Saturday, February 12, 2005

Diu II

Diu really is a laid-back & relaxed place, and it's very quiet at night (although the silence is punctuated at times (eg 4 am) by sudden outbursts of frenzied barking by the packs of dogs that inhabit the place, and last night a bunch of Indian blokes were partying in the adjacent room until very late. There were also some tremendous bangs at 1am last night - they sounded like cannons, and the whole hotel seemed to shake with each blast (turned out they were large fireworks - part of a wedding celebration somewhere nearby)... other than all this, it's quiet at night!)

One of the workers in the restaurant attached to Hotel Apana told me he earned Rp 2500 a month [about $75 AUD] (he takes the orders, which is one up from being a waiter, and hence gets paid a little more, but doesn't get tips as do the waiters). For this, he worked a six day week,and a ten hour day - from 11am to 4pm & then 7pm to 12 midnight. He also explained that his wife & child lived in Rajasthan - several hundred kilometres away,and hence he only sees them a few times a year. He said he liked the job & was thus prepared to live with this. Another waiter said his family lived in Nepal ...

I spent some time cycling around Diu - I passed through an area that was purportedly an Industrial Zone, but not much seemed to be happening. Along the northern stretch of road were a few bars, and it wasn't all that clean & tidy compared with the tourist area. I discovered that there are actually two bridges that connect the island to the mainland - this is not at all clear from the various maps of Diu. The western part of the island was curious - Vanakbara, a fishing village, which stank of fish & shit. I've never seen such a concentration of children - you get the impression that all the folk do there is fish & fuck. Nearly every kid wanted to do a sort of sideways "high-five" as I cycled past, and I've never heard so many requests for "pen" as here. It was a very friendly town,and one of the few places in India where even the women would greet you as you cycled past. Gomptimaka Beach, on the southern coast, was a delightfully secluded stretch of golden sand - quite idyllic & not a shred of tourist development there.

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