground. The ride took about 40 minutes and it pulled up in front of the Heritage 2001 Hotel. This turned out to be the same hotel to which I suspected from my research on the Internet. The hotel had some pretty bad reviews but I went and had a look nevertheless. The room was pretty average to say the least and nowhere near worth the ridiculous rate of 1950 Rs. I decided to walk down to Central Avenue as there were some budget hotels in that road. First I decided to walk in the other direction to the ground to check out the story with getting tickets. As I approached I noticed it was unusually quiet...lunch break in the cricket perhaps? I entered the ground and the to my horror it was completely empty. I stopped a couple of young boys who were walking into the ground with their cricket gear. It turned out that there was a new stadium and the India vs Australia test was to be the very first game there. They helped me get another auto to the ground, and to my chagrin, it was in the direction that I just came from. I set off in the auto and we virtually drove around the corner when he pulled over and stopped. He got out then went and started talking to some fellow drivers. After a while he reappeared again and said to me, chai? Well it looked like time moved pretty slowly in Nagpur to the extent that even if you have a customer there's always time for a quick cuppa.

The new VCA stadium at Jamtha is several kilometers south of the airport. Once there I bought tickets to all 5 days for 1000 Rs. The ticket seller warned me that they may not let me in with my backpack but hopefully they would let me in. I walked into the ground and made it all the way into the stadium before they told me I couldn't bring in my backpack. This seemed to cause all sorts of commotion as no fewer than a dozen or so people came over trying to work out what to do with this foreigner who was carrying a backpack with him. Eventually I was escorted back to the entrance where a security guard searched my backpack. Curiously I was carrying another smaller bag which they didn't see the need to search. A few days later the ticket seller saw me at the ground and asked me how I got on with getting into the ground with my backpack which I thought was quite nice of him.

After the first day's play I caught another auto for 300 Rs to Central Avenue. I went to the Blue Moon Hotel where rooms were 572 (including tax) a night. They had cheaper rooms at 450 but I paid extra for a western style toilet. The room itself was pretty nasty especially the bathroom which was dark, dingy, not all that clean, and the floor was constantly wet. I decided to put up with it for now and look around for something better. Another odd thing about the room is that you could not lock the door from the inside. You had to deadbolt the door but you could only do that from the outside. The keyhole was blocked up on the inside of the door. This meant that people could just enter your room whenever they felt like it. The staff would often just knock and then walk in without you saying it was ok to come in.

I found that every hotel I stayed at in India did not come with toilet paper and I had to actually ask for it. The Blue Moon Hotel was no exception. Also there was no daily cleaning of the room here. Looking at the bathroom I wondered if they ever cleaned it.

Friday 7th November
Today was another day of cricket. A local who I had met the previous day at the cricket gave me some advice. He told me I could catch the local bus back to town for 15 Rs instead of paying 200 Rs or 300 Rs for an auto. Also he told me the main part of town centre was centred around Sitabuldi (or Buldi for short). I didn't actually know what Sitabuldi was, but turns out it is a historical fort. However despite walking around the area I failed to see it. Also there were several hotels near Sitabuldi in a road called Modi 3. After the game I waited by the side of the road at the turnoff to the cricket ground. However there were hundreds of other people waiting also. The buses came all too infrequently but a mob of people would scream and yell when a bus came and run after it, often jumping in it as it was still moving. The buses also stopped at random places on the road so you had to be lucky and hope the bus stopped right in front of you to have any chance of getting in. Also even if I managed to get in to one, I still needed to ask whether it was going to Buldi. Therefore I ended up waiting for a long time until the crowd thinned out and I was able to get onto a bus in a civilised manner. While waiting for the bus, I got a feeling of what it must be like for a westerner visiting a remote town in an Asian country. I felt like I was the centre of attention with people coming up to me and asking me where I was from, what my name was etc, and even taking photos with me. In all my time in Nagpur I did not see one other Asian looking person, so I must have been a novelty to the locals. After waiting for an age I eventually got onto a bus. Even though the bus was extremely crowded, with people hanging out the door, everyone seemed in good spirits like it was some school excursion. People were also really polite often moving over to let a third person squash into a seat where two could sit comfortably. After reaching Buldi I checked out the hotels in Modi 3. They were all decent and better than the Blue Moon Hotel. These included the President Hotel (from 900 Rs), the Amrta Hotel (700 Rs), and the Agrawal Hotel (550 Rs). I chose the Agrawal Hotel as they had a room at 650 Rs with a balcony overlooking Modi 3. The balcony made the room bright and airy, as opposed to the dark and dingy room of the Blue Moon Hotel. The road outside the balcony is more a laneway than a road, so traffic-wise it's not too noisy. Anyway I headed back to the Blue Moon Hotel for one more night and would come back to the Agrawal the next morning to check-in.

