Friday, January 28, 2005

Baroda (Vadodara)

Had a really solid night's sleep after all that cycling - well, until 6am - incredibly noisy, with the sound of horns, phones ringing, shouting, penetrating through the walls of the hotel and into my eardrums. For some reason it was dead quiet when I awoke again at 8am, for a short time anyway when an amplified brass band started playing, and then several long chains of fire crackers started exploding. So I got up and had an excellent breakfast - cornflakes & milk, idliis, toast, jam and coffee, and read the Times of India. Later in the day I strolled around the Sayaji Baug park - a relaxing oasis. Inside the park are a planetarium, a zoo (comprising cyclone-fenced enclosures and some very dispirited-looking deer), the Museum (again, Rp 20 for locals and Rp 200 for 'foreigners') and the fabulous Health Museum. This had some pretty funky exhibits that seemed as if they were from the 1950's. There was a tall mirror with a sign above suggesting "look at yourself to correct your posture" and another exhibit entitled "woman's sufferings to bear during fertility" with all sorts of complicated diagrams, models, and explanations.

While out cycling this afternoon, a man with bad teeth sidled up beside me on his motorcycle. He asked a few questions than wondered if I had everything I needed. "Like what", I ventured. "Sex" he replied. "You're not my type" I answered but he didn't notice my attempt at humour. After a bit more banter, I thanked him for his interest in my well-being and cycled off. Mind you, I do feel pretty isolatd at present - no other westerners to speak of, or with, for over a week.

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