Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
Due to our fortuitous encounter with our “travel angel” in the middle of Udaipur, we managed to discover that our train to Ahmedabad had been cancelled with little over than a day to spare. We were relieved, but this unfortunately left us with limited options of departing on time in order maintain our desired itineary. Upon ascertaining our dilemma, Mohammed took it upon himself to help us score a sleeper cabin or seats on a night-bus departing from somewhere in the city the following evening; he assured us that he’d take care of it. Mohammad worked his magic in the city and we were later relieved to ascetain that he had somehow found us a sleeper cabin on a night-bus that was leaving at our desired time. It didn’t really matter what we were riding on, we just needed to be on our way to Ahmedabad.
Getting what you wish for isn’t always the best thing. After we loaded our bags into our bus sleeper cabin, we realized there wasn’t much room to move around at all as we were forced to lay there with our knees bent almost touching the roof of the bus since our cabin was in the highest tier. Not only that, but once the bus started moving we began bobbing around like in a wave pool, and it was essentially destined that we’d get “bus-sick.” We earnestly believed we were bound on our worst 8-hour nightmare without any means of escape.
According to Mark, I slept a few hours, however, in truth, I don’t recall this at all as I only remember lying awake bobbing around back-and-forth trying to keep the last meal I ate where it belonged. Despite it being fairly tough and feeling like the longest 8 hours of our lives, we managed to arrive to Ahmedabad at 5am with our stomachs intact and spirits high, but with extreme, unrelenting fatigue. A few hours of sleep would soon be to our immediate delight.
Upon waking up at 10am I noted that our night-train to Mumbai would be leaving at around 10pm, which left us the entire day to venture around town and check out a few notable sites. Well, these “notable” sites weren’t really noteworthy at all, and we quickly realized that Ahmedabad was essentially a mini-Delhi with all the crazy traffic, disorganization, and apparent dilapidation in various parts throughout the city. Despite the letdown, Mark and I had some fun, intense “chess time.”
By the time we returned to the hotel Mark decided he’d rest a bit while I still had the urge to wander around the city much more; thus, I set off to find the Jama Masjid, which was the principal city mosque. With it beginning to downpour quite heavily, there was a clear indication that I’d get soaked in a matter of minutes, but it was intermittent enough to allow the chance to sink into an random alleyways in order to avoid the worst of it. Upon dodging one of the heaviest 5-minute rains I had encountered throughout my entire trip in India, I slipped into a random alleyway and came out the other end with a view of the entrance to what I soon discovered was a huge city bazaar.
It was a crazy mess, but there was something about the Ahmedabad Bazaar that lured me in as I soon found myself walking down mysterious alleyways into unknown market arcades, inevitably lost, but with absolutely no concern in the least. With my original plans ditched, I relished my new world of uncertainty amid frivolous enterprise and ambiguous jeopardy.
I was the only westerner around and seemed to attract a lot of positive attention from people, much different than what I received in Delhi. Many street venders were very open and wished to candidly talk with me about my stay in India; I even received free pomegranites.
Perhaps the monsoon rain scared all the other westerners off, or maybe there weren’t any to begin with at all as Ahmedabad is not a popular route-point throughout India, which essentially left the only crazy foreigner out there: me. Armed with my umbrella and camera, I trudged through the mud, rain, people and puddles while recklessly running in between intense traffic for some great fun snapping photos within the labyrinthian bazaar.
I felt like a war photographer amid talking all these photos while I jumped and hurried through the hard rain in order to get a decent shot while doing my best to watch my immediate surroundings and synchronously hold up my small umbrella to prevent the large lens from getting wet and ruining the photo; it was quite fun and one of the highlights of my trip.
Within a few hours after my return to the hotel, Mark and I were bound for Mumbai – the city that Harbinder, our New Delhi taxi driver, said would be the place where “true love will find you.”