Saturday 8th November
I caught an auto to the Agrawal Hotel in the morning, checked-in, and then caught a bus to the cricket. After the day's play I again attempted to get a bus back to Buldi. It was more of the same with too many people trying to catch too fewer buses. I ended up sharing an auto for 100 Rs back to Buldi. After reaching Buldi I had a look at the flash new shopping centre, Eternity Mall. It isn't very big as far as shopping centres go, but for Nagpur it's pretty impressive and also includes a movie theatre. I went to the food court which was about half a dozen food outlets and had some pretty average Chinese. I was feeling a bit dodgy at the time and headed back to the hotel. Soon after I was sick with diarrhoea and to make things worse the hotel didn't have any toilet paper at all and instead gave me a bunch of paper napkins to use.

Sunday 9th November
I stayed in the hotel recovering from diarrhoea all day. Fortunately I brought some Ubat Po Chai Pills with me from Singapore in case of such an event. These are some traditional anti-diarrhoea/cold/stomach-ache pills from Hong Kong, and work quite well.

Nagpur has some serious power issues as there are frequent blackouts everyday. The hotel did have a back up generator, although I wasn't allowed to use the TV when the generator kicked in which was fairly unhandy. In the evening I was feeling somewhat better and went for a walk. The street was pitch black as there was yet another blackout. Most shops however had their own generator to supply light, or were simply using torches. I bought some bread and cheese from a bakery as the diarrhoea had really put me off Indian food. It was getting a bit much having Indian for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even breakfast is rich in spices which gets to you after a while. Another thing is the majority of restaurants are vegetarian. I found that the only place in Nagpur I could get meat were in the dingy bars. It seemed that these places were where people went to indulge in the two evils of Indian society, alcohol and meat.

Monday 10th November
Having pretty much recovered from my diarrhoea I set off to watch the final day of the test. Incidentally the bus stop to get to the cricket ground is on the road that runs parallel to the flyover. It's just south of Main Road that Modi 3 runs off. There is also a pink Convent college across the road from it. I ended up sharing a minivan instead of taking the bus for 20 pesos.

With Australia needing an improbable 382 runs for victory, I was confident of an Australian loss. Well the boys didn't disappoint, falling 172 runs short. About the only enjoyable thing from the day's play was watching Hayden smack a few around the park. However once he went the game was as good as gone.

The disappointing thing from the test was the lack of people who attended the test match. A few more streamed into the game late on the last day, with India closing in on victory and this being Ganguly's last test. However it was pretty disappointing to see so few people at the game. Chatting to the locals, they seemed to blame the high price of tickets. 1000 Rs for the entire test may not seem like much, but for the locals it represented a lot of money. It was also funny that sitting in a nearly empty stand, I was surrounded by people who wanted to chat to me. I had people sitting to the left, the right, in front, and directly behind me. I was barraged with a host of questions, "what is your favourite Indian player?; what is your favourite Australian player?; what hotel are you staying at?; what do you think of India?...etc. I got the "what is your favourite Indian player?" question quite a few times. It seemed that they were all waiting for me to answer Tendulker. When I'd say someone else like Dhoni, they'd act surprised and then say, "how about Tendulker?"

After the post match presentation I headed back to Buldi and went searching for an Internet cafe. I was walking towards one when a group of boys started chatting to me. One of them said that there would be many people walking this way soon. I didn't quite believe him but he was insistent that today was their holy day and there was a procession to their temple. Anyway after they took me to buy a juice and after taking a few photos with them, I went into the Internet cafe. After about 5 minutes there were thousands of people walking past the cafe. Turns out that the kid was telling the truth after all.

Additional photos below
Photos: 56, Displayed: 30


Blue Moon Hotel toiletBlue Moon Hotel toilet
Blue Moon Hotel toilet

It wasn't the nicest toilet I've seen. I tried to minimise my time in the bathroom as it was dirty, wet, and dingy.

27th August 2014

Positive reviews from tourist about Nagpur
Hey i think you enjoyed a lot in Nagpur .Just tell me have you by anyway traveled by taxi service in nagpur ? What are your thoughts about Nagpur ?

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