Saturday, January 29, 2005

last day in Baroda

Visited the Baroda (Vadodara) Museum & Picture Gallery. In the museum, there were heaps of exhibits, mostly well-labelled and in English, which was nice. There were stuffed birds, cats, monkeys, and a mis-labelled koala (it looked like a heavy-set fox or perhaps a fat dingo), statues, pots, trinkets from different cultures, plaster casts of Egyptian statues and of fish from around the world, countless pieces of rock and shell, and strange things in bottles. It was primarily a natural museum - nothing interactive or scientific in nature - and reminded me of the Melbourne museum in the 1960's.

In the Picture Gallery, which was not very interesting, I met an English artist with his easel set up, making a copy, in oils, of a painting of a legal scene by the artist W.P Frith. He had been commisioned by Gray's Inn (one of the societies of barristers in the UK) and was spending 3 days in the gallery to do the job. We had a chat, but he was rather coy about revealing how much he was being paid, other than "lots". In some ways his effort, which was half the size of the original (that's all hs employers could afford, he explained) looked better than the original.

When I returned to my room for a rest this afternoon after cycling around some of Baroda, there was loud hammering coming from the next room, and some other hammering from down the corridor. After about half an hour of this I'd had enough. I was offered a change of room which I accepted - without thinking. The change from the fourth floor to the first means of course that I'm much nearer the road .... noisy +++! I've tended to stay in mid-range hotels, which are generally pretty comfortable. I figure that it's hard on the road - no need for additional hardship at the end of a day's cycling. So, mostly I have hot water/geyser (e hot shower), a flush loo, supplied towel, soap, toilet-paper etc and often a TV - such luxury. The TV tends to have about 40 channels, showing everything from Bollywood movies to this or that guru expounding his or her thoughts on things. The odious Sai Baba was on the other night, sitting on his throne while music played and his devotees looked on reverentially.

Tomorrow I set off for Ahmedabad. I trust the ride will be a little more comfortable, buttock-wise, as I purchased a foam-padded bike-seat cover from a street vendor today.

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