our guidebook had mentioned that at a lot of the cheapo budget hotels, if you want hot water, you’ll often be out of luck. but, some of the places may have “bucket water”. well, the place that we’re staying at here definitely falls in the budget category (it’s only $3.50 per night), and when i got up in the morning to shower, it was a very tough call as to whether i should just opt for a cold shower, or try out “bucket water”. basically, they have a tiny little baby hot water heater, maybe smaller than the size of my backpack, and you use it to fill up a big bucket w/ hot water. this bucket, unfortunately, isn’t exactly the cleanest most pristine one i’ve ever seen. the bucket has a small cup floating around in it, and you use the cup to pour water over yourself and wash.
so i took my bucket of hot water into the shower room, a tiny square cement room with eerie cobwebs on the ceiling and dim to the point wehre you could barely see. the water you poured on yourself just drained through a hole in the floor and i think just poured out the side of the building. so, all in all, the “shower” was quite an experience. as i stood there, pouring tiny litle cupfuls of water over myself, hoping that i was actually geting cleaner instead of more dirty, i couldnt help laughing at the situation.
the other interesting thing about this hotel is that it has a “hybrid toilet”. caryn and i had gotten really lucky so far. in morocco and some places in turkey, the toilets are squat toilets (aka, a hole in the ground), but other than that, most of the places we’ve been have actualy had proper sit down toilets. the toilet at the hotel, was a curious hybrid of the two. it was a raised toilet that was just a tad lower than western toilets, but it had footpads on the sides of the bowl. so you could jump up on the toilet, and do your squat there. alternatively, there was a toilet seat, and if you were brave enough to touch it, you could lower this seat down over the footpads and actually have a sit down toilet. plus, the toilet actually flushed! what luxury! 😉
so anyways, after the wonderful “shower” (caryn was too afriad of the bucket and opted for a cold shower instead), we set off to explore diu. diu is a tiny town on the east side of a small island and is one of a small handful of cities established by the portugese in india. because of that, lots of the buildings here have portugese architecture and the town has a very different look compared to the rest of the places we’ve seen. the town is full of small mazelike alleyways lined w/ crumbling quaint buildings and is filled w/ the usual host of intriguing characters. you see just as many cows/pigs/goats here as you do people. it’s quite a site to be walking through town and see 5 or 6 *huge* cows wander slowly past you.
we started of our day w/ a gujarati thali. one of the things that the state we are in (gujarat) is know for is its thalis. a thali is an indian meal that comes in a bunch of small metal bowls w/ rice. this meal is often all you can eat, and is often vegetarian. actually, a lot of the restaurants here are strictly vegetarian. it’s such an interesting change after the middle east, where *everybody* eats meat, and being a vegetarian is practically unheard of. oddly enough, we even saw a 100% vegetarian Pizza Hut when we were in mumbai. the thalis of gujarat are supposed to be unique in that they are often both sweet and salty, but unfortunately, we have yet to try an authentic thali like that. also unfortunately, due to our lack of knowledge, we still havent figured out what else makes the people of gujarat different than other indians other than their thalis.
ever since my return from thailand, i had been dying to get back on a scooter. i read in the guidebook that this would be the perfect place to do so, and so we went to go rent one. ahhh, scooters. soo fun! within minutes caryn (who was very not down w/ scooters) and i were off trying to navigate the crazy streets of diu. we ended up leaving diu town, and took the main road that does a loop around the island. speeding around the island was a blast (if you could call it speeding when you’re only going 25 miles an hour).
pretty soon we made it down to nagoa beach, the island’s main beach. we parked our scooter and walked around watching people splash about in the water. the men here wear swim trunks when they swim, but the women go in wearing all of their clothes. we sat down for a bit and then decided to get a young coconut juice from this lady who was selling them. it was pretty crazy. she had this huge sharp sickle that she would use to chop the tops of the coconuts off and then she’d use the point of the sickle to puncture a hole. we drank the juice, and although it was refreshing, i didnt think it was all that good. after finishing the juice, you can take the coconut back to the lady, who chops the whole thing in half so you can eat the meat. the meat of a young coconut is a lot more slimy and mushy than what we were used to, but i thought it was prety damn good regardless.
