Dec 31, 2007 in

“I love being a vagabond, having no place to stay!” (10 seconds later:) “Hm, I need a bathroom” – Esther

On from Pushkar, we spent about 18 hours traveling in buses till we reached Diu.1 The last bus drove on so bumpy and nearly non-existent roads through vast steppes and a jungle-like reservation that the bus nearly fell apart. No kidding. The bus was not one of the best or newest, you could see provisional fixes to it everywhere. The whole left side of the bus inclusive all windows were actually loose. The back windows were gone and replaced by cardboard. During the travel, we lost some parts of the left side and one pole which you could grab hold of fell down. I expected the windows to break every second because they were just hopping up and down in their frame. Otherwise, the bus was not too bad… ;) (Yes, I like to write about buses. I mean, we spend about half the time of traveling in a bus. India is just so huge.)

But all that traveling was worth it. Not only that I saw more of rural India on the way but Diu itself is just beautiful. The Portuguese conquered this in very early times and it was only conquered back by Indian military in 1961. So, you see the Portuguese influence everywhere and it feels a bit like (I imagine) the Caribbean. Except that the water is not turquoise but Northsea-like, there are no white beaches and not quite so much palms. And you are nearly never alone, I guess India ist just too crowdy to leave the beautiful places un-crowded (and therefor not full of garbage). Even though it is in the middle of winter, its still about 30 degrees during day.

When we arrived, we found out that actually all hotels were more or less full and these greedy hotel owners would charge about 3-5 times as much from this day on.
So, we decided to just sleep somewhere for zero Rupees. Perhaps on the beach? Esther and me rented two bikes and were free but “homeless” :)
In the town center of Diu, there was a big bazaar where we bought some blankets for the night and where I ate one of the weirdest Indian meals I have ever eaten in India. Esther described this meal accurately as “Soggy cornflakes [and popped rice] with some spicy sauce”.
In the evening, we ended up accompanying a Canadian guy, Mag, and his Indian friend Babu sleeping on the beach. He spent already three days there and built a Robinson-Crusoe-like “tent” (a roof out of a blanket) with a little stove out of a pillar of a bench. They cooked some seafood and Indian food. I think it is the first time in my life that I tasted Shrimps – man, if you overcome the disgust, they are really tasty!
Anyway, the night at the beach was really rather cold. On top of that, there were a couple of stray dogs roaming at the beach. While we were all awake and eating, they were pretty peaceful but later, they started growling at each other (or at us), and woke us up again and again by barking and howling loudly half a metre from our heads. The Canadian guy who stayed up longer had to shoo them away again and again – they really went mad. I guess they were fighting over a big kingfish that we didn’t eat up.
So, the next day we joined some other backpackers who slept on the roof of a Christian church. The view is awesome and the backpacker atmosphere is unique.

1 The distance from Chandigarh to Diu is about the distance from Spain to Poland.

Night at the beach
The juice-man making ice
Diu Town
From the fort on Diu
Indian women near the beach