as we ate our coconut, a couple of the local children came up to us and were playing and trying to get our atention. i asked to take their photo, and they got ridiculously excited about that. they were soooo excited to see themselves on the screen! they kept begging me to take more and more photos of them and posed in different poses. then, they ran and got a bunch of their friends, and soon there was a small mob of children all begging to have their picture taken. caryn had read, that if you take someone’s photo, it’s often nice to give them a photo of yourself in return. she had a few of her passport photos in her pocket so she gave one to a kid. at this point, everyone went crazy. all of the kids were running about asking for photos! everyone wanted one.. they were like money, or gold, or candy! a random old woman came up and took a photo, and then proceeded to try to snatch another one from one of the kids. i couldnt believe the excitement that these photos caused!
eventually, a group of men walked up and they too wanted to have photos taken w/ us. it was all such a strange feeling. the men were cement workers who were attending a convention here in diu. they had come from all sorts of states and would get all excited and proud when we would tell them that we would eventually go see their home state. unfortunately, one of the guys was a real weirdo, and started geting all angry and weird when we told him we wouldnt be able to go visit kerala, the state where he was from. in the end, this guy wouldn’t stop arguing with us, and his friends had to practically drag him away!
today i went on another scooter ride before i had to return the scooter at 4pm. unfortunately i had left a bit late, and had only about an hour for my ride during which i wanted to find this tiny fishing village on the opposite side of the island. it was a nice day, w/ a light breeze and it ended up being a really fun little ride. as i rode down the road, little kids (and some not so little kids) would run out to the road and wave and yell “hello”. at one point, i drove by a school that had just gotten out and there were tons and tons of tiny little uniformed kids running about all shouting to me and waving. too funny!
before i got to the fishing village, i saw this random side road, and decided to go explore down it. the road got narrower and narrower and pretty soon i started being unsure if i should be there as i was constantly dodging chickens, pigs, and goats on this narrow road. i finally go to a point, where the road ended and there was just dirt path ahead. oops! there were a few people sitting around, eyeing me in my confusion and laughing. when i started trying to turn my bike around, they motioned for me to keep going and signed that the road would loop around… so i went for it. next thing i know, i’m off-roading it down this dirt/gravel rocky path.
this path just kept going and going and going. i started wondering just where it was taking me, and also started worrying that i may not be able to get back to the scooter place by 4pm. eventually i got to a part where there was a man blocking the road. uh-oh. he started gesturing towards me, then towards himself, and then would clap his hands over his ears. try as i might, i couldnt understand this man. did he want earmuffs? at this point he started glancing in a covetous fashion at my backpack and motioning for me to hand it over. as i had no earmuffs in the pack, i just drove around the man and sped onward.
eventually i got to a curve in the road and looked around. i had no clue where i was. the area i was in was surrounded on all sides by marshlands, and i couldnt even tell which edge of the island i was on. i had lost my bearings completely. it was 3:45pm. i decided to press onward, and eventually, finally, i found a tiny paved road. followinig this road, i dodged more goats, chickens, and kids and finally found my way back to the main road. i then put the pedal to the metal and drove back as fast as i could. i was blazing along, and it was so fun to be going super fast down the road. i blazed by auto rickshaws, and slow moving trucks and felt pretty badass, until i looked down at the spedometer and, making the kilometer to mile conversion, realized that i was going only about 40 miles an hour. so much for being a speed demon, eh?
after returning the scooter, caryn and i wandered around the old portugese fort on the east side of the island. the fort was pretty cool, and there were old canons and canonballs laying around all over. apparently, part of the fort is still being used as a prison. prety convenient, eh? tourist hotspot and prison all in one!
so that’s pretty much it for diu. tonight we’ll try to find a restaurant that serves the tasty fish that we hear this town has, and tomorrow, we pack up and head out for the next town. i’m crossing my fingers, hoping that the next place will have hot water and not bucket water… but that seems kinda doubtful.